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Understanding Your U.S.P. As a Blogger



question markEver wake up and wonder why you’re here?  Not as a reader — we all know why we come to, it’s for the content — but as a writer.  Ever faced that empty little window in WordPress and wondered the same thing for your blog?

I do that each time I sit down to write this post.  Every Thursday, in fact.  Why?  Because the rest of you intimidate the hell out of me.  You really do.  What, I ask my insecure self, do I possibly have to offer these folks who know so much more about the ins-and-outs of blogging than I do?

I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I realize I do indeed have something to offer.  And it has nothing at all to do with WordPress.  It has to do with words.

What don’t I know? Let me count the ways…

Allow me to begin with what I don’t know here in this realm, where I am as green behind the ears as a Star Trek extra .  The list, the source of my insecurity, is long.

I don’t know what headines such as “Blogging on Android With WPTOGO” means.  I don’t know what a “tiny URL” is.  To me, 404 is the number that follows 403, and products like Brizzly and Yonkly and Regator might as well be items on a Seneglese deli menu. 

I’m a writer.  I’m tempted to say just a writer, but that’s actually my point today.  Maybe being just a writer is enough.  My hormones perk up with the new Dan Brown novel rather than the next release of… well, I don’t even know what witty techno-lingo ditty to use to complete that sentence in a hip way.

That’s all I have to work with.  And all of us have to start with something to offer if we want our blogs to actually go somewhere.

So why am I here again?

Because, like I said, I write.  I’m a tried and true, proven and crusty beneath all that green behind my ears writer of all kinds of things, including blogs.  And as such, and in spite of my techno-cluenessness, they tell me my new blog site — more of an instructional writing resource, actually — is taking off like a literary rocket.

I don’t offer that in an attempt to get you to go there.  Unless you’re interested in writing novels and screenplays, it may not be your thing.  I offer it to illustrate the inside-out nature of successful blogging — it’s what we bring from the inside that results in an outward growth in metrics.

Is 500 subscribers in the first two months good?  To be honest, I have nothing to compare it to.  But I’m told, and usually with an eye-rolling grin, that yeah, that’s pretty darn good.  My site should be well beyond 1000 subscriptions by year-end, with the potential of 3000 or more by the end of 2010 at this rate, after 18 months.

That feels pretty good, even to me.  And yet I continue to ask myself, why am I here?

As bloggers, we should all ask ourselves that question.  Because our hope resides in the answer.  And when we consider the concept of hope, we must look in the mirror and ask what this is all about.

The One and Only Formula That Works

So if a completely lame web rookie like me can create a blog from scratch and sniff out 500 loyal subscribers in two months, and actually be generating positive cash flow from from it when everyone said that would require two years, what does that mean

It means it validates what those who really know about blogging are telling those of us who don’t.  What they say, combined with our personal little slice of content expertise, is all we have to go on.

Great content works.  Stuff that cuts to the heart of what readers need to hear to further their objectives.  Not ours, theirs.

Great context works.  By context, I mean describing the next whiz-bang killer app in terms that lead toward benefits rather than the wondrous intricasies of technical architecture.

Audience empathy works.  Frankly — perhaps too frankly for this venue — I don’t make it to second base with a lot of these technical posts because the author assumes the reader occupies a nearby seat on the learning curve .  We need to break it down, not dumb it down, so that the content is useful and accessible to all.

And finally, lively, rich and passionate writing works.  Writing that illuminates the author’s humanity and vulnerability while leveraging an inherent crediblity that is more obvious than overt.

So My Message Today is Simple

Blog like a writer, not like a software engineer or an internet entrepreneur with an agenda.  Subordinate your goals and your business identity to the craft of putting your reader before yourself, and in a way that empowers.  And nothing empowers like rich and selfless content conveyed with a little spice.

That’s why I’m here today, and every Thursday.  Even if I’ve put too much self into this one.  In between posts I’ll keep reading and soaking up the greater wisdom of my peers , and I”ll use what I learn to empower my own blog toward greater reader friendliness and content richness.

The more we know, the better for us.  The better the manner in which we share what we know, the better for everyone.

If I can realize even the smallest contribution on the writing front, if only by example, then perhaps I won’t have to wonder what I’m doing here after all.  Because that’s my U.S.P.  — Unique Selling Proposition — as a writer and as a blogger. 

And, because most of what we know is rarely unique, our U.S.P. is really all that we have in the long run.

