Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 7, 2015
This is the 1,649th post on this blog since the middle of December 2007. There are 14 articles here written by other people, which means I’ve written a ton. On my business blog I’ve written around 1,230 articles to this point in 10 1/2 years. I’ve written tons of articles on my other blogs, and for other people’s blogs.
Why am I telling you this? I run into people all the time who tell me they don’t know what to say or what to blog about? I run into tons more blogs where people either write articles infrequently or have decided to bail, leaving their blogs in the vapid miasma of blogging perfidy; go ahead, look that up. lol
I’m going to own up to something here, which isn’t much of an admission. Even with all these articles, I don’t consider myself a successful blogger. For all the articles I’ve written, I can’t say that I’ve had a successful blog yet. I’m certainly not on many lists (other than Troy Swezey’s 15 men who blog that you should be following post; thanks Troy!) but I’ve met some intriguing people, even some famous people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people all over the world. And I’ve even made a little bit of money… though not from blogging.
I’ve made money from writing; that’s a different story. Here and there, you might be able to get people to pay you for your writing, if you have some skills. That’s not such a bad thing; there are a lot of bloggers who are viewed favorably who actually make money writing rather than blogging… no matter what they might try to convince you of. They even tell you that, but many people seem to miss it.
So, here are 9 reasons why you should keep writing your blog, or writing in general; you already know what #1 is going to be:
1. You might be asked to write some someone else and make money from it.
Think of your blog as a full body of work that’s indicative of your skill as a writer. If you view it that way, you’ll treat your blog with respect, no matter the niche. As I said earlier, I’ve not only written for myself, but I’ve written for others. I wrote the articles for a wedding blog for over 2 years. I wrote for a chiropractor, a travel website, a legal site and a debt consolidation site along with others. Some of the pay was better than the rest but it wasn’t bad; I was able to live off it between consulting gigs.
2. You’ll always get better.
There’s no way one can write for years and not get better at it. I look back on most of my early blog posts on my business blog and sometimes cringe. I had a gem here and there but in general, it took me a few years to figure out my style, even though I’d been writing a newsletter before that.
3. You can gain publicity.
Even if your blog doesn’t get a lot of comments, you can bet there are people who know who you are. If you set up a way to track stats you’ll see them. If you set up a way for people to subscribe to your RSS feed or a mailing list, you’ll see them. If it’s just a few people but those few are enamored, they’ll share your stuff with their audience and it’ll help you grow yours.
4. You can make connections.
This blog has helped me make some interesting connections over the years. Not only have a few well known internet folks stopped by, but blogging helped me get the chance to help a bit time author edit his book, which ended up having my name in the book and me getting an autographed copy. It even helped me get my business blog added to a section of his very popular website; sweet!
5. You get to show your expertise in many areas.
You not only get to show your writing skill but you get to show people what you know or at least how you think, which sometimes is the same thing. The reason I have 5 blogs is because I have a good number of interests but they don’t all fit on one blog. I could do that but search engines would freak out trying to figure out what I do.
6. Writing a lot shows how prolific you can be.
I have nearly 5,000 articles online and lots in magazines. I’ve been able to write two books, one of them a compilation of articles from newsletters and my business blog, an ebook, and I’ve created some other informational products. I’ve been included in a few books here and there also; if I hadn’t been writing so much none of these things would have happened.
7. Writing is cathartic.
I’ve had some of my best rants come alive because I’ve been allowed to write. The thing is, if you’re really angry and write about it, you’ll start to feel better. If you’re depressed and write about it you’ll start to feel better. If you have an idea that needs fleshing out and you write about it you’ll feel better. The only people who usually feel bad about writing are students; think about that.
8. You never know whether your next article, blog post or book could be the one to make you a superstar.
One thing all the big time writers tell you is that they felt compelled to write, no matter what else they were doing, no matter their circumstances, and no matter how many times they got beaten down by someone trying to tell them they weren’t any good. J K Rowling, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, Tom Clancy, John Grisham… the list goes on and on. You never know if you’ll end up on someone’s radar for something you’ve written; how cool would that be?
9. Oh yeah; you just might make some money off it all.
I already mentioned getting writing offers because of writing on my blogs. I got a couple of speaking engagements as well, one a big time keynote presentation in Arlington, VA some years ago. I’ve sold a few things off this blog, and my finance blog has had advertising on it in the past. I’m not close to being the paragon of making money by blogging but there are a lot of folks who have figured it out; you know who they are so I don’t need to mention any names.
