Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 24, 2016
By now, anyone who’s visited any of my blogs knows that I love the concept of blogging. Just as I was telling a group of life and business coaches a couple of weeks ago, when I gave an online seminar about business blogging, there are a lot of benefits to the process, some of which people just don’t think about. I figured that this would be a nice change to some of the articles I’ve written this month; we all can use a little motivation and consulting.
1. You get to show your expertise.
I made this!
This is always my number one statement whenever I talk about business blogging. No one knows your business or what you can do better than you. The hope is that you’re not a one trick pony who only knows one aspect of what your business all about. Blogging on a consistent basis helps to show people that you’re someone who can definitely help them.
2. You control your message.
One of the major gripes of people who get interviewed by the media is that they spend upwards of an hour or two talking to someone, only to have someone take a few soundbites of something they said and twist it around so that they feel like total idiots having to defend a statement that’s been quoted out of context.
With a business or personal blog, you get to control your message. Not only that, but if someone misinterprets something you wrote, you’re the one who gets to go back in and make it better. This is one of the few times where, unless you’re a big time celebrity, you get to change what’s on the internet to a degree. Even if the Database Archive happened to pick up what you said the first time around, it’s unlikely to ever rear its ugly head if you keep adding more content to your blog.
3. You can get things off your mind.
Writing is cathartic; I didn’t make that up. I find that when my mind feels cluttered and I’m not sure what else to do, writing helps me get back into the groove of things.
This isn’t the only reason one might have to get things off their minds. For instance, an issue might come up (Trump) that irks you so much (Trump) that you feel the need to say something about it (Trump) because it keeps making you mad whenever the topic comes up (Trump). Every once in a while on this blog I’ve talked about racism, freedom of speech, inequality, bullies, and health care (which I would since I’m a health care consultant, all topics that aren’t the norm on this blog… or my other blogs.
At least I’ve never talked about politics (Trump); we all have to have standards, right?
4. You can show your creativity.
How many people remember when the term “think outside of the box” was prevalent, so much so that we got tired of it so some guy we all want to slap changed it to “change the paradigm”?
Truth be told, knowing how to help people with their problems isn’t always as straight forward as it might seem to be. For all the years of knowledge I like to think I have in health care, every once in a while I get thrown for a loop when someone mentions a certain problem that have that, upon reflection, doesn’t quite fit the parameters of your knowledge. I’ve had to come up with some truly creative ways to figure out what the actual problems are and then get more creative to apply a fix.
The same goes for blogging. When you can show people you have he mind to be creative when it comes to subjects you write and talk about, it helps intrigue people who might be interested in your services.
5. The longer you do it, the more social cache you build up.
Most of you won’t know what this is, but for my main career I’m a charge master consultant. I just looked up the term “charge master consulting” on both Google and Bing; you know what I found? On Google I’m in the top 3 spots; on Bing I’m at #1 and #5. Yes, I have content on my main website that talks up this type of consulting, but what’s helped me stay at least in the top 5 over all these years (that site was built in 2003) is that I’ve also written about it multiple times on my blog (which I started in 2005). Having 11 years worth of posts talking about something specific and technical like that has helped my site stay prominent, and it can do the same thing for you.
6. Did I mention SEO yet?
Indirectly I did with #5, but let me go a bit further with it. You know how I said that Google has me in the first 3 spots? It also shows my site in 4th, 6th and 9th being mentioned by other sites who’ve linked to me. I’m actually pretty prominent in the top 20; that’s the power of SEO and the right keywords for whatever industry you’re a part of.
7. Give people something to share with others.
One of the best things about social media is that people love to share the content of others. Not only can you market yourself on social media but if people like you or what you write they’ll help you do it at no cost to you. Every day someone new becomes an underground superstar and it’s probably based on either a blog post or a video, maybe even a blog post you’ve put a video on.
8. Personality; believe it or not you have one.
Almost every study that’s been done says that people want to work with someone they feel comfortable with. When you write a lot, you’ll find that you’ll find your writing “voice”, which tends to allow people to see what your personality is like. If you’re engaging then people will want to read your posts to not only learn about your topic but about you as well. The thing about blogging is that it’s not a one-and-done proposition. Regular content is necessary to make it work for you, and the more you write, the most benefit you get out of it.
