If you are taking the time to stop by and read this, then chances are you are a blogger.
Blog, blahg, blogging, those are funny words indeed. To us on the inside, quite commonplace; to all others, it can elicit all kind of reactions and responses.
How do you respond when somebody from the outside remarks ‘I heard you were a blogger?’
If you are obscure and revel only in the perceived semi-anonymity of social media and most in the outside world have no clue what you do; it can be akin to a remark like ‘I heard you were gay.’
Certainly nothing wrong with either, but were you quite ready to tell the whole world? Do you feel like thumping your chest or do you stammer and come up with excuses and act like it is no big deal?
Were you prepared for the traffic?
When you finally had the courage to write a post and after proof-reading it 173 times, did you expect a tidal wave of visitors and comments when you hesitantly hit publish for the first time?
Or did you expect nobody to show up?
Or somewhere in between?
It was still somewhat exhilarating hitting the publish button though, wasn’t it?
When you decide to jump in social just because everybody seems to be talking about it and you certainly don’t want to be left behind; there is probably an observation phase, just so you can see what this is all about.
You see all the activity, so it might be easy to think blogging could be the road to recognition, popularity and riches. Once in you typically go two ways: 1) build the perfect blog site with all the bells and whistles and make it look all pretty, and then try to write something epic; or 2) wade in slowly and see what’s going on before you dip your toe in the water.
The water can be cold…..and deep too…..
The reality? You might have the best looking clothes at the party, but if nobody knows you, you will probably end up blending in with the wallpaper.
But, I’m all about business
Good, more power too you. But it’s like joining your Chamber of Commerce and expecting people to just show up at your door without doing anything else but becoming a member.
I know nothing about you so why should I put any credence in what you have to say or sell?
When you finally come to a Chamber social, just don’t be that creepy guy handing out all your business cards to everybody who walks through the door.
Establish your credibility first
Depending on what your expectations are, there are many different ways to measure social success.
Because I am a pretty simple guy, for me it was not only comments, but the type of conversation that went along with those comments as well.
In my day job, I do a lot of networking. I viewed social online as an extension of this, so actually I found it pretty easy to pull off.
Whereas I will likely seek you out at a networking event, what I won’t be doing is trying to sell you on anything but myself. I will open the door and provide an opportunity for us to get to know each other, nothing more, nothing less.
If you ask, I will give you my 30-second commercial; but chances are I will be asking most of the questions.
To me, this approach allows you to form your own opinions of what type a person I am, what I am all about, and if you think I’m credible or not.
Even though people think they have this cloak of semi-anonymity online in social, why would you want to act any differently in here than you would if we were to meet in person?
My secret sauce
Normally I would charge a lot of money to provide this advice.
The reality is, if you re-read the above 3 paragraphs, that’s all I have; that’s all it took for me.
However, if you want more details, I will share with you what has worked on my journey if you think it will be beneficial. It might not work for everyone depending on what your mission is, but for me, I know it starts with people first….always, regardless of what you are trying to do.
If you take the time to develop the relationship and get to know the people, then great things can be done.
What is twitter?
When I started, I kicked around in twitter for about 6 months following athletes and celebrities and quite frankly it was boring and it sucked. It was one-way communication and I just didn’t see the point.
By purely a fluke, I re-tweeted a post from a local person I followed who was heavily into social and taught PR at the local college. Also linked and mentioned in this tweet was none other than Gini Dietrich.
I didn’t know Gini Dietrich from Gini Bobini, but when I re-tweeted the tweet she was mentioned on, for some silly reason she started following me.
Wow, a real person who I didn’t know wanted to follow me on twitter.
I followed back and checked out her site. Unbeknownst to me, she had a fairly popular blog and there were all kinds of people engaging in conversation there.
Not knowing any better, I jumped right in and left a silly comment. Guess what? She responded back………wow again, someone is actually talking to me in social.
Blogs are where it’s at
Discovering her blog and then seeing the engagement with the visitors who also had blogs as well; I started visiting other sites and leaving my comments there too.
Because Gini had a good mix of the right kind of people, it didn’t take me long to be recognized.
It was hit or miss with some of the blogs I visited because some were more socially oriented than others; but by being consistent and visible it did not take long for people to form an opinion as to what type of person I was, what I am all about, and if you think I’m credible or not.
- Step 1 – take the time to meet the people and form relationships first; get a good feel of what crowds you want to hang with. I would sprinkle a few ‘A’ listers (Danny Brown was very generous too) but if you want real engagement, drop down a notch to other bloggers like yourself who appreciate the attention.
Invest your time here first and it will be time well spent.
I am a blogger
Because I was starting to be seen everywhere and was personable, courteous and somewhat witty with my replies; people started to encourage me to start my own blog.
I thought ‘why not’ and with a free WordPress account it was extremely easy to jump in.
To give you an indication of what my expectations were, I came out of the chute as the Invisible Blogger because I thought no one would show up.
- Step 2 – link your blog to the comments you leave. Make it easy for people to come to your place.
To my surprise, people started to show up but I have to believe it was because of the time I spent with Step 1. I was even highlighted in a post by Ari Herzog and quite truthfully it scared the daylights out of me, because I would have felt bad for Ari if nobody showed up.
Thankfully he didn’t have to hear crickets, but it validated laying a good foundation first.
I don’t have time to be social
Trying to make money online is just as hard trying to make it in the real world. If you are using blogging as a means to generate revenue, then you probably don’t have time to just hang around the blogs and be social all day.
However, if you are using a blog as a platform so people will get to know you, it will be to your advantage to take the time to develop the relationships first; regardless of your mission.
- Step 3 – temper your expectations of making gazillions of dollars online and be willing to give much more than you receive. You will be paid back many times over.
That’s it, that’s all I have
What I didn’t get into was SEO, measurement, linkbait, keywords, etc.
Why, because I don’t use any of it; essentially what works for me is just showing up.
However, that’s not to say the tools at your disposal shouldn’t be used; I just know what I described above has worked pretty well for me and if that looks like success to you, then feel free to copy it.
Good luck in your journey.