The thing is, most of those folks made their real money outside of the blog; I mentioned Chris Brogan a couple of weeks ago who, though he’s also a blogger, has been able to write a few blogs, been asked to speak at conferences, and has even been highlighted as an expert in many other places, some of which have paid him pretty well.
Will this happen to you? Who knows. What I do know is that if you don’t write, it certainly won’t happen for you. Go on, give it a shot!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 31, 2015
A bit over 4 years ago I wrote an article titled The Art Of Storytelling, where I talked about some of the stories I’ve written on this blog as it related to the topic of writing. A few days ago I came across another article where the author was purporting to talk about why storytelling wasn’t good for business but in actually he was rebutting something he’d read where the author said storytelling was bad for business. What a twist eh?
This article isn’t about writing; it’s about you, your person, your life, and what you’re ready to tell the world so that you can get what you want from it and from others. That sounds a big daunting and a little bit narcissistic, doesn’t it? It’s not; let’s talk about it.
There’s a guy named Ryan Biddulph who writes a little blog called Blogging From Paradise; some of you might know him. Basically, he blogs about his travels throughout Southeast Asia and how he gets to live a pretty good life, along with his wife, because of the success his blogging has led him to have. I learned about him through my buddy Adrienne, and checked out his blog and read some of his life story before deciding to buy his book, Blogging From Paradise (well played Ryan lol).
It’s a pretty good book but truthfully, the reason I bought it is because he told a good story and I thought that the book might either be uplifting enough for me to figure out my own thing or that I might pick up a few things from it. The story he told, and continues to tell, is his own, and he’s pretty open about it (the story about giant roaches crawling on his face… okay, that one I didn’t need…).
The reality is that most of us who buy things online often buy them from people we trust and have gotten to know. A website with hundreds of thousands of visitors every day probably sells less product than someone who has 500 visitors a day who comes because they like the person whose blog or website they’re visiting. I like to talk about the “100 True Fans” concept I got from Chris Pirillo many years ago (I’m dropping a lot of names in this post aren’t i?) where he said if you could get just 100 true fans you’d probably get rich because they’d do all the marketing for you without having to be asked based on their enthusiasm, and it could carry you to ultimate success.
My wife always asks me why I talk about so many things that happen in my life through my blogs. Truth be told, I hold a lot of things back; there are stories you’re never going to read on any of my blogs because they’re none of your business (of course, if you want to learn a lot of personal stuff about me you can check out my 100 Thing About Me post); how’s that to get some of your interest?
Yet I do share a lot of stories, true things that happen in my life. I’ve had a lot of adventures that I can relate into talking about blogging, writing, leadership, diabetes… you name it, I’ve got a story for it. I tell the truths that some others might not tell; I don’t always end up looking good, though I like to say that as long as the story ends up being good, it’s all good. lol
Why do I tell these stories? One, because they have a point. Two, because sometimes they’re funny. But three, because I hope it shows that I’m a pretty real person, such that if you or anyone else decides you want to look at something I’m marketing (like my latest book, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, or links to other books I recommend) because of the stories I tell, who knows, you might buy something that not only would put a smile on my face but a small chunk of change in my pocket. That would encourage me to write more often; who wouldn’t love that? 😉
There’s definitely a place for content that only covers “how to” topics; heck, I write some of those. But there’s also a place for writing content that passes a message along that came about because of something that happened in your life. If you can tell that story well enough to intrigue people, and you have other stories you can tell to try to get them coming back often… who knows, you might end up rich beyond your dreams.
Or at least making a living doing something you love… whatever it may be. Think about it. While you’re at it, here’s a story I told about trying to get Verizon FiOS in my house back in April. I share this because, strangely enough, it’s become the 2nd most watched video on this particular video channel; who knew?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 27, 2015
Did you like the post I wrote on Monday? I’m thinking you probably didn’t, since I didn’t have a post go live on Monday.
Usually on this blog I post on Mondays and Thursdays. I did that the two weeks before this one. The week before those two I had a post every day, as I was doing a survey and wanted to try to maximize the coverage as much as I possibly could.
