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10 Things I’ve Learned From Posting on Problogger

a guest post by Larry Brooks of Storyfix.com

10.      This is a huge community.  As in, ginormous.  Literally four corners of the world, anyplace with digital cable and a Fed Ex partner. 

Which means my frequently sarcastic American humor doesn’t always play places like Klagenfurt and rural Kirgizstan.

9.        Online sarcasm is itself risky business.  One writer’s sarcasm is another’s snarky… a word which probably doesn’t play in Kirgizstan, either. 

8.        Never write a post about the need to double and triple check for typos that has a typo in it. 

One word: crucified.  Still smarting from that one.

7.        “Know Thy Audience” isn’t a cliché.  It’s the natural law – the physics – of marketing.

I’m a blogger who posts about fiction writing and sells a few writing ebooks while I’m at it.  The majority of readers here are online entrepreneurs who’d rather hear about blog-related marketing than how to write the next Salzburg Times bestseller. 

Many of whom, by the way, have a story in them.

6.       Darren Rowse really is the nicest guy on the internet.  A total pro, too.   I’ve tested this theory with a wide breadth of technical cluelessless and naiveté, and you can add patience to those first two.

He doesn’t just let anybody onto this site, which means you not only earn your admission ticket (lest you wonder, I was invited to post here twice a month), you earn your keep, too.  And it’s all fair. 

5.        The company you keep defines you.  Choose wisely. 

In this case, being on Problogger has upped my online exposure and, merely by association, my chops in the online world.  My brand.  Which means, the pressure is on.

This, too, is natural law in the online world.

Because the same crowd that throws in on that count can slap you back to reality with one missed swing.  (That being three metaphors in one sentence… don’t try this at home.)

4.        It’s okay to get personal.  And I’m not talking about dating or social media sites (getting too personal on those venues can also get you arrested). 

A blog is usually an ancillary tool in an otherwise pointed branding and marketing strategy, which means it doesn’t need to exclusively spew bits and bytes (digi-speak for features and benefits) or self-serving bluster that doesn’t smack of commonality. 

People are attracted to commiseration, empathy and the voyeuristic joy that comes from reading about the sheer misery of others in like-minded situations.

3.        There’s one in every crowd.   Try not to be that guy.

You could blog about the reliability of death, taxes and gravity and somebody will post a comment endeavoring to make you wrong (one self-proclaimed “blogging superstar” tried to refute my theories about writing and publishing contemporary fiction by quoting Cervantes, who published his last book in the year 1615 … but that’s another site). 

That which doesn’t kill us either makes us stronger or simply pisses us off. 

2.        You, the blogger and the commenter, put the UNITY into community.   That’s why this venue is unique in all of the history of human communications.

And the most valuable thing I’ve learned here on Problogger is…

1.        I have a lot to learn.  That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it? 

One of the best ways to learn – albeit with a resource like Problogger on your daily to-do list – is to just keep writing.  On your own site, and on others if they’ll have you.

And if that’s not common ground, perhaps we’re all in the wrong place.

Larry Brooks is the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional site for fiction writers and those who proof them.

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Comments

  1. Excellent post. Loved the self deprecating humour throughout! And I agree especially with Point #1 …so much still to learn …in life as well as in technology and blogging!

    Much appreciated.

    Gwen McCauley

  2. Bud Bilanich says:

    You’re right Larry.
    Just keep on writing. I post to my blog five days a week (www.BudBilanich.com).
    I’ve become a better writer as a result. More important, I’ve gained a deeper insight into my topic– life and career success — by writing about it every day.
    I even published a book based on the ideas I developed in my blog, “Success Tweets.”
    Readers can get a free copy at http://www.SuccessTweets.com.
    All the best,
    Bud Bilanich

  3. Great post and good tips.

    “9. Online sarcasm is itself risky business.” I guess this would be applicable to the whole web!

    “8.Never write a post about the need to double and triple check for typos that has a typo in it.”

    lol This happened here and literally everyone in the comments pointed out the typo.

    It’s funny how other posts here with greater/more typos were never noticed or pointed out!

