Inspiration, Instruction, and Advice from Smart Blogger.com
In the back of my mind, I’ve been wondering, “Is it too late to start a blog in 2018?” I was relieved to read in Jon Morrow’s blog that the idea of blogging is not out of date. According to MarketingMag.com content marketing will be a $300 billion industry in 2019. Two professional bloggers I studied for this post both thought the blogging business was sustainable, but the business is changing, and bloggers needed to adapt. Some strategies for grabbing attention have been used so many times, they are used up from repetition, and other tricks of the trade are no longer secret and are being filtered out by smarter algorithms on the social media platforms like FaceBook and Google.
When I visited SmartBlogger.com I learned some very useful things and I will share them shortly; but first, I want to comment on the blogger himself. I was most mesmerized by Jon Morrow. He is really a shining star of humor, common sense, stamina, and courage. And, I hope he is doing well.
First, as I said, I was enchanted by the blogger himself. Jon is the soul behind unstoppable.me.com and the CEO of SmartBlogger. No he didn’t give me an interview, but I learned about him at SmartBlogger.com. I read the article, “7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face.” Jon is totally paralyzed by muscular dystrophy, and at one time, he was totally dependent on Medicaid. He was grateful for the help the government could give him because it kept him alive, but the earning limit of $700.00 dollars a month trapped him in poverty. He could not be employed without losing his health care which he needed to live. So, he changed the rules. He took a job working for free for copyblogger the online magazine. He worked there for 2 years, saying to his boss, “one day I will ask for a favor.” When he finally asked for the favor, he asked to reach out to the magazine’s 50,000 readers as he started his own online enterprise. He moved to Mexico where he lived in a condo and paid for all his own health care. The move was very scary, and would be for any of us walking, but Jon did it in a wheelchair. As Jon says, he harnessed his fear and went forward. “That is how courage works.” The internal conversation he shared goes like this:
“Worry: I could be scammed by immigration officials.
Response: True, but that is still better than dying in a nursing home.
Worry: I could be killed by robbers on the highway.
Response: True, but that is still better than dying in a nursing home.
Worry: I could starve to death because I can’t afford food.
Response: True, but that is still better than dying in a nursing home. “
Read more on your own and be inspired. You will find many gems to laugh and wonder over, especially when he says, “when the situation is insane,” sometimes the only way out is to do something that appears even crazier, like going to Mexico.
You are Still Breathing My Friend.
That is All It Takes to Stage a Comeback: Jon Morrow 2016
Audience is Required for a Blog to Survive
Jon Morrow is SmartBlogger.com so of course, I’m reading his advice about not wasting time on a blog that is bound to fail. I am not sure my blog will survive and thrive. However, it has been the tool that I have used to retool after 20 years at one job. And, it is a place where a writer can write and write and add pictures. So, I don’t consider my blog a waste of time.
Jon says you must target your audience and he says a good audience self identifies. That means they see themselves as part of a group. So, don’t over-generalize a group like athletes if they really divide themselves by sport and consider themselves swimmers or baseball pitchers. On the other hand, he advises, don’t narrow your target down too far to a successful few, like billionaires, who have already made their fortune. He says you should find a large group who are trying to succeed if you want traffic. “Beginners are the ones who read blogs.” I can vouch for that statement. Beginners and learners of all ages are hungry for authentic information.
10x Thinking, 1x Doing
This was my favorite article today on the Smart Blogger, “How to be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers.” The article was by Jon Morrow. This article is about change. It is about becoming smarter and how to start caring more about who you want to become than what your friends think. Even though Jon used an example from when he was a kid in school, I can relate. I am 62 and my friends mostly want to stop doing and stop learning. They say things like, “I have put in my time.” Jon offers 4 things you should do if you want to be a popular blogger.
- Hang out with Smarter People. Jon says that if you want to be a better writer, you have to hang out with writers that are better than you.
- Bury yourself in learning and books. Popular bloggers know everything. They can move from topic to topic with ease. They can do this because they are learners. They consume new information all the time. Jon’s advice: Spend at least 3 hours a day learning something new, if you want to be a popular blogger.
- Cut the crap out of your life. Think more, do less. If you want to become a popular blogger, you must make time to think. Think about your writing when you are doing other things. Think about what you are going to write before you sit down at the computer.I do this. I pray about it too. The other day, following my husband in the truck while he drove the swather home from a hay field in 16-degree weather. I could think about my direction because the drive took a couple of hours of slow driving. I wasn’t worried about the ancient swather breaking down and leaving Larry stranded somewhere out of cell phone range. At a top speed of 12 miles per hour, I was there for him if he needed me, and my mind was free to think and focus on what I was going to do. I was totally happy.Recently, I told my Father how active my mind had become since I started working on my own business and learning to blog. I told him how I was never tired or bored at mid-morning like I used to be. I said that I felt like I was working all the time in my head. He said, “Engineers work even in the shower.” My dad is 85 and still leaning. I think he is proof that Jon is right.
What is Old School?
Since I am old and perhaps might not recognize old when I see it, I needed to read the article Sarah Peterson put on SmartBlogger.com. The “8 Old-School Blogging Tactics That No Longer Work.” And I did have to mourn a few old friends, like great content will “save your sorry ass.” “Great content,” Sarah says, “is no longer enough.” You must find your readers and help them find you because there is a lot of great content out there.
Sarah is the founder of unsettle.org. Her tag line is “Never Settle for a Job you don’t Love” tells you that she is a coach. Her specialty is helping you build your life and build your job around your life, not the other way around. She is also a super content marketer.
In her article on SmartBlogger.com, she writes some things that are different than what you see on some of the older blogging advice articles. She says you must spend 20% of your time writing and researching and 80% of your time promoting your writing. She also advises you to focus on one social media platform and promote your articles more heavily instead of spreading yourself across many. She explains that this is because the algorithms on Facebook and Google and all the other social media sites have improved so now it is necessary for you to learn to conquer the prohibitive algorithms by learning all the ins and out of the platform of your choice.
Sarah also says that just slapping ads on your blog won’t work anymore because people have developed “banner blindness.” It is best to take your blog in the direction of offering products and services that you can sell online, treating your blog as an actual business. That is a great idea. I was very leery of not having anything but an opinion to offer. I’m old fashioned in that way. I don’t really think my opinion alone is worth a thin dime.
Overall, from Sarah’s article, I learned that you really must be real. You must have something to sell and something relevant and of value to offer a real person. Even Google’s search engines are figuring out the old strategies of putting keywords everywhere to get ranked. You must write for real people. And as I have heard in other articles, you must be able to picture that person in your mind as you write.
There is a lot of good advice on SmartBlogger.com. It is an up-to-date blog, with blogs posted just days ago. The first few blogs I wrote about earlier were a bit out of date, but I didn’t know any better at the time. As I began to realize that they were so out of date, I became afraid that this blogging business was history and a speeding boat I had missed. But I have found reassurance that blogging for business is still a way to make a living doing what you love to do, but you do have to put in the time thinking, researching, writing, and promoting your work. When all is said and done, this sounds kind of old school to me.