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18 Lessons in Blogging – Part II

Someone recently asked me what the most popular post was on ProBlogger. There have been quite a few that have done well but one that got (and continues to get) a lot of attention is 18 Lessons I’ve Learnt about Blogging.

Today Valeria Maltoni left a pretty comprehensive comment on it that I thought had some good stuff in it. I thought it’d make a good post in and of itself. Here’s what she had to say (the bolded parts are my subheadings on my 18 lessons and the rest is Vaeria’s):

“Hello Darren:
I’ve been one of the lurkers for a while via Stephanie Quilao’s Back in Skinny Jeans. Congratulations! 3 years in blog time is a long time. And thank you for providing useful links and tips. My blog is a tactic that fits with the integrated marketing communications strategy I adopted to learn exponentially and evolve my career. I’m not looking to make money from it directly. Still, your advice applies:

1. Be Lucky — ever read Fooled by Randomness? That’s what this point is about. All things being equal, right time and right place play a decisive role in making it.

2. Work Hard — I sometimes joke that nothing ever comes easy to me as I seem to prefer hard work. The truth is that practice, attention to detail (attention in general), and discipline (very much a choice) have their own rewards.

3. Use the Power of Exponential Growth
— this is the ‘be patient’ point. Evolution is often gradual and overnight success is a certain length of time in the making (built into this point are making mistakes and learning from them).

4. Differentiate Yourself
— the truth is a blog is a medium, even when it’s a business. What comes out is pretty much you. What’s your voice?

5. Provide Value
– How can you add to the conversation? Do you abide by the ethical standards of filtering the information you pass on? Are you a good host?

6. Target a Niche
— this can be also a very specific space in the professional continuum. A lens, a filter, a unique perspective. For example, I blog about different places in which the conversation takes people (content creators, product/service producers and publics) to the next level. While the topics are different, the space is always the same — the point of interaction, the connection of ideas and people with resulting transformation. My tagline is: connecting ideas and people, how talk can change our lives.

7. Diversify
— absolutely. Also, because we are human and have many ways of expressing our skills, talents and experience, not one single medium will satisfy all of them. Also, you may want to continue exploring other dimensions of work beyond the screen interface.

8. Don’t spread yourself too thin
— along with your cannot be all things to all people (voice and personality are a must), you cannot be effective if you’re constantly chasing too many projects. Know thyself and respect your own rhythms first.

9. Have a back up plan
— this is good to have in life and certainly applies to blogging. it does not mean you’re not focused. It means you need to stay flexible and adapt to the marketplace while you remain resilient and committed to your value proposition. It may end up looking very different than what you envisioned and still match your vision.

10. Be Light on your Feet
— I think this also means to stay open to opportunities and in listening mode. Sometimes the best advice comes from the most likely source.

11. Relationships are Key
— as your blog mirrors pretty much who you are, others do too. The blogosphere is a relational space that takes advantage of the linked nature of the web, which is modeled after our brain patterns. In relationships it is important to give, and blogging allows you to do so more than static web sites.

12. Establish Boundaries
— this is part of your own contract with yourself as well. What kind of strategy does your blog fulfill?

13. Dont’ Read your Own Press
— and don’t take yourself too seriously or you’ll lose sight of opportunities to learn and grow.

14. Beware of Hype
— blame no one. expect nothing. do something.

15. Get a Life
— before you can tell stories, it is much better is you actually experience them. What is unique about you will need to be nurtured often.

16. Make Mistakes
— in fact, it is better to risk something often than playing it safe all the time. When I look back at my career, I realize that the most productive times where actually the ones where I was improving on something. Kind of Me 2.0.

17. Be Yourself
— transparency is the key to intimacy and the blog is a one-to-one medium. It is much better to be an interested version of yourself than a perfect copy of someone else. Yes, I wrote interested as it beats trying to be interesting in spades. It’s about the conversation with your audience.

18. There are no Rules
— true, we all make it up as we go along. As long as it fits with our overall strategy and reflects who we are. All the existing rules are history, they were created to make sense of and put order to a reality that is part of our past. Blogging is such a fluid activity, because it involves thought and language — they both evolve, ask our forefathers.

It has been fun spending time here. Thank you for asking.”

No thank YOU Valeria!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Clarke Scott says:

    I like #15 something I still haven’t done

    Clarke
    wHooiz Clarke Scott?

  2. Luke Meshios says:

    The be yourself one is a big one. I was trying to be someone I was not for a while. But it got me no where at all. So I relaxed and was myself…

    then my Adsense earnings increased and I was a lot happier.

  3. Hey Darren,

    These lessons are really great. I am planning to start blogging professionally and I am working on a few things.

    For me Rule #12 is ‘really important’ as I kinda stray from the objective of my blog very often. I am planning the content and the manner I will present it in. Hence while all the 18 points are crucial, #12 is what I am trying to focus on.

    Cheers!

  4. Chris says:

    Yep good stuff as always. It’s often hard when blogging because we can become blinded by our own “voice” and stop seeing ourselves from the perspective of our blog community. But, these are great reminders for any blogging who wants to communicate effectively using this medium.

  5. mStraz says:

    I’ll add a #19 onto this list. Have fun. Once you stop enjoying blogging and it turns into work, and only work you’ll notice the quality, focus and interest level for posting drop dramatically.

    Good advice from Valeria!

  6. Vee says:

    I agree with #14 to get a good reputation. But sometimes, make a bad post will attract more traffic to give their own comment.

  7. Dennis says:

    Another good book a long the lines of “Fooled by Randomness” is “A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market” by John Allen Paulos.

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