    Nabeel

  4. Sue says:

    I’m one of those people who bought one of your books. I found you here on problogger.net.

    I’ve been writing every day, barely missing a day because it helps me to cope with being a Care Giver to my mom with Lewy Bodies Dementia.

    Through our journey, I’ve learned how to cure diabetes and manage my mom’s delirium with food and natural remedies. My mom has more good days than not so good days and my family and I are healthier.

    Larry and Problogger, you have both helped me to find my voice and it feels good!

    Thank you. Everyone needs to buy your books Larry.

    Sue
    Care Giver to my 80yr old mom with Lewy Bodies Dementia
    http://backdoorlogic.blogspot.com

  5. Jean Sarauer says:

    I’m still battling some paranoia about writing an article on proofreading/typos. I think I’d better have some other folks look at it before it gets published :)

    I agree that writing and getting out there with others who are doing the work is the best way to learn and grow. I make blunders every day, but that’s all part of the fun.

  6. I loved this post.

    I admire the ability to look at what we have done so that we can use what worked and get rid of what didn’t.

    I also like seeing what has worked for you. It makes it easier to pick future paths to take. Like you said, we are all learning.

  7. There is one more item that I would like to add, we’ll make it number 11:

    People love to read numbered lists. I have learned that no matter what kind of post you are creating, if you can turn it into a numbered list or a numbered product, people will flock to it like moths to a candle.

    I know I need to do this more myself.

    No matter who you are and what position you are trying to make, for some reason there is a general solidarity that people just can’t resist that numbered list.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  8. Keep writing and going no where isn’t quit nice and that’s what almost every blogger out there are doing, including me, so is better to write something that really can have something in return is still the best call, reading in problogger blog sometime I learn new ideals but most of the time, is plain old reminded of what we had forgotten in blogging which is quite important even if we had to re-read stuff that we already knew.

  9. Larry, you definitely get around. Any more, I look very carefully at the blogs on my RSS feed – you might be doing a guest post.

    What I got from this is that you learned about your audience. Problogger is a different “genre” so to speak, with different audience requirements.

  10. Jezza101 says:

    Regarding point 3, I think it is important that commenters aren’t afraid to question a post. Sometimes the responses on this blog seem horrendously sycophantic and I just don’t think that’s good for anyone.

    Remember there is always a chance everyone else is wrong and “that guy” is actually right. As Voltaire pointed out (1778, who’s keeping score?) common sense isn’t always that common.

    I think we need irony tags ;)!

  11. Josh Garcia says:

    Great list you put together!

    I agree with Joshua. For some reason people love list articles. I even used it on for video marketing and I get a lot of view.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  12. I think that point 1 is certainly the most important. All of the great blogging entrepreneurs will tell you that they have had to adapt at one point or another to stay afloat, and adapting is being willing to learn and change your way of doing things in order survive and/or thrive. This deserves to be point 1.

  13. Yes you are right that why we are here @Problogger,because we have to learn a lot about blogging,typos,proofreading etc..
    Thanks for sharing your experience wisely with the bloggers community.

  14. Larry,

    I liked point #4. If you don’t have at least some level of personal experience, personality, etc on your blog, it’s just another site. Hey, at least no trees died in the making of it. :)

    And like you mentioned, getting too personal is a bad thing. I cringe at some of the things shared online. That’s going to hurt later I’m sure.

    Point #10 is good too. What might mean something good in one culture can mean something bad in another. Got to keep aware of the global landscape and where your readers are coming from.

  15. Larry, Darren,
    I completely agree that the company you keep in touch with defines you. So I am delighted to be part of the problogger community of learners. I find Darren’s work to be of top notch quality.

    Continued Success,
    David

  16. I’ve been blogging for about 10/11 days now, I feel like I have learnt so much, I started out blogging on my hobby site (http://ingathome.com), and also my personal site http://stuartmcminigal.com which I open up and talk.
    I was never the type to update my facebook status or twitter every hour, but I feel having a blog lets you open up a lot more and explore new things.
    Great list and I can relate to a few of them already!

