Tuesday, January 27, 2009

72 Ways to Take Your Blog from Anonymous to Award Winning

1. Anytime you share link love, email the person you mentioned in your blog and thank them. They’ll probably find your post through their Google Alerts eventually, but still, a personal note from the actual blogger is always appreciated. It’s also more likely to stimulate word of mouth AND cement a new relationship, since it is grounded in value, respect and connectedness.

2. Ask your readers QUESTIONS. Here’s why: Questions aren’t questions. They’re catapults. That’s the best part. Once they’ve been asked, it’s neurologically impossible for the human brain not to seek answers. And when you change your questions, you change your world. You also change your reader’s worlds.

So: Ask dangerous questions. Ask disturbing questions. Ask dumb questions. Ask killer questions. Ask ouch questions. Ask penetrating questions. Ask upside-down questions. Ask soul-shaking questions.

When you do this, when you enhance your Questioning Practice, you stretch your (and your reader’s) mind into unexpected, unencumbered territory, surpassing that threshold level of understanding that so desperately tries to hold you back. What questions are you asking that the other 300 million bloggers out there AREN’T asking?

3. Use lists. Here's a helpful list on how to use them.

4. Vonnegut was right. Be a great date for your reader.

5. BE HONEST: Would YOU read your blog every day?

6. Brainstorm. What have you accomplished that people would not only respect, but also desire to learn and utilize to gain the same benefits for their company? Blog about that.

7. But, don’t ask too many questions. This is a seductive writing trap that’s easy to fall into. And the challenge is, without context, without meat and without solid content to support your questions, you look like an amateur writer who couldn’t think of anything good or original to say, so he just decided to ask a bunch of questions.

8. Close each post with a Call To Action or Response Mechanism. If you don’t know what that is, wait until the end of this post. You'll see what I mean.

9. Compile a Post Cue or Editorial Calendar in your Content Management System. This prevents you from throwing together some half-assed post last minute. I suggest staying at least two weeks – approximately 10 posts – ahead. (Wait. You DO have a Content Management System, right? If not, email me immediately.)

10. Create a writing schedule. This practice will force you NOT to rely on inspiration.

11. Don’t “use humor.” It won’t come out funny. Any over determined action produces its exact opposite, says The Tao De Ching. Just be funny. Allow your natural hilariousness to shine.

12. Remember: Don’t make your readers do your job for you.

13. Get Meebo. Coolest thing ever.

14. Secret: Give people ideas they can implement TODAY.

15. Give people the meat. If they wanted fluff, they would have taken their kid to Build-A-Bear.

16. Horn Tooting. Higher quality content earns you the right to be a little more self-promotional.

17. Ideally, your blog and your website should be the same thing. If I had to do it over, I would have designed it that way. However, if that’s not a possibility, no worries. Here’s what you do. Make sure your blog has a few static pages built in about you, your products and services and your philosophy.

If your blog host doesn’t allow that, just make your static pages actual blog posts with the comments turned off. Cool little trick. Click on the “Meet Scott” at the top of this blog tab for a perfect example.

18. Identify your TRUE expertise and inventory your negotiable personal assets. Then blog about that.

19. Imagine someone was going to pay you $1000 an hour to rent your brain. What questions would they have to ask you to get their money’s worth? Blog about that.

20. It’s not just about the experiences you’ve had. It’s not just about the lessons learned FROM those experiences. It’s the direct and practical application OF those experiences to the daily lives of your readers, hopefully having something to do with making more money.

21. Read the best Just read Seth Godin’s blog and Brian Clark’s blog everyday. Do what they say, do what they do. Learning from the best increases the chances that you will become the best.

22. Make a list of what do you do that people are eager to pay money for. Then blog about that.

23. WOM. Make it easy for people to share your blog using social bookmarking composite tags, i.e., “Share This" at the end of this post.

24. Make your own words up. Here’s a fun experiment: Go into the preferences section of Microsoft Word and click on “Custom Dictionary.” Then, click on “Edit.” It will formulate a list of every word you’ve right-clicked on and added to the dictionary while writing. You’ll be able to go back in time and see what terms you invented. Then, write out their definitions. Then blog about that.

25. Make your readers stop, nod, gasp and say, “Wow.” A powerful example is a question like, “What are you doing that makes absolutely NO sense?”

