The Antidote to Information Addiction (AKA Blogger’s Syndrome)

Here’s a couple of simple truths about blogging:

There is no ‘secret’ to the success of your blog.

There’s barely anything new at all to be said or read on the topic of blogging.

Once you’ve got a solid grasp on the fundamentals, it’s all about execution – gathering more and more information ends up being crippling and getting in the way.

Information Overload

As bloggers and business people, our Twitter streams, Google Readers and Facebook News Feeds are likely filled with all kinds of tempting headlines about secrets and methods to success – whether that’s getting subscribers, readers, traffic, you-name-it – there’s a ‘secret’ and a ten-point plan to getting it.

Except there’s really not. When you click on those links, how often do you actually find something new you can use? Personally, I find that to be rare. Yet we keep on clicking. Somewhere in our ‘lizard brain’ (as Seth Godin would say), we are looking for easy & magical answers.  We’re looking for something ‘out there’ which will save us from actually doing the work, and that will have instant and incredible effects.

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Secrets To Writing A Company Blog

*This is a guest post from Steve Mellor, a writer who shares his insights into an effective process for bloggers*

If you’ve been following Lucy’s advice, you should already have your blog online. I’m sure it was as much of an achievement for you as my first site was for me. Now you are tasked with the job of filling it each day. Lets face it, we all have too much to do already. How do you fill your blog?

Before You Begin

There are a few things that you should know before you start blogging. It’s the basic stuff I tell business people who want a website.

  1. You have 8 seconds to grab your reader or they will leave your site.
  2. People don’t care about your company, they just want to solve their problem.

The interesting thing about these two sentences is that acting on the second will negate the first. If you create a blog post that is not focused on your company, but rather what your company can do for your customer, then your readers attention will automatically be grabbed.

With that in mind, lets get to…

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Rule-Breaking Is A Luxury of Success

This week I’ve seen several examples of ‘rule-breaking’ in marketing and social media. Minimalist business writer Everett Bogue has decided to turn off commenting on his popular Far Beyond The Stars blog. John Boitnott writes about how the New York Times breaks every ‘rule’ of Facebook Page management practice but has 700k+ ‘fans’. To top it off,  Seth Godin announced that he’ll no longer be publishing traditional books.

I’m sure there will be, perhaps already has been, backlash and copycats in equal parts.

But what these folks are demonstrating to me is the luxury that success provides. And success can really be defined as having developed an audience that transcends the platform – audience meaning real, product-buying, idea-sharing people – not just numbers of passive ’followers’.

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A Simple Model For Social Media

Here’s a very simple model for thinking about three main social media channels: your blog, Facebook and Twitter.  I should say that this model applies in particular to solopreneurs and small businesses who are still developing their following and trying to use social media to do so. In this model the starting point is simply looking at who the audience is, since that helps determine tone, content and strategy.

The simplest version:

Your blog is for attracting a new audience, and providing value to your existing audience.

Facebook is for communicating with people you know, or at least have ‘weak ties’ with, i.e people that are already in your network.

Twitter is for actively finding and connecting with people outside of your current network.

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I Don’t Want To Blog – Is There Still Hope?!

I find that many people have heard that they ‘should’ have a blog, but worry that they are just not the blogging type, or don’t think they will have anything to say.

Is there still hope without a blog?

I would say ‘yes’. After all, a blog only works if you actually post to it and actively promote it. It’s no silver bullet and it does take time and commitment, and honestly, it’s not for everybody.

One of the main benefits to having a blog is that with well-written and targeted content it can attract search engine traffic quite easily. This is the main benefit you will miss out on by not having a typical, text-based blog. But search engines are not the only source of traffic. So while there are many benefits to having a blog, let’s consider some alternatives.

1) Re-think what a ‘blog’ means

The typical idea of a blog is a text-based site that you update at least once per week and ideally more frequently, with posts of several hundred words. But here are some variations on what a blog can be:

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What A Blog Can Do, And What YOU Have To Do

First the facts:
1) A blog integrated into your business website can help your search engine rankings:
a) Search engines like regularly updated content. Many business sites are informative but not updated very often so are hard to keep at the top of the rankings. Blogs can and should be updated on a regular basis with fresh content.

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