Blogging is relatively new in the scheme of things, but even so, there are some conventions and ideas that are already well embedded in blog “culture”.
For example, how many times have you heard the phrase “content is king”? It’s pretty clear where that idea is meant to lead, for some other phrases some more context is required. The following five books have become not just best sellers and famous, but actually launched whole new ways of thinking about what we do and their titles have become mainstays of blogging conversation.
I am not saying you should go run out and buy these books right away, but knowing about the books and the concepts they put forward can help you understand better when someone tells you that “your blog needs to be a Purple Cow and leverage the Long Tail”!
Whenever you hear someone talking about being unique, saying you should aim to be “remarkable”, you can almost guarantee they have read and absorbed this book.
Seth’s advice is to stand out, be noticed and memorable, make being remarkable the core of what you do. That’s basically it, the book is pretty much a long essay to get that point across. While I have summed up the entire book in not many words, reading the book helps you understand and inspires you to take the idea and run with it.
Before Tim Ferris there was the E-Myth. You hear about “passive income”, “outsourcing”, “working on your business and not in it”, and you can bet at some point E-Myth (the Entrepreneur Myth) will pop up. He says that many people considered entrepreneurs are really technicians and craftspeople creating their own “jobs”.
In some ways Michael E Gerber, Mr E-Myth, is the anti-Seth. Rather than saying you should be remarkable and hire remarkable people, he says real success comes from creating systems that remove the need for you to be present and working 24/7.
People try to do everything, achieve their goals through their own efforts. Equate success with “hard work”. Great systems mean you maintain quality and can take vacations.
The E-Myth books basically teach you that you don’t have to work yourself into an early grave. That with good systems and shared load you can achieve more by working less.
“It’s all about the conversation”
“join the conversation”
You can blame the Cluetrain for these sayings. I actually asked if Cluetrain was still relevant and got some interesting answers (http://www.chrisg.com/cluetrain-social-media/). It seems most fondly remembered by old-timers (those who started blogging in the 90’s) but you still see the phrases used over and over.
Unlike the others you can actually read Cluetrain online and for free so you have no excuse for not at least dipping in and seeing what you are missing.
He says that we are increasingly turning away from the mainstream and instead going further and further into our own niches. The Long Tail is used to justify and champion the cult-favorite book that isn’t going to be a best-seller, the band that never charts but does OK live, and the blog about obscure 1960’s pulp science fiction with ten readers. Unfortunately the premise can be stretched further than was likely intended. Don’t give up your day job for that blog about walrus polishing just yet.
The idea for is that you can make money from many seldom searched for phrases or rarely purchased items. In aggregate these long tail pages or products match or beat blockbusters and best sellers. So Amazon, with their million-strong inventory, can make real money from selling a lot of items a few times, as much as selling Harry Potter over and over. A blogger can have one or two super-performing pages that bring in hundreds of thousands of page views, or millions of visitors by having thousands of pages that bring in fewer visitors each.
We use the phrase “Tipping Point” to indicate when our fortunes seemed to transform, that instant when everything changes for the better (or worse). The book is about how tiny changes, sometimes seemingly unrelated, can have big knock on effects.
Malcolm Gladwell basically wrote the book on Memes that everyone could follow. He talks about other subjects you might recognize, such as “Mavens”, “Connectors” and “Stickiness”. If you ever wanted to read more about why “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” is important, this is the book for you.
As I say above, the main point of this article was to show where some popular and much-used blogging sayings came from. Understanding how the ideas originated helps you work out when and if they apply to your situation. Some phrases are thrown around just because “everyone knows it’s true”, which is as you know something we should always be wary of online!
Should you read these books? While they are absolutely not “essential” purchases, I think any one of these books would both give you some fresh ideas and perspectives, and be entertaining light reading.
Have you got any suggestions for influential books I have missed? Please share in the comments.