    Great website and has been a huge help to me..
    Stuart

  17. You should have just told them the typo was a test to see how good they were at catching typos

  18. 11 (?). One blog can lead to a more successful side blog. Happened for me.

  19. Ryan Hanzel says:

    I love having my voice heard and influencing others. Writing for such a big audience would definitely be a learning experience and something to take other places. Everything is a lesson.

  20. Larry says:

    @Nabaeel — yeah, that was me. I was ‘that” guy.

  21. Sean Supplee says:

    ginormous my fav word lol

    I did not know you could guest post on pro blogger going to have to check that out as a possible means to drive traffic and provide quality to the problogger community.

    I gotta say its amazing what a constant flow of fresh good quality content will do for any of your sites.

  22. Number 10 is a no brainier for sure. This is a world itself, in here. So much action. I wish I had 10 percent of the community and I’d be a bit more satisfied. But I know I’ll get there soon. Been blogging for six months so I can’t complain for what I’ve accomplished.

    I must say problogger.net has taught me everything I know and I could probably come out with another 10 reason of what I’ve learned just from reading posts here, and the people I’ve had the chance to network with are just awesome.

    Anyhow that’s some powerful stuff that you’ve learned here. Darren truly is a nice guy. Don’t know him personally but hope I do at some conf. eventually

  23. great article. I have had a lot to learn also and there’s still some way to go. I think its important to learn from others who have been where your going. Theres simply not enough time to learn everything through trial and error.

    Problogger is a great place to learn. I dont know Darren personally but reading his posts kind of gives a good insight as to what’s going on his mind. Writing skills help which is something I am working on personally.

    Vince.

  24. Jay says:

    #1 certainly is a very salient point. I’ve been reading ProBlogger since I started out on WordPress.com back in 2007. My blogging activity has waxed and waned since that point in time.

    I’ve yet to achieve a modicum of success from all of the time that I’ve spent blogging, but I continue to enjoy the process. In terms of having a lot to learn, it really depends a great deal on choice.

    Personally, I’ve made time-wasting decisions like learning how to edit CSS/PHP and code a child theme or just how to play around with Photoshop. None of this sort of blogging related learning will translate into actually making money, but it is fun.

    Speaking of guest posting at Problogger, I’ve just upgraded two of my sites to Dreamhost VPS and I still have 6 days left on the free trial (includes 2 GB of ram). I guess that doesn’t leave much time to submit a guest post to Darren and test out how robust my hosting plan is running. :)

  25. Glen says:

    Your absolutely right on number 10. I have yet to meet the man who knows everything.

  26. rick says:

    Nice post Larry..

    Point #11 – There’s no substitute for hard work. Successful bloggers didn’t get to where they are from being lucky. Do your research, put your time in, and good things will follow.

  27. 6 and 1 says a lot about you.

    A good person is someone who can see things about himself and admit he doesn’t know everything.

    People most likely say this about you all the time, but I’d like to not that you are an asset to the Internet Community. Thank you for all you do!

  28. Tammi Kibler says:

    About “that guy” – I think it helps to remember there is rarely only one way to do something. I may be taking a slow boat China, you may be taking a flight that connects in Manila. Neither one of us is inherently wrong. Each route may be perfectly right for our specific purposes.

  29. I’d like to second the comment by Jezza101. It would be good to see more comments which question the content of a post of suggest another viewpoint in a respectful way. I think of it as “polite discourse.”

    There does seem to be almost too much uncritical praise lavished on blog posts. What if we each read a blog or two today and comment that “I see this a little differently… ” or “I agree but I wonder if you’ve considered….” It would be like having coffee at Starbucks with a friend–a discussion of ideaas, not an attack on a person.

  30. “one self-proclaimed “blogging superstar” tried to refute my theories about writing and publishing contemporary fiction by quoting Cervantes, who published his last book in the year 1615″

    I’m not sure which half of that is funnier – the concept of a self-proclaimed superstar or quoting a guy who has been dead for 400 years.