9. Blogging is the least expensive way to market.
If you hadn’t figured this one out yet, I’m here to tell you that the only real costs to blogging, if you don’t want to pay for it, is time. Although I’d recommend that you pay for hosting or add it as a subdomain to your current website, there are lots of free blogging platforms that will let you get your mind into the of blogging to see if you can actually do it. It’s content that can live forever, you can modify it whenever you want, you can interlink old articles or some of your webpages to current blog posts (which I’ve done prominently here so you can see how it works) and it’s totally in your control.
My final words… start blogging! 🙂
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 14, 2016
I’ve been blogging for a very long time, and I’ve read thousands of blog posts, probably tens of thousands, over the years. Because of that, I know all the rules that we bloggers are supposed to follow so that our blogs will be successful.
Me being me though, I tend not to always follow the rules. Sure, there are some things I do that are considered standard writing, but I tend to deviate from a lot of the rules as they pertain to blogging because I am an individual. I figure these are my blogs, and I’m going to do things my way while working hard to make sure I get my point across.
Let’s talk about the anatomy of a blog and how I break The rules. I’m not saying you should be doing what I’m doing; what I’m showing is that no matter what anyone says, including me, that there are always other ways of doing things for whatever your reasons might be… and hopefully those reasons aren’t stupid. lol
Every person who tells you how to write a blog post will say that you should begin with a strong title. About half the time I don’t have a title when I start writing, so it’s hard to start with a strong title. Often I need to find out where the post is going as I write, just like fiction writers do, and every once in awhile I have no idea what to title the post until I finish writing it.
Back in March I wrote a post about someone who had what I considered to be a misleading title and had the temerity to beat up the original post and show people other ways of finding ways to create new content; I’m nice like that. My gripe about many titles is that they’re not only misleading but border on slander, like calling something a scam in the title to get people to come, only to tell them it’s not a scam.
I’m not saying titles aren’t important; I’m saying there’s no pure rules to creating them that anyone needs to follow… except to have one.
The second thing the experts will tell you is that you should mention in the very first paragraph what you’re going to be writing about so that everybody, including the search engines, knows what’s coming. I tend to violate that rule about 95% of the time because I like to have my own exposition and set things up the way I want to do it, once again pretty much like fiction writers. Think of a title like To Kill A Mockingbird; do you know how far into the book that sucker was?
I like leading into topics my own way, just like you see above, and often I’ll put some kind of link in the first paragraph going to either a previous blog post or some other article elsewhere, which is definitely something I don’t see a lot of other people doing. I’ll lead into my articles my way, and hope to keep people’s attention until we get to the second paragraph.
The third thing a lot of experts recommend is that you separate a lot of your content with headers; some of them even recommend you add an < h2 > tag to it. What they’re saying is that you should have a bolded header, write a paragraph about it, and then rinse and repeat multiple times in every article you write.
From my standpoint a lot of that has more to do with the kind of papers we wrote in high school and college than with actual writing. I know that newspapers and magazines do this type of thing. There are times that I do it, but usually I’m numbering things because I know that people who read blood love number post. Overall, I like to write and do things my way and hope that whatever audience I have comes along with me.
Number four, even though I talked about images a couple of posts ago, something a lot of experts will recommend if you write on a topic where you can’t find proper images is to grab a nice picture and then type your subject over the picture so that people will know what it is you’re going to be talking about.
I don’t do that because I figure the title of the post is going to give some kind of idea of what I’m talking about, even if it takes until the second paragraph for me to get to it. I would rather have other kinds of images to put in as eye candy for my post. Of course, the other reason is that I haven’t quite figured out how to make images with messages going across them look any good. LOL
The final thing experts will tell you is to make sure to have a strong close to your article. Truthfully, I always hope that I will have a strong close, but most of the time I figure that I’m either going to have a funny close or I’m going to ask a question. I have to admit that closing strong isn’t one of my strengths, probably because most of my early writing when I was younger were song lyrics, and there’s no such thing as strong closing song lyrics since most of the time you’re just repeating the chorus over and over; you know it’s true. lol I guess I probably should have spent more time in English class figuring that one out.
