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Back in the day, when I was in the ad biz as a creative director, I often marveled at the so-called “creative partnership” between writers and graphic designers. As one would marvel at, say dogs and cats sharing a dish of meat.
That’s how it works at most agencies of any size, they have these little pods of creativity, pairings that at first compete with other pods for the best assignments, then become the primary creative engine for generating billable client work.
The Account Manager role? That’s just an intermediary. Someone who takes the client to lunch a lot. It’s that creative team that makes or breaks the account, and frankly, they aren’t all that much fun at lunch.
On paper the writer and the designer share equal responsibility for the concept, content and execution of projects, but in reality the roles and expectations are more clearly and succinctly defined.
One writes, the other designs. And often, when one tries to hop into the other’s sandbox, trouble ensues. Especially when one is operating under the naïve illusion they can do the other’s job.
In over 25 years in that business, I never met a graphic designer who could write killer a line of copy. Vanilla, sure. But vanilla isn’t worth $200 an hour.
And I never met a writer who, even if they could wrap their head around it, aspired to the mastery of design software.
A Pod of One
These days, as a blogger with a whopping six online months under my belt, I see such partnerships differently.
Because for the most part there are two core competencies required to get a decent blog up and running – that’s on top of the wheelhouse expertise the blog is all about in the first place – and once again, it’s pretty rare when someone is a mad genius at both.
Perhaps not as rare as a designer who can write pithy copy, but I’m just sayin’.
The secret weapon in this business, even if you are all alone with your blog, as most of us are, is to find an expert resource to cover your ass.
The CYOA of Getting Mentored
If you’re a writer, you’ll need someone to make sense of the techno-gibberish that dominates the how-to oeuvre of blogging’s conventional wisdom.
If you’re a technophile, you may need a real writer to make you credible and marketable.
I’m of the former ilk. I can write my techno-lame ass off, and I understand that I need to cover that ass with a vendor who knows their way around the requisite software.
I’m lucky. I’ve hooked up with a bit of a wizard, one who could, for a modest fee, reprogram the space shuttle on short notice. And she’s only 25 bucks an hour.
Such a secret weapon is the best investment in the blogging universe.
If it’s your writing you need shored up, chances are you’ll have to spend more than $25 an hour to get a proven pro, unless you outsource to a third world country via Elance or some other sweat-shop level of intermediary, which are out there in spades.
Good luck with that, by the way. In writing, you absolutely get what you pay for. On the technical side, that’s not as true — for $25 an hour I have a consultant who knows everything I don’t, and then some. Which, rather than saying something lame about me, actually says something pretty amazing about her.
Getting Out of Your Own Way
One difference between the two camps – professional level writers and people who are at home with HTML – is that one often takes the other for granted.
Writers who are technically challenged realize they are dead meat without a propeller head in their camp.
Tech geeks, however, too often think they can write well enough to brand them in the bloggosphere, or that writing isn’t that hard or even necessary beyond a fifth grade reading level. It’s the great and eternal trap of engineering-think, one that I remember well from those ad agency days — if you build it they will come is no truer in blogging than it is in advertising. And if your client was, in fact, an engineer, you were in for a fight.
For some types of blogs that may be valid. But if you want a massive influx of readers, you need to give them something read that transcends codes and plug-ins.
Because always, a blog’s essence is delivered through its words, as well as its content.
It’s just like dating, you may be a cool person with deep emotional substance, great personal integrity and a significant trust fund, but if your personal hygiene suggests Mickey Rourke after a week-long camping trip in an equatorial climate, good luck getting beyond eHarmony.com.
Sometimes the difference between loneliness and stardom is a good tailor, a competent barber and a gym membership. Toothpaste, too.
With blogs, it’s not just about content, and it’s not just about writing.
You need home runs in both core competencies. And unlike that little dating analogy, the good news is that you can – and should – go out and buy whatever it is you lack.
And if that particular and analogy floats your boat… to paraphrase Moliere, think about this: blogging is like prostitution. First you do it for love. Then you do it for a few friends. And finally, you do it for the money.
Hopefully, you’ll never completely lose the love. With a secret weapon in your pocket – no analogous pun intended there, I swear – you have a good shot at having both.
Should You Aim for Blog Post Quality or Quantity?
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The human mind is silly. It thinks one or the other. It thinks you cannot have it all. You can have blog post quality and quantity but you need to make a clear decision on what you define to be a quality blog post.