There’s this thing about trying to keep on a consistent schedule so that your visitors will always know when to expect content from you. I’m not going to disagree with that because I can’t say for sure whether or not it’s true. I tend to believe that what’s more likely is people who like your content and visit your blog are more apt to be looking for new content whenever they visit, unless they’re stopping by daily. I know almost no one who’s doing that these days.
I do know a few people who are sticking with a schedule, but it’s a once a week thing these days. My buddy Adrienne has a new post every Monday, but once a month she releases a guest post. My buddy Peter writes a post every Friday, though these days it’s known as the Friday Funnies. So, I know when to check those folks out, and that is the part about understanding when people are releasing content you want to check on.
But what about… well, pretty much everyone else? Is anyone really paying attention to my Mondays and Thursdays? For that matter is anyone really paying attention to my Tuesdays and Fridays when it comes to my business blog?
No, I don’t think so. These days I notice that I get fewer consistent visitors to the blog. If there are more, they’re not commenting so I don’t know about it if they are coming more consistently than I know.
Actually, that’s not quite true. If I believe my Google Analytics then I know that the percentage of new visitors is 58% and returning visitors is 42%. That’s actually pretty good when compared to my business blog, where the percentage of new visitors is 78% compared to 22% for returning visitors.
Based on the comparison of the two, does anyone really think the difference is based on schedule?
I had a post ready to go on Monday… then decided I just wasn’t in the mood to release it. I wanted to make an educational point by not posting it, and then decided to let it sit until next Monday so I could comment on it today.
There’s always a lot of advice regarding posting frequencies, and of course having a set schedule so your audience knows when you’ve got something new coming out. I tend to believe in two things regarding this.
One, unless you’re going to write a lot, it’s better to write as many posts as you can but stagger their release so that you have consistent content going out, rather than having a day where you put out 3 posts and then don’t release anything again for a month.
Two, if you’re not someone who writes posts in advance and you’re feeling pressured to meet a deadline… unless someone’s paying you for it don’t worry about deadlines when it comes to your own blog. I think some kind of consistency is definitely needed if you’re serious about blogging. However, if you want to write a post a day or a post every couple of weeks, or if you usually have a post go live every Monday and Thursday but one of those days you’re just not feeling it… it’s fine. You’re okay; everyone does it.
So, there will be a post on Monday. I’m not guaranteeing a post next Thursday though. Why? I just might not be in the mood.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 17, 2015
Something that’s rare for me is writer’s block. Whenever I’m ready to write something, most of the time I think of a theme, give it a little bit of thought, and start writing. I’ve got to tell you that feels pretty good.
However, I’m not a machine. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to write on a topic that’s popped into my mind. If I can’t flesh it out I don’t want to put out total garbage. And sometimes I just don’t have anything new; it happens to the best of us.
Every once in a while I just skip a post. Nothing wrong with that except I hate skipping posts on Monday; if I skip the second post of the week I’m okay with it but I hate missing the first one.
Therefore, when I need to find something to write about, I do a few different things. As I said it’s rare, but I have these things to fall back on that I’m going to share with you.
1. Visit some of your favorite blogs and write on something one of them touched upon.
I don’t want you to copy what someone else has said. Instead, either write a post agreeing or disagreeing with what someone else has written. Basically it’s a long form comment that you’re writing for your blog instead of leaving it on someone else’s blog. Just make sure you link back to the other blog; whether you’re yay or nay on what they wrote, they’ll appreciate the link.
2. Visit blogs you don’t normally visit and do the same thing.
In this case, you’re going to throw some love at someone who you might not know. What you can do is go to Google, search for your topic and add “blog” to your search term. There are tens of millions, if not hundreds of million blogs, so there’s probably not a topic you won’t find. As a courtesy here and on the first one, it wouldn’t hurt if you found a way to let them know via Twitter that you’ve talked about them & linked to them.
3. Scan the news for your topic.
If I want to write about blogging, I can bet there’s a news story every single day somewhere about the topic. Often there’s some kind of top 50 or 100 blogs in some category that’s fodder for commentary, especially if I’m not on it… did I just say that? lol Anyway, you can go to Google again, put in your search term, and once you’ve hit search you can choose the news link that’s normally on the same line that images is.