That’s the basic anatomy of conventional blog posts that I pretty much give up on. It’s my belief that if you as the writer can be engaging and still get your point across that it doesn’t matter what the anatomy of your post is. Always remember my three main things about a blog post; inform, educate, or entertain.
I probably should add don’t be boring, but you probably know that one already. 😀
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 12, 2016
When I wrote my post about blocking newsletter popups, I was feeling pretty smug because I was finally getting back at all those sites that throw popups at you before you even get to see the content. In the month since, I’ve noticed some things that I thought I’d talk about as a follow up to that original post.
First, I’m still a very happy guy. Those of you who visit here know that is my ultimate pet peeve when it comes to visiting blogs. Turns out it blocks a lot of other nasty bits from other types of sites beyond just blogs; I’m not mad in the least!
Second, let me mention some folks whose blogs I know for sure don’t bombard you with popup requests; it’s a short list:
That’s it so far. It’s harder now to tell who’s doing what since I can’t see anymore who’s got it or not. Still, based on what I remember, this is a pretty small list, which I probably won’t be updating any time soon; I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Fifth, it also affects the ability to leave comments on blogs with CommentLuv, which I actually like a lot; that’s problematic. In those instances where I really want to leave a comment I’ll temporarily allow access to the site so I can have my say… even though 95% of the time it turns out the site throws a popup at me… sigh…
When all is said and done, I can honestly say that it’s not the popups themselves that has irked me as much as when those suckers come up. If I’m not allowed to read all of your content, let alone even begin to see it, then I’d rather block it and move on. As it is, I’m probably sharing more content from creators these days whose articles I get to read without knowing whether or not they have popups, so a lot of you should be thanking me for that. For the rest of you… well, it is what it is, and now you’re going to be forced into it or risk losing your traffic… which I understand well.
That’s one for my side; now if Twitter will only do something like that for those Auto DM’s! 🙂
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 9, 2016
When I wrote my post in March talking about 31 mistakes people make in blogging and social media, one of my points about blogging was that a lot of people still aren’t using images on their posts. I don’t fully understand the science of it all, but for some reason not only will more people read your posts but they’re more inclined to share them on other social media sites.
It’s something I wish I’d started earlier than 2011, but them’s the breaks. I mentioned that in another post I did in July, along with saying that I should have been using my own images more often. One of the comments that post received was that images should fit the content for maximum effect.
I responded that the statement was true, but that there were so many topics, like blogging, where finding images that fit becomes a tasking proposition. After all, how many pictures of someone sitting at a computer, or someone with their hand poised to write something, or even hands on a keyboard are out there, let alone all that compelling? He agreed with me that it’s probably better to have an image than not having one at all.
Let’s talk about this concept of niche imaging. Truth be told, if you’re talking about fishing and you have pictures of people fishing or even of fish that’s probably a strong relationship for your visitors. Talking about baking and having a picture of a cake is probably going to grab my attention.
Yet, for all the talk about finding images that match up with the content, have you paid much attention to the large content curation sites and news sites? Have you noticed that quite often what they’re sharing is either an image that they think their visitors will find attractive or compelling, or a stock image that they pull up every time they have a related story, and that quite often the image has nothing to do with the content at all? The items most visited and shared online contain either babies, puppies or kittens or pretty women (which makes my buddy Peter happy lol).
Back in 2010 my friend Scott wrote a guest post here about copyright and images, and a lot of people (myself included) have at one time or another received something from one of those photo copyright sites saying we’ve used something we didn’t know was copywritten, even if it came from a site like Flickr (which has tightened up its rules since then). When you have the whole world of images in your pocket it makes things easier when you’re looking for something you think might fit your content well. When you realize you don’t, that crate of images becomes the size of a book of wooden matches.
That is… unless you feel confident enough to use some of your own images, even if they don’t always fit the content. Truthfully, for mobile speed purposes, using your own images gives you the ability to shrink the size of your images, something the search engines might hold against you. Whenever I use images via the Compfight plugin, even though I love the images I use, there’s nothing I can do to compress them since they’re coming from elsewhere.