Quality posts do not mean 2000 to 4000 word, pillar style masterpieces. A quality blog post answers the question you asked via title or delivers on the promise you made on the title.
I do understand how Google ranks 2000 word or longer, SEO-optimized posts requiring hours of work for even skilled bloggers to write, package and publish. But Google also ranks 600 words posts. 600 word posts are quality posts. Guess what? For the 30,000 bloggers out there asking the title question, I just wrote a quality blog post because they get a clear, concise, dead on answer.
Avoid Scarcity Thinking
Any time you FEAR posts are not quality because word length is 600 words, you think scarcity, or, not enough, or, not quality. But fear is not true. Fear is illusion. I can write 10, 600 word, quality posts today to make a massive impact and to help people IF I think abundance. But if I only believe I write quality, helpful posts in the 2000 word range, I stopped thinking abundance and began thinking scarcity. I chose fear over love and abundance. Naturally, all bloggers who think scarcity either struggle, fail and quit or work like beasts just to make end’s meet. Not good.
Go for quantity and quality. Some posts may span 800 or 1000 words but you can answer most questions and solve most problems in 600 words if you have immense clarity. Seth Godin answers most questions in 100 to 300 words. You have so much more to work with. So…work with it!
Think abundance. Blog abundance.
I have referenced Gary Vee many times recently and his 2000 video interviews on YouTube. Before he landed world famous speaking gig he had a pure abundance mindset, doing videos left and right, offering quality insights on a high quantity of channels. Blogging fools would try desperately to land an interview on a TV show, pitching, fearing, worrying, striving, and wasting months of time, thinking scarcity. Gary thought abundance, seized every opportunity through interview requests from some entrepreneurs who registered zero views per video, gained massive exposure organically, and, the dude became famous through his abundance mindset.
He thought quality and quantity. He did not hold back.
I am beginning to gain massive exposure through the 5-10 guest posts and blog posts published under my name daily. I do not turn down a microphone. I also know the easiest way to become well known is to focus heavily on quantity and quality, to share the wealth.
Many bloggers would obsess over a quality post being 2000 words, SEO-optimized and all that jazz, spending 4 hours to write said post on blogging tips. Meanwhile, I just wrote and published 8 quality, 600 word posts during those hours. I am being seen helping people in 8 spots. While you are on the sidelines. Even if that SEO’ed out, 2000 word post gains massive traffic over the long term, via Google, I am gaining even more massive traffic, being in 8-10 places daily via my posts and guest posts.
Think exponential increase. Imagine my 10 guest posts building up over 365 days. That is 3,650 guest posts, 3,650 spots where I am spotted online. That is a lotta spots!
See why it pays to think quality and quantity?
How to Leave Your Blogging Struggles Behind
Exit your comfort zone on a daily basis.
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Leave blogging struggles behind.
I love blogging. Blogging feels fun, freeing and quite easy to me. But sometimes, on this journey, my feelings change a bit. Sometimes, blogging feels uncomfortable and I nudge into resistance. Fear rears its head. Mental blocks arise. Sometimes I fear running out of time or perhaps I fear wasting my time. In these moments, I have 2 choices: remain in my fear-filled comfort zone or leave my comfort zone.
I left most of my blogging struggles behind because I choose to leave my comfort zone on a regular basis. Traffic, profits, and all manner of sweet blogging success greet bloggers who feel their fears, leave their comfort zones and do the blogging task, anyway.
What Is Blogging Struggle?
Blogging struggle is doing things or not doing things based on fear. Fear drives you. You blog from a fear-based, scared energy. You avoid traffic and profit and success boosting activities because you fear the opportunities. Example; you struggle horribly to make money and drive blog traffic. I advise to begin generous, relaxed, enjoyable guest posting, to help you increase traffic and profits and success. The split second you THINK about guest posting, you feel a range of emotions, from excitement, to happiness, then, from terror, to anxiety, to a general fear of wasting your time.
If 2 people visit your blog daily and you see zero blogging profits now, and you say “no” to guest posting because of some fears, you will likely struggle horribly, because you avoided guest posting to stay in your comfort zone of fear.