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4 Ways to Become More Detached from Blogging Outcomes



See that throwback featured image of me in Phuket, Thailand?

I became a globe trotting pro blogger in part through the power of detachment.

Blogging outcomes weigh you down and slow your blogging growth, if you are not careful.

Many bloggers mean well but are so obsessed with every view, Like, comment, share and dollar that they either struggle horribly or hold back stunning blogging success. How could I write over 100 eBooks if I obsessed with sales from my first eBook? How could I write 600 posts on Blogging Tips alone if I obsessed over metrics?

Eye-popping success finds largely detached, generous bloggers.

Follow these tips to become more detached from blogging outcomes.

1: Help More Ask Less

If you want blog comments, comment on other blogs.

Want blog traffic? Promote other bloggers.

Help bloggers to detach from your needs and to see greater success. Ask less and less for shares, comments and views, to detach from outcomes. Success finds generous bloggers.

2: Mention 2-5 Successful Bloggers Via All Posts

I recall focusing heavily on blogging profits early during my career. I linked to an ad or affiliate product once per post and linked to nothing else, obsessing over sales, attaching to outcomes. I gradually promoted other bloggers over years. Now I promote 2 to 5 bloggers virtually every post. I think more of helping them and less of helping me.

Corey Hinde promoted me tirelessly over years. He mentions me regularly. Jan Verhoeff does too. Each blogger detaches from their own needs to help other bloggers, accelerating their online success.

3: Manage Your Energy

Attachment is fear. Managing your energy helps you:

  • face fear
  • feel fear
  • release fear
  • dissolve attachments

I do 80 minutes of deep yin yoga daily. Plus I jog or walk for 45-60 minutes daily. Meditating helps too.

Managing your energy rocks because so many bloggers cling deeply to fear-attachments, to stats and money and to clients and blogging buddies, and need a daily ritual to unearth and release these attachments. I strongly suggest deep yin yoga because it helps you become comfortable. Big time quality developed by all generous, pretty darn detached, bloggers.

Don Smith shares personal growth and energy shifting gems on his blog. My wife Kelli Cooper does too at Life Made to Order.

4: BE with Your Fear

I vividly recall sitting and BEING with my fear each time I checked my blogging inbox. I felt a general not enough energy pervade my being. Panic then ran through my body. Anger. Pain. Grief, at time lost. All fears reflected heavy attachments to:

  • money
  • list subscribers
  • traffic
  • fame

I totally believed I should have been further along at these points during my blogging career. Turns out, I was at the perfect place and time to feel deep fears, to dissolve attachments and to proceed from a generous, genuine, pretty detached, patient and persistent space.

Fighting fear only makes attachments grow. Not checking email for weeks because you feel terrified to check email makes the fear and attachment grow. But checking email hourly because you feel terrified that you:

  • will miss out on clients
  • are not making enough money, and need to check and see if you are making any aka enough money, yet

reflects your attachment to you. Ya know; “How am I doing-itis.” Check stats, check email, all the time, because you fear to see how you are doing.

Feel fear behind any strategy driven by fear. Let the fear go. Dissolve the attachment.

I check email here and there, never being attached to it. Email is not the source of my blogging success.

Treat blogging outcomes like mile markers on a highway, when you whiz by at 80 MPH. Note the stat for a few seconds and either move in a different direction or charge forward, based on how you feel about the stat, and what the feeling suggests to you.

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Quick Tips to Easily Find People and Other Bloggers Online




Unlike Las Vegas — where ‘what happens there, stays there’ — once something is on the internet, it’s pretty much there forever. This is something bloggers, content creators and businesses know all too well. Whether it’s a WordPress article, social media updates, of photos making their way into the Google index, it’s likely going to be online forever.

It’s not just about posting and uploading content on the internet that you need to worry. It’s also all of the massive and easily accessible information that can be found online as well. With more data leaks taking place than ever before, and pretty much having privacy being a thing in the past, it’s easy to find information on anything and anyone with just a few clicks of a button.

For example, have you ever met someone at a blogging conference or event, but forgot to grab their business card? A lot of times we want to meet such people again but have no clue how to find them or their contact details. Through social media and using online tools like a people search, finding exactly what you need is now easier than ever before. Thankfully, we have this amazing platform called the internet – where we are able to find people around us ourselves.

There are plenty of other ways to find information or direct contacts for people online. In addition to using a People Search, social media is also a great method for finding whatever you are looking for. This is especially true if you can find someone on LinkedIn.