Check out the image above? That’s not such a bad picture is it? Doesn’t it draw the eyes, no matter what the topic or niche might be? What about the image here, which features myself and one of my best friends from college? For people who know me they get to see another side of me, and for people who don’t they’ll probably figure out it’s a picture of the writer (even if they might guess wrong lol) and someone else if they miss the pictures of me above. Even if neither picture was all that compelling (you’d better think they’re compelling lol), isn’t it better having them here than having nothing but words in the post?
I’m not sure if you’re like me or not, but I have nearly 5,000 of my own images on my computer, and even more in photo books all over the house and at Mom’s house. They may not all be spectacular shots, but they meant something to me or my family at the time they were taken, and some of them can certainly be considered vintage. Many of them are even funny; who doesn’t like funny?
From my perspective, using your own images is a nice place to start. Using images from other sources that can match up with your niche topic are even better when you’re discussing specific business issues or points. As you’ve seen in posts of mine like when I talked about blocking newsletter popups I took a screen print of the setting page of the browser add-on I use to show people how to set it up, which in essence became one of my images instead of something I found online. That type of thing is always helpful also.
Or just go with the babies, puppies or kittens or pretty women; at least you know your articles will be seen, even if your visitors don’t stay long afterwards. 🙂
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 5, 2016
Not counting last week, I’ve been putting a lot of time into increasing the mobile speed for all my blogs and websites. Even though I kept up with my once a week post for this blog and my business blog, overall my writing output has suffered. Hey, I can’t do it all right?
I was going to add “or can I“, but that response would be utopian and I don’t believe in utopia in any way, shape or form. What I do believe is that I can do and show more, not only on this blog but across the board. Below I’m going to give you 4 reasons why I’m going to write at least 12 posts for I’m Just Sharing this month and, hopefully, a bit more content for my other sites as well.
1. I need to kickstart the search engines again.
Truth be told, just because I increased the mobile speed of my blogs doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly started seeing more traffic. Life doesn’t quite work like that; you have to give search engines a reason to check you out a bit more, and once they start sharing you then hopefully your visitors and commenters will take over from that point.
I know that in my post from January talking about a content experiment I did on my business blog where I had a new post every day in December and how it didn’t get the results I wanted, but leadership is a much different animal and it’s harder to drive traffic to leadership sites. Since this blog used to hum back in the day when I was writing at least 300 posts a year, and even though this is only a short term thing, I figure it’s worth another experiment on what’s supposed to be my most popular blog.
2. I want to show people that it can be done.
Depending on your point of view, blogging is either easy or hard, though most people think it’s fairly hard to keep up with. I’ve always believed that the writing part of blogging is fairly easy if you don’t have too finite a niche, if you know your subject well, and you’re ready to be creative. If every one of my posts were going to be 2,000+ words I could see that as being a bit much, but nothing says that every single post you write has to be a pillar post.
3. Inform, educate, entertain
When it comes to blogging or other social media activities, as long as you’re trying to inform, educate or entertain others with your content, and are willing to engage them in conversation or by comments, the general part of it all is fairly easy. The only hard parts are if you decide to pop links into your new content like I’m doing, finding images, and when needed doing the research. Otherwise, you’re good; trust me on that.
4. Show expertise
Some of you new folks might find this incredible, but in the early years I was kind of a known quantity when it came to the blogging world, at least for this blog. After 11 years of blogging (though that link talks about 10 years, I’ve now been blogging 11 lol) I’ve certainly learned a lot about blogging and writing, and I’ve picked up a good bit of knowledge about social media also.
The thing is, I know a lot about a lot, and I’m also a consultant. I find that when I get really busy working on projects paid or not (my 3 weeks working on mobile speed wasn’t paid unfortunately) other things slow down and I don’t get to show any expertise or authority on anything. I also don’t comment on as many blogs as I used to (for multiple reasons, which I’ll be going into in another blog post this month), even though I share more often these days. I rarely get asked to participate in group blog posts offering my opinion on things like blogging mistakes in my past. I also can’t remember the last time my name was added to a top bloggers list; sigh… lol
Even though I’m going to have a lot of content here this month, I have 4 other blogs to consider as well, and it’s my intention to “up” the amount of content for all of them in September. My intention is to have all the posts written by at least the end of this week, and then postdated so I can use the rest of September to work on other projects. Gotta make a living, right?
After that, we’ll see where it all goes. Now, who want to complain about how hard blogging is? 🙂