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What Do Fishing and Blogging Have in Common?

This guest post is by by Kevin Cullis of MacStartup.com.

“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” —Benjamin Franklin

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime; sell him fishing supplies and a fishing guide and you’ve got a business.

Most of us start a blog with not much thought other than just to begin writing. But at some point you say: “I’m putting in all of this time into my blog, how do I make money from it?”

There are two parts to any business, including blogging: there’s the craft of your business (graphic art, doctor, lawyer, blogging), then there’s the business of your craft (making a profit from your craft).

Starting a blog first requires answering three main questions:

  1. Why are you writing a blog, what is your purpose for writing?
  2. How will you get it done, what specific actions will get you the results you want?
  3. What will be your expected results of writing your blog?

So what do blogging and fishing have in common? Let’s take a quick look at points 1 and 3, and a longer look at 2.

Question 1: Why?

Ask anybody if they’ve been fishing, and most people will say “yes.” However, when asked, “what are the steps to take to go fishing?” most people are stumped.

Blogging is no different. While you can start a blog and begin writing posts, it’s much like casting your fishing line in the nearest puddle, pond, or stream with no fishing lure, bait on your hook—or even a hook. You need a good reason to be out there.

Question 3: What?

If you’re fishing for fun or the love of fishing, that’s one thing: grab some fishing equipment and hang the “gone fishing” sign up. If you’re fishing because you’re hungry, this takes on a whole new perspective and you’ll hopefully put in some serious thought, or search for answers to help get food onto your kitchen table.

Getting results happens in two ways:

  1. taking action and learning from your mistakes and finding out what is the better way to get results, or
  2. learn from others and their mistakes, thus cutting down the time it takes to get the results you want.

Question 2: How?

Learning the how means having the right answers, and implementing them in the right sequence, to increase your chances of catching your fish (writing your blog). Even then, there are no guarantees. So here are those steps to a more successful blog (and catching fish):

  • Step 1: Who is your ideal customer/blog reader? Describe who your ideal customers are, and in some detail. You have to know the “fish” that you are fishing for, whether that ideal fish is salmon, tuna, or rainbow trout. If money is no object, you can pay the money to travel to Alaska and begin fishing for salmon. However, most of us don’t have that kind of budget, so we grab a fishing pole and head to the nearest fishing hole to cast a line out. Blogging is no different in that you need to know who your audience is and have a small enough niche to become the expert that everyone goes to.
  • Step 2: What problem does your solution/blog solve? What is your audience looking for? What is their ideal solution? In other words, what are your “fish” hungry for? What a salmon eats depends on age, species, and location, and fishing is about finding the right four or five baits or lures that work to increase your chances of catching salmon. Blogging means providing answers your audience is looking for. You can write blogs and guest blogs all day long with no focus, but you’ll go business- or results-hungry if you don’t watch the results of your blog and make the necessary changes. Sometimes blogging, much like fishing, requires trial and error to become successful. I blogged about how to create initial and drop caps in iWork Pages for my book because I worked out the solution, and within weeks it became one of my top viewed posts. If you don’t cast the line, you’ll never get a “bite.” Keep testing and changing to get results you want.
  • Step 3: Where are your customers/readers? Where do they visit, hang out, and connect with other readers of their tribe of offline and/or online connections? You have to know where are the ideal locations or “awesome fishing spots” for your customers/readers. Try fishing for salmon in the backwoods of Kentucky and you’ll go hungry. Write a guest post about Typepad for a WordPress web site and you’ll be rejected because it may not connect with their readers. So, fish where your ideal fish are.
  • Step 4: Why would your customer choose your product/blog over a similar one? What makes your product different, better, or makes it stand out? Choose the best “bait” at your local fishing store or what’s in your tackle box that works for salmon. Your blog “bait” is having an ideal message for ideal reader’s problem. What are the differentiating benefits of your blog from others? What’s your hook?
  • Step 5: How do your customers make buying decisions about your product? What makes them tick about how they choose your product? You have to have the ideal technique to lure your “fish.” Just plopping the hook into the water may not attract a fish. It takes a different technique to “hook” each type of fish. Blogging is no different in that your audience is different from those that read books or magazines. Google Analytics gives you the advantage to change your content overnight to meet your audience’s “starving” needs.
  • Step 6: When is the best time to promote your product to your customer? How often do you have to talk to your customer to get them to consider and then buy your product? You have to know the ideal time to “cast” your line to “hook” your fish. Fish have specific times they feed, which is no different to marketing during holidays, birthdays, or special events like weddings. In this case, as with most any audience or customer, you need to cast your line when they are ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell. The great thing about blogs is the internet guest blog “chum” you can spread around the internet “waters.” Then upload a relevant post (casting your line and lure) and watch the “chum” guest post lead traffic to your blog site.

