How To Become A Successful Blogger (And Other Useless Advice)

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Would you like to become a wildly successful blogger? Of course you would! If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this.

Now, I realize there is no shortage of blog posts giving advice on how to become a successful blogger, but this blog post is different, because:

  • There are only THREE steps in my process. Other blog advice-givers come up with lists of like 25 things you need to do to become a successful blogger. Who knows where to start? Which of the 25 things is most important? No one knows, because they don’t tell you those things.
  • My process is GUARANTEED to work! If my three-step process doesn’t make you a successful blogger, I will refund the money you paid to read this blog post.

ARE YOU READY? There’s no need to get a pen or pencil and write this down — you can come back to this post and read it as often you wish. In fact, I hope you do. Because the more times you read this post, the more successful a blogger I become. Muwahahaha!

OK, here we go. The THREE Steps to Becoming A Successful Blogger:

  1. Quit your day job.
  2. Spend 8 hours a day creating VALUABLE CONTENT spread across 4 to 5 blog posts.
  3. Get Oprah Winfrey to talk about your blog on her TV show. 

If you follow these THREE SIMPLE STEPS, I guarantee your blogging success!

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Returning back to reality for a minute….

I may be making fun of the social media/blogging gurus out there who spew their useless advice for creating blogging success, but you’ve got to admit that I’m not too far off from what they actually say. 

There are (at least) three problems with the advice they give:

1) It’s the what, not the how. I learned this difference when I worked at Forrester Research. My boss at the time would look at the advice I put into reports, and would tell me, “You’re telling firms what WHAT to do. They know what they need to do. You need to tell them how to do it.” This may sound like mincing words. It’s not. The overwhelming majority of social media gurus (and sadly, management consultants) don’t get this distinction.

2) They don’t define success. If “success” to you means having 10,000 blog subscribers, then write about sports, technology, cats, or sex. (But for God’s sake, do NOT mix the last topic in with any of the other categories). If you want 10,000 readers, go ahead and regurgitate meaningless crap about social media. But “success” doesn’t have to be defined by number of subscribers or number of page views (I have to remind myself of this EVERY FREAKING DAY).

3) They focus on the mechanics. Telling would-be bloggers to “create great content” is like Steve Martin would-be millionaires that, in order to become a millionaire, they should first “get a million dollars.” Furthermore, advice like “share best practices” or “interview someone” or “review a product” may or may not produce good content. These are the mechanics, and you can know what the mechanics are, and still not get it right.

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I could tell you the real secret to becoming a successful blogger, but I would be violating point #1 above. Because I can tell you what you need to do, but I honestly don’t know how to tell you how to do it. 

Do you want to hear it anyway? I thought so. OK, here you go: The real secret to becoming a successful blogger is….

Connecting emotionally with your readers.

I don’t know how you do it, but I know when you do it. When the reader reacts one of two ways: 1) “Yes! Exactly!” or 2) “No freaking way, you moron!”

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There’s simply no formula for eliciting that reaction. You just gotta keep writing, interacting, learning what works and what doesn’t. 

A number of years ago, marketing expert Seth Godin wrote:

“Don’t let the words get in the way. If you’re writing online, forget everything you were tortured by in high school English class. You’re just trying to be real, to make a point, to write something worth reading. So just say it.”

My take: I said it then, I’ll say it again: This is terrible advice. IF you want to be a successful blogger — if you want to create great content — you should agonize over every word on the page. Every sentence. Every paragraph. 

Are you writing exactly what you mean to say? Can the reader interpret what’s written in a way that you don’t intend? Is there a better word to use in a sentence than the one already there? Can the sentence be made shorter? Can the paragraphs be cropped and edited to improve readability?

You don’t have to be Hemingway or Vonnegut in order to create great blog content…but trying to be a Hemingway or Vonnegut is not a bad goal for would-be bloggers. 

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Bottom line: Continuing to be somewhat serious for just two seconds more, here’s what I do guarantee you: If the advice you provide (on whatever topic you blog about) is good on the “how” and not just the “what,” and you define success on your own terms, you will become a successful blogger.

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