Traffic and profits sit on the other side of fear, outside of your comfort zone. No way around that one. We all pay a fear tuition doing freeing, success-promoting, uncomfortable things. I remember when Zac invited me to guest post on Blogging Tips. Fear invaded my mind. Would he reject my posts? How about if he hated my posts? What if I wasted my time? Would I be able to follow all the rules? Would he criticize me? Of course Zac is the nicest, kindest, friendliest iconic blogger on earth. He REALLY is, guys. He is an exceptional human being. But fear is irrational, distorting the truths of love, harmony and abundance.
I had to feel all those scary, intense fears, and keep blogging anyway, to write and publish my first few guest posts here. 800 plus guest posts later, I am still going strong. Why? I left my comfort zone those first few times and instantly began leaving blogging struggles behind.
Exit your comfort zone every single day. Do something that scares you. Do something that tests your limits. Publish a 4 paragraph long comment on a top blog, even if you fear:
- nobody is listening
- nobody is reading comments
- nobody will click through to your blog
- you are wasting your time
- the comment won’t get published
This happened to me recently. I spent 15 minutes writing a 9 paragraph comment on Pro Blogger. But Disqus suffered some connection problems and prevented me from publishing the comment. I feared I wasted 15 minutes. But after feeling and releasing the emotion, I let it go, moved on, and devoted 10 minutes to writing and publishing the comment later in the day, when Disqus was working.
Struggles happen if you choose to blog mainly from fear.
Success happens when you nudge into these fears, toward your blogging fun, taking inspired but uncomfortable action on a daily basis.
Go for it!
Exit your comfort zone.
Leave your blogging struggles behind…for good.
Focus on Things More to Leverage Your Blog Quickly
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What is the relationships guy talking about?
Blogging is a people business, right?
Blogging is one part people and one part things. Seriously. I learned this recently because if you depend 100% on people to build your blogging success you cannot possibly scale to massive levels. But if you do focus on things more, like email lists, and blogging platforms, you become less dependent on people, and also, your leveraging potential goes through the roof.
Email List Example
Let’s look at the famous email list. It is a thing. After you publish a blog post, you write a few words, include a link to your latest post, and after clicking a button, email the post to 10, 100, or 10,000 people….or more people. In a split second, you reach 10,000 human beings. Using a thing helps you leverage your presence like mad. Awesome.
But imagine if you only reached 10,000 people by mentioning people in your recent post, and tagging them on social media. Humanly impossible, of course. Let’s say you depend on even, 50 people, to promote your blog post, by mentioning them and tagging them. Linking to and tagging 50 bloggers takes a lotta time. Minimum, even for a 700 word post, it takes 90 minutes to 2 hours – or longer – to go the tagging and mentioning route. Do you see the problem of depending 100% on people and friendships to build blog? You run out of time. Meanwhile, sending your post to 50 email subscribers takes 3 minutes to send the email and literally, a split second to actually publish the email, at the click of a button.
Using Things Effectively Leverages Your Presence
Using email lists, blogging platforms for guest posting and certain tools leverages your presence fast because eventually, you run out of time trying to leverage your presence solely based on grabbing the attention of fellow bloggers. Plus you are at the mercy of humans, and building a fear-based attachment to fellow humans leads to misery because humans change, humans get too busy to promote you, and humans unfriend other humans.
I am for making blogging a people and things business. I have learned this lesson the hard way over the prior 2 months. Befriend people and enjoy the process, but if you want to leverage massively and sprint up the exposure ladder, tap into the convenience of technology by using things to reach more people fast.
At the end of the day, it is about helping more people freely. Use things – aka technology aka inanimate objects – to help people more freely and to help more people, too.
Exit Human-Obsessed and Things-Resistant Blogging Circles
I used to be part of blogging circles 100% reliant – virtually – on human beings, and heavily resistant to things. But none of these bloggers leveraged to big time, super successful levels. These bloggers railed against bots and joked of not using or being a blogging cyborg. All seemed funny. But on agreeing and following their advice I soon learned how incredibly difficult it becomes to grow a successful blog being 100% attached to and dependent on human beings to build the blog. Humans change. Things do not. Plus you cannot leverage humans like you leverage things.
While all these folks complained about emails and automating, they played so small that reaching next level success proved to be 100% impossible. But, I observed how using things like systems and tools will help you reach huge, targeted groups of people in minutes or even seconds. See the email example above.
Instead of complaining about or resisting tech, why not use things to make life easier, to leverage your presence quickly and to reach a huge, targeted group of human beings so you succeed and so people get what they want?
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