These six W’s—really five W’s and one H—are the basis for creating a successful blog. While it is easy to “spray and pray” your blog’s content with the hope of being successful, it’s better to watch your post results to see where your “hungry” blog reader’s are taking you. If you get a blog post comment nibble, “Hook ‘em, Dano!”

Kevin Cullis is a former US Air Force officer and considers himself an Entrepreneur, Mac Evangelist, Business Geek, Husband, published author of a Mac business book, readaholic, analytical, balding. He is the founder of MacStartup.com.

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Comments

  1. Ben says:

    Nicely written article, Kevin . You make a good point about the differences between fishing for fun or for food. It matters a lot in the approaches you take and the results you will get. Of course, it’s rare that success happens in either disciplines if there’s not some element of passion driving what you do. I’ve certainly been outfished before by people who were just ‘there for the beer’ =)

  2. Chris Monty says:

    I thought it was that they both involve sitting on your butt for long periods of time. :)

  3. Thanks for that post! I needed to hear some of that…

  4. Sailor says:

    I think this is an interesting perspective of Blogging. I never thought about the similarities.

  5. robert ivan says:

    As someone who blogs about fishing, I found this article particularly poignant. Step 4 in particular is important and a good analogy of going through all the different lure styles and colors until a successful one is discovered.

    There are millions of blogs, lots of poor fishing blogs and not many advertisers willing to pay to advertise on fishing blogs. I pay extremely close attention to what articles or features are driving traffic, pageviews and bounces on my blog and I try and exploit those opportunities until the outcome changes.

    I do the same thing with giveaways, contests and local advertising. I go through my tacklebox and take note (literally) of what’s working and when and I refer back to these notes again and again.

    Good article. thanks.

  6. Glo-w says:

    I love the idea that every post has a purpose unto others other than self indulging ^^

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      You can plop a fishing line in the water if you want, but if you have no hook or bait, it really is for the beer fishing that people might do that. Thanks for the comment. It’s about having a conversation.

  7. sokun says:

    To me fishing is fun but blogging can be boring.

  8. Rison Simon says:

    I think a blogger can learn values from every person he look at, and not just a fisherman. The key difference between a good blogger and an excellent blogger is the ability to learn from everyone.

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      Righteo Rison, but how many actually take the time to watch others in other industries? It’s learning AND applying, otherwise, what’s the sense of learning? Thanks.

      KC

  9. It takes some time to get noticed in the blogosphere these days. I believe if we stay consistent and focused we can achieve our goals.

    I see too many bloggers give up, stop, start again and so on. I would not be interested in dealing with or doing business with these bloggers.

  10. J.D. Meier says:

    Beautiful frame for breaking things down and making things happen.

    It’s a nice blend of strategy + tactics.

    Interestingly, “The Golden Circle”, an executive tool, or a tool for anyone really, is about starting with your “Why.” It’s about thinking, acting, and communicating from the inside out. It’s arranged like so:
    - Why (inner most circle)
    - How (wraps the why)
    - What (wraps the how)

    A common question is why is it Why, How, What vs. Why, What, How. The answer is simple. If you drive from your “why,” and play to your “how”, you can take on any “what”, and play your best game, wherever you go.

    It’s all about being who you want to be and creating the experiences you want to create, expressing your personal best from the inside out.

  11. hashif says:

    Really Enjoyed reading your post…The comparison between fishing and Blogging is really useful.keep it up..

  12. Ray says:

    Mastering either fishing or blogging is another story. Both sound fairly easy. How hard can fishing be toss your line in the water and pull in the big fish. Blogging type up useful content and watch your audience grow. Well I think both fishing and blogging is more difficult than it appears. Like anything it takes practice and trial and error to learn and become good at it.

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      Sometimes with fishing it can be easy as dunking in your hook with some bait and catching something, probably younger fish. Other times, not so easy and takes more work and trial and error to hook “the big one.” Thanks for your comment.

  13. I really need to know about blogging, How to create a real and useful blog to the people? I also wrote some blog which might be useful for the people who need the details from my blog. I want to say thanks to you because I learned a lot from you about blogging.

  14. I love how the author brought out the difference between wanting to do this (blog or fish) for a hobby versus because you are hungry. Can make a big difference in how you tackle it overall.
    Great post!
    Bernice
    Creating our perfect path

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      And then there’s the in between, not hungry at the moment but will eat for a meal later on. I had a good friend pass away that LOVED fishing and every fews years went to Canada to fish with his brothers. They went to far into the mountains that they had to be flown in. The fish were so big.

