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How Can I Be Useful To You?

Posted by on Dec 6, 2010

Last week I was honored to have Chris Brogan stop by this blog for the first time and leave a comment. Of course, I’d been talking about his post regarding ways to write multiple posts in a day. He stated something interesting in the comment: “The qualifier might be USEFUL posts a day”.


Young “ME”
being real useful

It got me to thinking about how often I’ve been “useful” to those who visit this blog. I know that my business blog is useful, if tough for some people to get into, but what about this blog? Is it supposed to be useful or entertaining? Can it be both?

As I get close to post #900 I decided that I would take just a quick look at topics I’ve written on over the past 3 years, but I’m going in a different direction. For instance, I’ve written around 55 posts on entertainment topics. Out of all those posts, only one could be considered as useful, that being when I spoke on how to create playlists on Windows Media Player. Certainly a post like Saturday’s top 20 sports movies isn’t useful, but it’s fun and, in my opinion, is the type of thing where some folks might enjoy comparing their favorites to mine; an outlet for expression that anyone who likes movies can comment and know that there are no wrong responses (that is, unless someone actually thinks The Fish That Ate Pittsburgh is a top 20 film).

I then looked at personal posts, where I get to talk about anything I want to, sometimes things that have nothing to do with my norm here (do I even have a norm?). I’ve written around 50 of those, and I have to admit that determining what’s useful or not is a little bit harder. For instance, my update post on my gym workouts might not be useful to a majority of people, but if there’s someone who’s been thinking about joining a gym to lose weight and reads my post on my travails, have I given them something useful to think about, since I mention it also takes changing one’s diet? Personally I’d have found something like that useful before I joined the gym, but what about anyone else? Anyway, based on my own criteria, I think at least 7 of those posts were fairly useful; the others, well, at least half are subject to interpretation.

And of course there’s the Sunday Question, which may or may not be useful to people. Its intention is to get people thinking most of the time, and to me, that’s useful. However, I’m not sure people learn anything from it, unless they’re learning something about themselves that they never thought of before.

Anyway, based on the quick review, it would seem that I’m useful at least 80% of the time on this blog; I really hadn’t expected that at all. I’ve talked about blogging, writing, software, plugins, product review, health, social media, motivation and posted some interviews. There are more topics, of course, but you get the drift. For me, it’s been an interesting mix of things over time, and I hope to continue it.

Still, I figure it’s time to ask this question; how can I be of more use to you? Are there topics I haven’t covered that you might want to see me tackle, if I’m able? I’m not going to ask what you don’t want me to talk about because, well, I’m going to write what I want to write about, even when it’s a tough topic to discuss like issues of race. And I will tell a story or two here and there, like my story about The Keys. But I figure why not ask, as it’s the holiday season, I’m on the cusp of 900 posts, and who knows, there might be other posts in your questions as well.

Go ahead; let’s see what I do and don’t know as far as helping you out. But if you ask me how to build a car; ain’t gonna happen! 😀
 

 

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32 Comments »

Oh, the old rec center. That was the standard position if I recall correctly for all of us “kids”. Yeah, I need a lot of help and will be talking to you about it. Maybe it’ll spark a blog or two for ya in exchange.

December 6th, 2010 | 9:46 AM
Mitch:

Hey, we’ll see where the future takes us. Yes, that was at the rec center; I’m in the picture with Pat, but didn’t want to put him up on the blog without his permission. Loved my hair then; nowadays that would be too much work. lol

December 6th, 2010 | 11:31 AM
John:

Mitch – I think every blogger wants to find out how they can be more useful to the people that visit their blog. Me personally, I enjoy the stories you tell because it seems I can usually relate to them in some way.

I like the way you mix it up, and if I were to ask you to tackle a topic it would probably be on motivation. You have most likely already written some motivational posts already but they never get old.

I love to read something and get motivated by it. Other than that, congratulations on almost hitting the 900 mark with your posts.

December 6th, 2010 | 10:14 AM
Mitch:

Thanks John. Actually, if you check out the categories to the right there you’ll find motivation as one of the topics, which will include videos and the like at times. I love talking about motivation; I probably need to talk about it more often here.

December 6th, 2010 | 11:32 AM

Hey Mitch,
I like to topics you choose for your posts and some are really entertaining.

If there would be a topic about I would wish you would write is , “How did your experience as a hospital manager (high management position) helped you in your internet endeavor?”

December 6th, 2010 | 10:59 AM
Mitch:

Oh wow Alex, now that would be interesting for me to think about. I will consider it because as I sit here right now, I’m not sure there is a relationship, but I could be wrong. Thanks!

December 6th, 2010 | 11:33 AM

Mitch,

I think that your blog is useful. I’m very picky with the blogs that I subscribe to; if I don’t get value from a blog, then I don’t read them.

