Good Blogging Advice

This site is all about bad blogging advice. But… what if you’re looking for good blogging advice instead?

OK. I’ll be straight with you. But only this once.

I started this blog for one reason: I got bored one morning and didn’t feel like doing my actual work.

Also, there’s a lot of really crappy advice about blogging out there, and I think it’s annoying.

So, I started to make fun of some of the dumb advice I’ve seen people WannabeGurus™ regurgitate on their blogs-about-blogging. And on accident, I may have accidentally made a good blog. Accidentally!

Also, highly debatable.

Anyway, here’s some good blogging advice.

Be unique.

Go to Starbucks right now. OK, good. You’re already there. Now walk up to anyone sitting with a Macbook Air and ask them what their blog is about.

At least 25% of them will say something like, “Oh, I write about lifestyle design/being a digital nomad/traveling/entrepreneurship.” Some of them will actually say all of that, verbatim, including the slashes.

Then you say, “Yeah, lifestyle design, I think I’ve read your blog before.”

That’s it. Try to keep a straight face. Don’t say anything else. Just walk away and drink your pumpkin latte in peace.

Ok, sorry to everyone in the lifestyle design crowd. I don’t mean to make fun of you, but you have to admit that there are too many people talking about the same thing in the same way.

Here’s one way to look at this whole “be unique” thing… how many competitors do you want to have?

Having less competition means your idea can stand out more easily. So, whatever it is you’re writing about, take a unique spin on it. Think your topic is played out? It isn’t.

Like, if you wanted to, I dunno, blog about blogging, you could either compete with a trillion other people with the same idea, or you could use satire and humor to connect with your audience. Maybe call it Bad Blogging Advice, and make it like the Colbert Report of blogging-about-blogging.

Damn, that’s a good idea.

And it’s all mine. #boom

Be honest and vulnerable.

I struggle to be vulnerable and honest when I write. (See what I did there?)

It’s hard to be vulnerable–it takes courage. But it makes a huge difference. People can tell when you’re being real and when you’re holding back, or when you’re trying to be someone else.

Blogging is a great way to build a brand. And a brand is just a fancy word for a relationship and a connection between you and the people who read your shit. And just like any relationship, honesty just works best. No one wants to hang out with the guy who acts like he knows it all, or the lady who insists (just a little too often) that her life is perfect. No one is buying it.

Your readers aren’t perfect. That means they can’t learn from you if you act like you’re perfect. So, cut the BS and be real with people. That lady from the TED Talk says it’ll make you more likable anyway.

Take people on a journey.

Ok, this is a little bit complicated, but I think it’s important.

I think the best blogs are about going on a journey of some kind.

It could be a journey about getting fit, or building a business, or learning a language, or it could be a literal journey.

This is important because it helps people understand the role your blog is going to play in their life. If you want people to follow you, they need to understand how you’re going to help them, or what you’re going to help them achieve. Keep this in mind when you structure your content and your topic.

I like to use the example of The Hero’s Journey, which has five basic parts.

  1. You want to do something.
  2. You try.
  3. You struggle.
  4. You try again, except better/smarter/harder.
  5. You succeed.

That’s what you should be doing, and what you should be helping other people do. It takes time to figure out the best way to do that, but if you can take people on a journey, you can have a big impact on their lives. Especially if you’re willing to…

Be a leader.

This goes along with the idea of taking people on a journey, and I’m only mentioning it because I think a lot of people get the meaning of this wrong.

Being a leader doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It just means you’re going first. That’s it.

It’s not about succeeding first, just starting first.

In fact, it’s better for you to struggle than to succeed right away. Because success doesn’t teach you near as much as struggle. If you try something, and struggle with a hundred different obstacles, then you’ve got a hundred things you can help your audience with. Share your struggles, be vulnerable and honest and you can lead people on their own hero’s journey.

Be helpful.

Want to get paid? Be helpful.

I stole this advice from Chris Sacca. He’s a lot smarter than me, and the proof is in how my life changed when I started trying to be helpful above all else.

People hired me and paid me good money for good advice. People subscribed to my writing. People told their friends and colleagues to do both of those things, and I accidentally built a successful consulting business. Just by being helpful.

It sounds a little cheesy, but all the best things do. Right? Maybe.

Be passionate about what you’re doing.

This is cliche advice, but I think it gets underestimated. Passion matters, a lot. Here’s why:

  1. You can’t ask someone to care about what you’re doing unless you do. It goes back to the whole honesty thing. If you don’t care about what you’re doing, you’ll never be able to fake it well enough to convince your audience.
  2. You’re going to want to quit, and passion might just stop you. Blogging can be hard. Whatever your goals are, it’s going to take you longer than you think it will to meet them. So, you’ll probably want to quit every once in a while. Quitting hard things is rational. There’s no shame in it. But there’s also no success in it. So, being irrational can pay off. That’s what love and passion is for, so you can irrationally go through the hard times and make it to the good times. The reward is worth it.
  3. Bonus reason: I think excitement is infectious. We’re social creatures. Tell me you care, and I will too.

Don’t give up.

I already mentioned this, but seriously… don’t do it.

If you follow this advice, failing is actually pretty hard, but that doesn’t mean success will happen overnight. Just keep going, like every successful person in history.

Want more good blogging advice?

Spoiler alert: sales pitch ahead!

Actually, that sounds lame. But here’s the deal. I took a course on blogging once. It was really helpful, really actionable, and inexpensive. Basically the trifecta of value. If you want to start a blog, it’s easily worth your money. Scary, right?

I also know the guy who created it. He’s a friend. He’s also really modest, and probably wouldn’t admit to knowing more about building a successful blog than just about anyone else. Anyway, check it out if you want to build a blog that matters.

Sorry for all that good advice. I promise we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled bad blogging advice asap.

OK, OK… Ready for some GOOD blogging advice instead?

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