      What they did was create a catch box that kept them alive in the same lake after they caught them. After they had prepared the fire and fixings for cooking them, they killed and filleted the fish, cooked them, and ate them. That’s how FRESH these fish were. He said later he has NEVER tasted fish sooooo goooood, ever.

      So even AFTER you catch the fish can make a difference, but that’s another blog post. :-)

      Kevin

  15. Lisa Wood says:

    I so love blogging – its my all time passion! I love the idea of Hook, Line, Sinker to get the audience to read what they are looking for. That totally makes sense! Love your information about what do fishing and blogging have in common.

    Cheers
    Lisa

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      Thanks Lisa. It seems that based on what content has been written about I have touched a nerve about future blogging content from this one. :-)

      Kevin

  16. Blogging and fishing?! I’ve heard it all now.

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      And what is interesting, is I don’t fish, or at least, it’s not a hobby or I have many friends that do it. But I learned from my friend who does. But pick another industry, you’ll find similar issues.

  17. Comments are almost as interesting as your article! You’re right about the similarities to a variety of industries, but for myself I have always felt blogging is a bit like golf. You have to focus, be consistent and practice, practice, practice – cause if you don’t keep all those balls in the air for sure just as you finally get your short game where you want it, your drive goes all to hell …

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      Marquita, 100% agreed. You can apply it to working out, if I only work on my arms and never touch my legs and abs, I’ll be all top heavy looking like a crab. :-)

      It’s the total picture of a system.

      Kevin

  18. Razor says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I’ve started a number of blogs but always end up running out of steam. Your fishing tips are now bookmarked for future reference to over come writers block

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      Razor, as I was writing my book my first writing coach said I needed to “puke out” my first draft. Many a days I would end up with the “dry heaves” and have not much to write about. But for me I found that reading something around what I was writing fed my brain some and got me back in the groove again. If you “run out of bait,” you need to find some more.

  19. Justin Dupre says:

    This is a great post that should be read by aspiring bloggers or even those that are into blogging..

  20. These are interesting points you’ve laid out. Focus plays a key factor to both and is a deciding factor to its success.

  21. Richard Ng says:

    Nice analogy, eventhough I am not that much into fishing but I can see the similarity here!

    Thanks for the sharing, Kevin.

    Cheers!

  22. Henry Louis says:

    I would like to appreciate Kevin for making a post worth interesting & reading. I appreciate the fishing concept being used to explain how efficiently blogging can be done. Thanks.

  23. BMilneSLO says:

    Great post, KC. The title “hooked” me for sure. If there’s one thing I enjoy more than blogging, it’s fishing. And I’m lucky enough to be able to blog about fishing, and other sports categories I enjoy.

    RE: How often do you have to talk to your customer to get them to consider and then buy your product? You have to know the ideal time to “cast” your line to “hook” your fish.

    Listening to @BlogcastFM last night, @SocialMediaExaminer had an interesting take on when to reach out to your customer. Their approach was to pull the plug on almost all marketing messages in their content, only offering up free resources and assets that they feel add value to the community it serves. And it’s working out extremely well for them. I don’t know their community very well, but I I thought it was an interesting approach.

    http://blogcastfm.com/blogger-interviews/michael-stelzner-social-media-examiner/

    For our communities, @BlogHyped and @BallHyped, because they’re made up of bloggers, we tend to cut back on the marketing messages as well and try our best to offer up resourceful assets such as blogging guides, best blogs of the year books, etc.

    Would be interested in your take on how much is too much in terms of the marketing messaging on your blog.

    • Kevin Cullis says:

      Thanks for your great comments. You based it on the reaction of your “fish,” if none are biting you need to look at your methods and find out where is you’re “hooked up” in what you do. I use a simple 80/20 rule, 80% of the time I say nothing, the other 20% I say something about “sales.” But then again, I don’t give everything away as my products go further than what I give away. I give “samples” of my work, but not the whole shebang.

      Make sense?

      Thanks for commenting.

      Kevin

  24. “These six W’s—really five W’s and one H—are the basis for creating a successful blog.”

    Thanks for this helpful post, especially for those people like me who are new to the blogging world, and like on fishing, we just like to catch some fish, without any direction or step on how to catch one. Very educational and helpful tips, eh. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Evaluated experience is what helps us. The mistakes that others made ​​and help them achieve their success, is the example that we must take.

    blogging is very difficult at first, but then learn to fish and you have enough to even have a seafood buffet.

    magnificent and genuine congratulations on this website

    pardon my English I’m learning

    Jonas

    hugs from mexico

  26. sudha says:

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime; sell him fishing supplies and a fishing guide and you’ve got a business.