4. Write about a book related to your subject.
Book reviews are always pretty cool, especially if they touch upon one of your subjects. Sometimes they won’t, but I write book reviews here when people send me their books. If you’re also creative you can find a way to take a book and turn it into your niche topic.
5. Think about something in your day and relate it to your topic.
I once wrote an article comparing blogging to traveling through airports while I was sitting in an airport in Washington DC on a 3-hour layover. It just seemed to fit, though I’m betting a few people thought it might be a stretch.
6. Write about a favorite fictional or historical person and relate it to your topic.
A post of mine that four years later seems to be very popular is one I wrote on my leadership blog talking about the leadership qualities of Harry Potter; yeah, I’m a big fan of the series. lol Matter of fact, months after I wrote that post I was contacted by en entity in the Philippines and asked if they could use it as an educational article for one of their middle schools; that was pretty neat. I’ve written about a lot of fictional characters and leadership including Charlie Brown and Kermit the Frog; people like that because they can relate.
7. Think about an event that occurred in your life and write about that, relating it to your subject.
All of us have something that happens in our lives every day. Often it’s pretty mundane but sometimes there’s a bit of significance in it, along with a lesson. I wrote one of those types of posts in July when I talked about ethics in social media based on a conversation I had with this kid in Germany and his personal attack against Serena Williams that caused a bit of a scandal for a short time after she’d won Wimbledon.
8. Write a compilation post of some kind based on a seminal date or event.
This one should be easy because you might already have all the material you need on your blog. In case you need an example you can check out my post talking about 15 lessons from 1,500 blog posts or 55 tips about blogging which I wrote highlighting my 55th birthday last year.
9. Do an interview post.
By the way, have I mentioned that I’m looking for people to interview me, either on their blogs, podcasts or videos? Regardless of if I have or not, interviewing people who talk about your subject or pretty much anything else always ends up being a double benefit. When people like being interviewed they’ll help you promote your post and if you do it well, which means your questions aren’t boring, it can be pretty cool The thing about them is that the other person is doing all the work, so this one should be easy.
10. Whenever you have an idea, save it in your posts area.
I get ideas at the weirdest times. I get so many that I used to forget a lot of them. So, first I started carrying a 3×5 index card spiral bound notebook so I can write things down when I think of them. Then when I get home I’ll create a new post, pop the ideas in and then save it as a draft. That’s actually where I got the idea for last week’s post about marketing products you didn’t create, as it was on my mind earlier in the week while I was on the road. Ideas coalesce well with reminder words and phrases.
That’s 10 ideas; do you have any others? I hope this helps some of you on your way to continuous blogging.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 27, 2015
Although there’s always a little bit of deviation here and there, it’s my goal to write two posts a week on this blog and on my business blog. For all my other blogs, my goal is to write at least one post a week. I try to space them out so that they’re not competing against each other when they go live, as they all initially go onto Twitter.
Lately I’ve been going after some of the latest recommendations that I see online, both by folks with sites ranked high and sites ranked low. One of the latest recommendations is that, instead of writing more articles, all of us should concentrate on writing one “epic” post a week, something along the lines of 5,000 to 10,000 words. Supposedly, Google likes those posts better, ranks you better, more people will see and share your stuff and you’ll be the latest golden goose to strike it rich.
Okay, I just added that last part. In any case, I’m here to debunk, or discuss, that and other things as they concern writing one’s blog because that’s what I do.
First, writing ultra long posts. I touched upon this one in my post on 6 Answers To Questions From New Bloggers where I wrote:
The people who write one really long post a week (sometimes one every 2 weeks) put a lot of time and research into it. Some folks burn out having to write what’s essentially a term paper every 2 weeks. If I had to do that I probably wouldn’t still be blogging after 10 years, which I’m up to right now.
How well did you do in school when you were told to write a 10-page report on… whatever? As much as I like to write, there were times when, because of the subject, I found it really difficult to do. Back in the day, we had to go to the library, look for a lot of books, bring them home and try to put things together. I had lots of encyclopedias that, it turns out, were pretty old, but they were references for some of what I wrote. And I didn’t understand a lot of it.
For most people, even if they know the material, trying to write even 1,000 words on a topic is going to cause a lot of consternation. My last post, on marketing was 2,122 words.