  31. I love all 10! The one about community stands out profoundly.

  32. Daisy says:

    Excellent points! I am also more writer than marketer, which means I need to increase my awarenes and skills of marketing. Does that make sense? Of course it does. In blogging, as in many fields, part of being smart is knowing the areas in which you’re dumb.

  33. Skyler Meine says:

    I thought I would get involved in the community by leaving a comment. Like everything I read from this site.

  34. Interesting, I sort of always knew that this community was awesome. The only thing I have questioned is how difficult it is to actually get your guest post approved :)

  35. Keep writing, I like that. There’s so much to learn here in the blogosphere and it changes all the time too. The main problem with writing for me is that I can’t judge which posts will be a hit with the readers. Many times when I hit publish thinking that’s my best post ever I’m disappointed with the results, then I dash something off fast because I need to get it out there fast and am trying to stop being such a perfectionist and people rave about it!

    I think that’s why some blogs have list of “recommended” posts as well as “popular” posts!

    Thankfully I’ve got over the anal checking and rechecking for typos etc. They slip in even when I’ve pored over a post for hours or not if I’m lucky:)

    Great to have you here Larry, keep telling us your stories:)

  36. How do I become a blog poster on this site. I really love the content here and I would like to contribute.

  37. Marcie Hill says:

    I am so with you on #7! I am working hard to target my audiences for ALL my blogs so I can start turning a profit.

  38. Jay says:

    Here’s one thing that I would love to know… Someone told me that Nginx was much faster than Apache as a web server. To see if this might be a legit option for a WordPress options, my first thought was to check Problogger and see if he used it.

    To my surprise, Problogger does use Nginx instead of Apache. I’m going to try to switch, but I don’t understand how to fix the permalink issues or how to configure things without .htacess files.

  39. susan says:

    Great list! Funny, informative. Love ‘ginormous’! And 3 metaphors in one sentence – impressive! But my favorite is: “You, the blogger and the commenter, put the UNITY into community.”

  40. Dean Saliba says:

    I have learnt so much from this blog in the 18 months I’ve been reading it. Hope to learn so much more in the future. :)

  41. If you like Larry’s post here, check his storyfix.com and subscribe. He runs a great page that threatens real results.

    On the other hand, Darren is getting it done. Do we read problogger because we want to be a pro blogger anymore than we read Larry’s storyfix because we need to fix a story? The short answer to both is yes.

    Darren addresses blog problems; Larry gets to it on structure. At least that’s what I look for. If you still have blog problems and writing structure problems a week after diving into these sites, the problems are elsewhere.

    My problems on deegeesbb.wordpress.com come from all areas. For some that would mean start over, or quit. For me it means I have wide open choices on where to begin fixing things. If only important issues would stop coming up, for example:

    In my home state of Oregon, also Larry’s, PE in school is on the chopping block. This makes me wonder what smart guys like Stephen Hawking and top IQ man Christopher Langan would say. They might say read problogger.com.

  42. One blog really does lead to another & being personal really helps. Though, on the downside, people don’t seem to care about my personal life as much as my professional expertise! :( lol

  43. Bud Bilanich says:

    Glen:
    I tell stories about my personal life — but only when they relate to and reinforce the point I’m making in my blog. I’m willing to be open about my life, but i try to not bore people by writing about me. It’s about them — and their career and life success. If my personal stories of failure and triumph can help, I use them. If not, I don’t.
    Bud Bilanich
    http://www.BudBilanich.com

  44. ck says:

    One thing I’ve learned from problogger’s posting is I still can use those tips even I am not actually trying to make money from my blog. :) And I definitely agree with your number #1.

  45. One thing I’ve learned from Problogger is that you must consistent to get what you expect in the future.

  46. Steve says:

    I especially like number seven, “Know Thy Audience”. Having the continual struggle to keep my focus, I really need to learn this one!

  47. blue2x says:

    Number 1 is very important , thats why I have to reread the articles here over and over again, in 30 days I hope something good happens =)

  48. I agree with you blue2x. If you contribute good content and engage people online you may come up with some pretty good relationships.

  49. One thing I’ve learned from Problogger is that you must consistent to get what you expect in the future.