As some people know, the last 6 months, at work have been spent designing (and building) blogs for our trainers. The idea behind that was to give the trainers a voice outside of our events and further establish them as experts in their respective areas.
Last Spring, Darrel and I led a meeting to help the trainers understand social networking and kick start their blogging. It’s been exciting to see how far they have come, particularly within the last couple of months.
As a result of those conversations, I started looking at my own blog. If I’m going to be talk the talk, I need to be able to walk the walk. It’s led me down an interesting path. What do I want my blog to be about? What do I want to be known for? Who is my audience? What can I do for them? Last July, I wrote out My Elevator Pitch.
It’s been an interesting journey. I continue to ask myself those questions every day, blog post or not blog post. Instead of being frustrated for not having everything figured out, I’m discovering how healthy it is to have those questions on the forefront. The day that I stop asking those questions, is the day that I need to stop blogging.
I’ve learned other things throughout this whole process:
Blogging is hard.
Like everyone else in the world, I only get 24 hours a day. Devoting some of that time to blogging has to be intentional. –for someone that has always hated English class and writing papers, it takes time for me to sit down and actually write.
I have to have a strategy (AND stick to it)
I have milestones in Basecamp with everything that I want to talk about for the next month. But, that “push milestones and all following back” button is so easy!
On the Big Picture
I have to have an overall branding message that I am trying to communicate. What do I want people to remember me for? When people mention Amy Haywood, I want them to think graphic designer, not a programmer. But the truth of the matter is, it’s a lot easier to write about code, it’s more logical, more objective. I struggle with trying to reconcile the two.
On Being Myself
Jason Fried has talked about how he just writes whenever he has something that he wants to share. — If I did that, I would never write anything.
Gary Vaynerchuk, on the other hand, creates posts all the time. He “crushes it”. He answers every comment and every email himself. He puts in ridiculous hours to make it happen. Honestly, I don’t know if I can make that kind of sacrifice.
John Gruber doesn’t answer everyone’s email. He’s estimated that he would spend 8 – 10 hours a day just answering email if he did that.
All that’s to say, if I’m trying to figure out how to break my blog (not to be confused with destroying my blog, but rather getting people to notice it), then I have to come up with my own tactics. I can look at their strategies, but I can’t copy them. I am not Jason Fried, Gary Vaynerchuk, or John Gruber. In fact, in Merlin Mann’s interview with Seth Godin, they talk about that. I have to be my own person.
A Lot of content out there is redundant
As ridiculous as it may sound, there are days when I look at the Internet and think, “I have seen all there is to see.” A lot of blogs that I read, link to the same stuff. — Or, even if people are writing their own content, they are a lot of people with similar opinions. Almost every “what I’ve learned from blogging” post I’ve read says “It’s hard.” (Problogger, Chris Brogan…and now mine. I guess I can’t say I wasn’t warned.) But, I think that’s why there’s so much worth to original content; it’s hard to come by.