Luckily that was something I know a little bit about but you want to know something? That post, which was released last Thursday, is 9th on my list for the last 30 days at 67 views, which is pretty cool. However, the average length of time anyone has stayed on it… 43 seconds. How many of you can read 2,000 words in 43 seconds? It also only has 2 comments.
So… do long posts really work well? Will they work for everyone? Can everyone do it? I’ll let you answer that one.
Second, writing multiple posts a week. In that same article I referenced earlier, the 6 answers, I said this:
A reality is the more you write, the higher your blog will rank. The problem is that high rankings don’t always equate to lots of traffic nor targeted traffic, which you care about if you’re hoping to do any type of business with others.
Trust me, the more you write the more traffic you’ll get and the higher you’ll rank… but it might not bring you what you want. For those of you who know Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, that’s how he got started about a decade ago. He started out writing upwards of 10 posts a day; yup, sure did.
I know because when I was getting going on this blog I went to check out his beginning to see what he did that what’s what I saw; wow! That was astounding; as prolific as I like to consider myself, there was no way I could do that on one blog though, a few years ago, I found there were times when I could write 10 articles in a day when I was getting paid for it, sometimes more.
These days, the only blogs that will survive putting out that kind of content are blogs with multiple writers like Huffington Post, which to many isn’t quite a blog but that’s what it officially is. They can get away with writing that much because they not only have multiple categories, but some big name folks writing for them.
For the rest of us… I’ve found that writing two posts a week on this blog, which is just a blog, has helped its ranking stay pretty consistent over the years, a Google animal notwithstanding. The same goes for my business blog now, because while I was traveling my goal was to only have one article a week and the rankings suffered a little bit.
At the same time, my other 3 blogs have responded well to having at least one article a week because for a long time I wasn’t putting much of anything on any of those sites. That’s where trying to have something once a week can be a major benefit. Depending on what you’re looking for on your blog, you can determine how much you should probably write to either grow or maintain traffic and rankings.
Third, let’s look at the main question: can you write too much? Without thinking, the easy answer is “no”. However, with thinking and contemplation, the answer changes, though maybe not for the reason you think it will.
As I stated above, the more you write the more traffic you’ll get and the higher your site will be ranked. Search engines love content, lots of content and ever changing content; that’s not new.
What also isn’t new is that, overwhelmingly, no one is mentally ready to keep up with it all. You might have all the ideas in the world to write on multiple topics and be able to come up with something new 5 times a day. Heck, to tell you the truth, one of those things I used to do is sit down on a Sunday and write 8 to 10 posts in a day so that, if I wasn’t in the mood to write something specific on a certain day I didn’t have to.
The problem? If some people can burn out after writing 3 or 4 blogs posts in a lifetime, imagine what happens to those of us who are writing so much that it feels like it’s consuming our life.
Over my 10 years of blogging I’ve contemplated quitting a few times. Luckily it’s probably less that 5, but I’ve thought about it. It can get really tiring, especially if you’re not making a lot of money (or any at all), or don’t have tons of traffic or comments, and you’re not generating any business from all the work you’re doing.
Burnout is tough to deal with. Burnout is why I don’t have a newsletter right now. I wrote one for 9 years, the other for 10 years, and I just couldn’t take it any longer. The thing about the newsletters is that I almost never got any feedback. If I wasn’t getting any feedback on my blogs… well, at least on 3 of them, I might give up the ghost, say it wasn’t worth it, and move on with life.
This one is as much a life lesson as it is a writing lesson. We all have to determine what we’re getting out of writing our blogs, or anything else we write. If we’re doing it for our livelihood and it’s not too oppressive, then it’s all good. If writing is a chore and you’re making money, well, it might not be the best job but you’re working for yourself and that’s never bad.
What’s your goal? Truthfully, that’s a question I have to answer at least once a month with my blogs. What am I trying to achieve? How close am I to achieving it? Should I change something, and if so what and how?
If I just wanted traffic and nothing else, I can do that; I’ve done it so I know what’s needed. Targeted traffic… that’s a little harder.
I’m not going to get any deeper on this one because it’s getting close to 1,500 words. Instead, I’ll leave you to consider the questions I’ve asked above, the other information I wrote before that, and ask you to share what you’re hoping to do with your blog and your writing and whether it’s giving you want you need for now.
Hey, homework! At least I’m not asking for a 10-page paper, which is about 2,500 words; ugh! 😉