Why is starting a blog so scary? What keeps us from getting started? Thanks to my many blogging mentors, especially Paul Gillin, I realized there is a mental volleyball game that us bloggers play and it goes like this:
I’d love to start a blog, but I don’t know where to begin. I don’t think I have enough content to be consistent. I’m not a subject matter expert. I don’t have the time. I’m not that original. But I know it would be good for my company and for me personally. I want to do it, I just don’t know how (or if I’d be any good at it).
I’m willing to bet most bloggers faced these thoughts and fears before getting started. It’s really not that scary once you bust the blogging myths that we buy into. The following myths are taken from the Blogging Essentials course that Paul Gillin developed for Profitecture (with a few of my own thrown in). Paul and I teach this six session course.
Blog Posts Need to Be Long
No they don’t. In fact, people don’t have the bandwidth to read anything long. This myth is partially as a result of high school term papers. Remember those? Longer was better. Those papers had to be 10 pages, double spaced (trip down memory road – you’re welcome). Now if you click on a link to an article and you can’t see the bottom…abandon ship! Nobody got time for that!! Keep it short – 300-500 words is perfect. If you have anything longer, break it up into several posts (aha moment: instead of one long post, now you’ve got several, which can help alleviate the fear of inconsistency and lack of content).
Every Post Must Be Insightful
There are not too many human beings in the world who can come up with their own original stuff week after week. The reality is that most people build upon the good work of others. Have you read an article that inspired you in some way? Have you seen a video that made you wonder or think differently? Those are the moments of inspiration that spark a new twist on an old story, or take it one step further. Have you learned something? Share it! Most likely if you find it interesting, others will too.
You Must Be a Subject Matter Expert
Many marketing professionals have a secret (myself included) – we are not subject matter experts – shhhh. Why are we whispering? For some reason, this makes us marketing people feel somehow unqualified to participate. It’s OK. You don’t have to be an SME in order to be a good blogger. I wrote a post on this very topic including some tactics you can use as a marketing person charged with blogging: Dammit Jim, I’m a Doctor, Not a Bricklayer!
Blogging is All About My Company
Nope. If all you write about is your company, people will get bored and run for the exits. It’s just like a conversation in real life – sometimes you have to ask about others, share and acknowledge the good work of others. For Example: My Top 10 Apps I Can’t Live Without.
Always Stay on Topic
Holding interest means straying off topic once in a while. If you have a blog that focuses mainly on IT topics, wouldn’t it be cool to throw in a post with some fantastic photos of your recent white water rafting adventure? How cool would it be to see a tech genius share a favorite recipe? Mixing up adds the spice of life (it’s unexpected). And provides a window into who you really are. Share your personality.
Are you thinking about starting a blog, but have some hesitation? Please comment and let me know what is stopping you. If you are interested in taking the Blogging Essentials course, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.