26. Be BEAUTIFUL. If it were physically possible to make sweet love to my own blog, I would do it. (Hell, I would even cuddle afterwards.) Anyway, before I get too graphic, here’s my point: Hire a professional blog designer. Don’t download one of those crappy templates from Blogger.com. DEFINITELY don’t try to do it yourself. And certainly don’t commission your sixteen year-old to whip it up on Photoshop during study hall when he should be reviewing for his calculus final.

Call Lucia Mancuso at The Blog Studio at 1-800-SEXY BLOG. (Just kidding. It's 647-428-7038.) Tell her The Nametag Guy sent you, and I guarantee your blog will become gorgeous. NOTE: I receive no affiliate commissions or referral fees for this recommendation. I just think The Blog Studio rocks. And my blog won an award for a “Top 100 Business Blog on the Web” within three months of implementing their new design. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

27. Nobody cares what you’ve done. They only what you’ve learned. Is that what you’re blogging about?

28. Remember Seth's Tip: Notice things and give them names.

29. Also: Pick a lane; take a side.

30. Picture the people who would give their right arm to acquire the valuable expertise you now realize you possess. Then email them every once in a while to tell them you were thinking of them when you published a specific post.

31. Post every single day. If you’re on vacation or sick, have about a dozen posts ready to go in case of emergency. Most blog platforms have future-posting capabilities.

32. Purchase URL’s for specific blog posts. For example, I have a series of articles called, “Attributes of Approachable Leaders.” So, I bought the domain www.approachableleaders.com and now redirect it to the post series.

This makes it easier to share the entire sequence with my readers. Plus, this strategy enables me bookmark key topic ideas for future products and protects my copyright, as trademark is a function of usage.

So for now, The Approachable Leader is just a series of blog posts. I’m sure it will become a book (er, “blook”) eventually. Either way, it’s still MINE. Remember: He who owns the domain owns the idea.

33. Recall what it is everybody is always asking you about. Then blog about that.

34. Remember the headline of this very blog post? Re-read it. Ask yourself what drew you to it. Then replicate that persuasiveness in your own posts.

35. REMEMBER: Nobody cares about you. And I don’t mean that literally. What I mean is, people don’t care how good you are; they care how good you’re going to help them become.

People don’t care what you do for a living; they care what you’re passionate about. People don’t care if you’re having a bad day; they care how you’re going to help them have a better day.

And lastly, people don’t care about your company, they care about the problems your company can solve. Got it?

36. Select either a Niche Topic or Niche Market. Generalism will only succeed if you are (1) really, really good, (2) really, really smart, or (3) have a really, really huge following.

37. Share link love in every post. But don’t overdo it. A confused mind never buys.

38. Sit down and physically write out your answer(s) the question: “If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?” Once you’ve got 5-7 answers, consider that to be a framework of your personal philosophy. Then, every day when you post, all you have to do is ask this follow-up question:

“Is what I’m blogging about right now giving my readers the tools they need to BUILD that world?” If it’s not, trash it. Simple as that.

39. Comments. Some blogs don’t allow comments from readers unless they’re registered users. I think this is a stupid strategy. So you get a few spam comments. Who cares? Community is more important. Dialogue is more valuable.

40. Some blogs require readers to subscribe before they’re able to read full posts. I think this is also a dumb, fan-alienating strategy. If you’re good, they’ll be back. If you’re really good, they’ll be back with their friends. If you’re really, REALLY good, they’ll be back with their friends and their wallets.

41. Stop quoting Einstein, Rumi, Jesus and Seneca. Quote YOU. If you want to position yourself as a Thought Leader, you need to quote yourself, or else nobody else will.

42. Relevancy. Sure, nobody cares about your dog, but they MIGHT care about the 47 lessons your dog taught you about customer service. Remember: Meat. Content. Guts. Lists. Lessons.

43. Relevancy again. Sure, nobody cares about your dog, but they MIGHT care about the blog your dog writes every day. Make it funny and cool and use great pictures. Create a personality and writing voice for your pet. Wiggle over to www.paisleyblog.com for an example. Yes, my dog has a blog. Why don't you?

44. The attention span of a human being is about six seconds. If you do the math, that comes out to reading four lines of written text. So, unless you want to bore your readers and risk them tuning you out like a Tony Little infomercial, remember two words: LINE BREAKS. Understand The Caveman Principle.

45. Remember: Teach people the secret to something.

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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