Like you said, your business blog and personal blog are different in their own ways, and consequently, provide value in different ways. I like your personal blog because it keeps me entertained and it stimulates me to think about different topics. I love how personal it is and how you are not afraid to touch on controversial topics.

My favorite topics are stories about mistakes that you have made that have taught you a lesson. I am always trying to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. Maybe some future topics could be about lessons you have learned through life.

December 6th, 2010 | 12:24 PM
Mitch:

Thanks for the input, Keith. It would definitely take the “personal” part of this blog in a new direction, sort of, but it might be fun. That is, as long as Kelvin stays away so he can’t find anything to laugh at. Have to watch out for Scott as well; might have to tell a story about our trip to Cooperstown one of these days. lol

December 6th, 2010 | 12:57 PM
Kissie:

Wow, I’m stuck on the “young you.”

Mitch, I can’t think of a way you could be more useful, a lot of your topics I don’t think about UNTIL you write them!

Thank you for what you do and you’d be surprise what people will take away from the simplest posts. Does that mean you or your topics can be considered at some time a qualifier? I would say, yes.

December 6th, 2010 | 2:01 PM
Mitch:

Thanks for this Kissie. I try to be proactive, and I think of lots of stuff, but I put it out there just in case someone wanted something more.

December 6th, 2010 | 2:07 PM

I think the value of your blog is that it’s a safe place for your readers to learn, challenge each other, and disagree. It’s filled with valuable information, but the environment you’ve created is even more important. The tone is open and respectful, because you’ve set it up that way, which makes it easier to ask a dumb question or bring up an unexpected idea. Especially in light of the direction most of the world seems to have taken, I find what you’re doing very useful. And I’m looking forward to the next nine hundred.

December 6th, 2010 | 2:36 PM
Mitch:

Thanks Charles; let’s reach that 900 first. And I do try to make it a safe zone, though I hadn’t really thought of it in that light.

December 6th, 2010 | 3:48 PM

Mitch, seems like there are two questions here.

1. What topics are of interest to your audience?
2. Which topics will connect you to those that are interested in your consulting services?

With the broad range of topics that you’re covering (here and elsewhere), are you too diverse for a prospective client? (A generalist rather than a specialist?)

December 6th, 2010 | 3:15 PM
Mitch:

It’s an interesting question to ponder, Jill. It seems that the topics part is covered by most of the comments, so I guess that part is working okay. The second part is also something to think about, more for the other blog than this one.

I don’t know about being too diverse for a prospective client or not. I asked that very question on a LinkedIn group and every person who responded said, in their own way of course, that having lots of things in one’s background gives them a breadth of things they can offer to someone as a more rounded person than someone who only knows one thing and thus might not be able to think outside the box. I certainly didn’t expect everyone to respond in that fashion but it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone was correct.

However, there’s a strange sidebar, that being that CEOs many times have no idea how to do any of the work their company is known for (as evidenced by the show Undercover Boss, which I love), but they have practice in being CEOs. I’ve been following some of these folks (not remembering names, just seeing changes) over the past few years and it’s amazing the types of companies a CEO will be the head of, in that most of the companies these folks jump to have nothing whatsoever to do with what the previous company produced. I’m not sure if it’s an apples to apples or apples to oranges comparison, but it’s still something interesting to ponder.

December 6th, 2010 | 3:54 PM

I think you can be useful by simply being you….and making your community feel at home when they visit your site.

Perhaps it’s me age, but I’m now finding I value more sites that are warm and friendly than simply just plain data-based “useful.” YMMV, of course.

December 6th, 2010 | 4:33 PM
Mitch:

Thanks Barbara. Then I guess the combination of both works well for you. 🙂

December 6th, 2010 | 4:53 PM

@Mitch, As a blogger (or service provider) that’s a great question to ask and I am happy that you did. To be frank, though, Chris Brogan’s qualifier statement is fair, I would categorize blog posts into:

1. The stuff that you write for your own satisfaction – and that’s mainly useful to you alone. This may include several personal rants and thoughts.

2. Stuff that are personal in nature but can be of extremely useful to other people going through similar tracks. E.g you writing about diabetics, midlife experiences, gymming etc.

3. Stuff within your areas of expertise (or even your profession) and that can be useful for people seeking similar services and advice.

Now, 3rd one clearly need a niche blog. The other two can be covered in a generic blog like imjustsharing and at least readers like me – who enjoy the writing efforts of people based on their personal experiences – will buy into it. And in that sense it’s really useful.

Basically the blogger is still a writer first and I strongly disagree with people who treat it as a business alone. You and I are successful in our own ways, hence 🙂 However, if you want to drive more traffic and make some money out of things, separate blogs with different intends would certainly help and suddenly the same content ‘would look’ more useful in others eyes.