To start off, simply grab a notepad and write down the name of the person you want to search. Once you do that, branch out names of people you think are associated to them or at least the name of the person who introduced them to you if you were meeting them for the first time. Next, try and connect businesses, offices, college, university or any piece of information you think is or can be relevant to them. By now, you must have a web looking piece of information already giving you a clue.

How Do People Search Engines Work?

Making the best use of the amazing platform that we discussed – the internet, we need to find online people search engines which will process all the information we know and share possible match results for people we are looking for. To help you understand what a people search engine is and how do people search engines work, just imagine a library or a music record store. People search engines have a huge pool of database with information that is allowed to be displayed publicly. Such information contains phone numbers, education, employment history and sometimes criminal history as well. However, the information uploaded with any people search engine must be approved or must be in accordance with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Once you have the maximum information with you uploaded in a people search engine, it will run a match and show most relevant list of result for people associated with that information. You may further screen the results by looking at each option individually to figure if that’s the same person you are searching for.

Meanwhile, there are other sources to track someone apart from people search engines. Finding people through social media platforms has also been observed to take a troll. Many youngsters put up millions of searches every day through social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. to find people they just met or to know more about them.

In all, finding someone in today’s world is no longer a rocket science. With multiple online people search engines and various social media platforms, tracking someone down has become as easy as finding a book in a library or a record in a music store.   

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How to View the Relationship Between Your Blog and Social Media



Alonzo Pichardo says it best.

“Buy your own domain and hosting and make that your own main hub. Social media is a branch of the marketing tree. That’s all.”

He shared my video on Instagram. Video registered 3,926 views. Here it is:

Buy Your Domain and Hosting

I filmed the video because I spent 20 minutes clicking profile links of folks who Liked my updates. I found a few self-hosted WordPress blogs, read and commented on these blogs. Relationships established. But most Instagram users:

  • had no blog to speak of
  • linked to YouTube
  • linked to Facebook

For the heck of it, I spent a good 3 minutes looking for one user’s blog. I found an obituary (he was young and alive but shared a common name) and a collection of spammy “look up his information sites.” He claimed to be a blogger via his Instagram bio but he is no more a blogger than I am a werewolf.

Think about Alonzo’s advice; the blog is your main hub, or root, or base of your tree, and social media acts like branches. Offshoots, nothing more.

Big Mistake

Instagram owns Instagram. Instagram:

  • can kick that kid off of Instagram for 1 of a billion reasons, in a heartbeat
  • WILL change their algorithm, soon enough, forcing the kid to change his strategy, uprooting his online world
  • forces the kid to make his brand, Instagram’s brand

Not investing is a domain and hosting is about the biggest mistake you can make online because not owning your site hands your power, your decision making, your branding potential and your monetizing potential to someone else.

Social media is a branch. Spend most of your time daily working on your blog and networking with other bloggers who own their self-hosted, WordPress blogs. Unless they change their values or quit blogging, this is the most sound, intelligent approach to blogging.

Use social media for a little bit daily to:

  • tag bloggers you mention on your blog
  • help bloggers in groups related to your niche
  • share your blog posts
  • share other blogger’s blog posts

You are a blogger. Not an Instagrammer. You are a blogger. Not a Facebook-er. Spend most of your day on blogs. Not social media.

Marios Tofarides runs an authority blog on eBooks. Not in a billion years could he make his social media profiles look anything like his branded, self-hosted blog. Paula at Contented Traveler runs a first class travel blog. She could never re-create her blog’s branding, style and voice on social media. Sarah Arrow built a well known brand and thriving business by making her blog stand out, through creating, through connecting and through smart blog branding. Impossible to do this, through social media alone.

Pay Up to Play Up

I can mention your blog on Blogging From Paradise, a DA 47 blog read by many influencers.

I can mention your blog on Blogging Tips, a DA 48 blog read by many blogging influencers.

But I never link to free platform blogs because no influencer or experienced reader trusts information on free platforms. If you cannot invest $3 a month, you carry too much of a fear-lack-poverty conscious energy, that seasoned readers and top bloggers know to avoid.

I never link to a social media profile because….social media is not a blog!

Pay up to play up.

Invest in a domain and hosting. Move up in blogging circles. See social media as branches, using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as secondary or even tertiary means for helping people. Spend most of your time on your self-hosted, WordPress blog and networking on other self-hosted, WordPress blogs.


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