Good luck to you. Though I keep coming here only once a week or so, I definitely ‘follow’ it and found it useful.

December 7th, 2010 | 1:22 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Ajith. I do have one niche blog, and I have my main business blog as well. The thing is that I’m not sure having more than the 3 blogs would be really beneficial to me. I do write a lot, but I’m not sure I could keep enough content for all the blogs that I’d need to separate all the businesses and things I’m interested in. So, the business blog handles everything except SEO, social media & other web stuff, which I incorporate here. I did give a thought to creating at least one more blog, but I think it would make things unwieldy.

I will agree, though, that the potential for income goes up with a bit more direction. It’s not a guarantee, as my finance blog has proven, but it could be done.

December 7th, 2010 | 12:40 PM

I think you are useful in your own way, you just don’t know it. By reading your own opinions on your blogs which I could greatly relate, you taught me some lessons on how you handle things your own way. Keep it coming! Good luck to you and more power.

December 7th, 2010 | 2:07 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Kelli, and for a first time contribution, I’m honored.

December 7th, 2010 | 12:40 PM
Althea Garner:

Mitch, you are one of the most sincere people that I have met and I truly value you as a friend – that’s why I keep coming back to read your blog.

How can you be useful to me? By helping me to connect to CommentLuv again, but I doubt that I’ll ‘get’ it thru your written instruction!

I would really like you to give me the link to your real estate blog…….

BTW: ‘How might I be helpful to you?’ is a question I ask at the end of every new contact e-mail, because networking is a two-way street.
🙂

December 7th, 2010 | 8:33 AM
Mitch:

Althea, send me email with your CommentLuv information and let’s see what we can get done. And in the email I’ll send you a couple of links to what I’ve been doing. However, just to talk about your CommentLuv thing, I believe you should be using this URL: http://ocdreamhometeam.wordpress.com. I tested it & your blog posts came up.

December 7th, 2010 | 12:48 PM
Carl:

Being useful to others is not very easy thing, by the way, I like your picture. My son try to be useful, he is just 1 and a half year old, but sometimes, he try to sit on my PC acting like he is working. Sometimes he try to help with cooking to his mother and when make a mess put everything on place. He is very smart for his age. Sorry for going off-topic, yesterday he took the empty box of cigarettes on my desk, smash it and put in the bin, it was really impressive.

December 7th, 2010 | 9:19 AM
Mitch:

Awww Carl, he’s trying to get you to stop smoking; I think that’s probably the most helpful thing he could do for you. 😉

December 7th, 2010 | 12:51 PM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch

I find if I have a question when you post about something I want to know more about, always know when I return you will have replied and answered.

Your blog is friendly and I love the mix of topics. Never know what I will be reading when I get here. You come across as warm and friendly and that’s why I and many others make regular trips here. Keep rockin’ it Mitch.

Patricia Perth Australia

December 7th, 2010 | 9:11 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Pat; I have another person fooled! lol I’m helpful when I can be, and I’m glad it’s a safe environment for you.

December 7th, 2010 | 12:49 PM

I LOVE posts about your gym workouts! But then again, I’m a little out of “the norm”. Seriously though, “How useful am I to my readers” is a great question to ask ourselves to help keep our content in check. I will be asking myself this question daily as I create posts, tweets, and status updates for my readers.

Thanks MItch. And I think you are 100% useful so I have no suggestions for you on hoe to be more!

December 7th, 2010 | 10:24 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Susan. And I’ll continue offering my gym updates from time to time. Of course, I haven’t been to the gym since Friday since I’ve been shoveling so much snow; check this evening’s post for images.

December 7th, 2010 | 12:53 PM
Kissie:

I bet you burned a LOT of calories in doing so … who needs a gym when when the work comes to your front door?!

December 7th, 2010 | 12:55 PM
Mitch:

And it’s going to get worse. The forecast is for 5-12 inches by 5AM, 5-12 more inches Wednesday night, then a noreaster starting on Friday night and going through the weekend; Im dyin’!

December 7th, 2010 | 1:04 PM

I love that your blog covers everything and it leaves us all wondering what is next. I agree with Patricia..your blog is always warm and friendly. Love the flashback picture! I was so going to say “how cool were you?!” But that is still true so “were” doesn’t work. “How cool are you!?!”. This is such a great place – I love the mix-up of topics serious and fun. One of my favorite posts is still the Disco flashback.

December 7th, 2010 | 5:28 PM
Mitch:

Ah yes, that’s one of my favorites as well; Burn Baby Burn! lol And thanks for the words Melinda; it’s a pleasure writing this blog.

December 7th, 2010 | 5:39 PM