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I've started several blogs and failed. Even this one could be improved. I think every blog can be improved; that's the nature of them.
But at least this one is still going. I think that is the key for many people – just to keep going. That in itself is such a great success.
We live in an era of mass distraction, A.D.D. and F.O.M.O, that doing anything for a length of time is quite miraculous.
After many months of consideration and helping several others understand the foundations of successful content publishing and how to start a new blog – I've come up five absolute must-do's before taking the plunge.
I call it “From Fear to Clear in 5 Simple Steps”. Let's jump in shall we?
Get Clear About Your Vision
Vision is what provides you direction. Without vision, you will always be going in circles. Vision is what helps you set the priorities you need in your life so you can get to where you want to be.
Having a vision is also like setting an intention. It's the beginning of what you truly want. So if you are starting a blog, your vision should include a few things:
- What your blog or website will look like in the near and long-term future
- How your life will be different as you spend more time producing content and improving your blog
- What you'd like to help others achieve with your content or in other words, what value you are providing
- What will be unique about your blog that will continually attract new readers
Those are just some of the main ones. Your vision can include whatever you want it to. It's not so much what is in the vision but the fact that you actively create it.
It's simply the intention that is so powerful. Once you set out what you want to do, you will start making choices in your life that actively make that reality happen.
If your intention is 2 blog posts a week, then on a lazy Sunday you will start choosing to write instead of watch TV. With the intention in place, you now have a choice between outcomes. Until that intention arrives, there is no new choice. This is mission-critical.
Get Clear About Your Audience
How many blogger's have the problem of not knowing what to write? This is such a big problem that it is probably the number one reason people stop, they just can't get past the first line!
Isn't it strange though? Our mind is almost endlessly racing with new thoughts and ideas, but funny how few make it into our writing.
The disconnect between what you have in your mind and what you choose to put down on paper or in your blog is not knowing the audience.
When you don't have a super clear understanding about who your audience is then yes it is almost impossible to write on a consistent basis. You'll constantly be doubting yourself whether people care about this post or that one. Sadly, this doubt will begin to cause the blog to self-destruct – all because you never had the chance to get clear about your audience.
Just think about it, you can't serve someone unless you know who they are. If you want a blog to express yourself and don't require readers, then this doesn't apply. But I suspect 90% of people write for others. So if you want to write for someone, let's get really clear about who they are and what they need from you.
This is the real writer's block right here – not knowing who will read the finished product. The second you get crystal clear about your audience and their problems, you will have an endless source of ideas. You won't have to write from a place of fear, not knowing whether someone will get value from your work. As long as it seeks to solve a problem that you know your readership has, then I guarantee it will be helpful.
A very important thing to note is that your audience can't be too big. You want to write in such a way that your work helps at least 30% of your entire readership. If you start writing about things that only help 5% then think how fast your audience will lost interest. You need to keep them engaged week after week with continual high-value content. This is not easy and is truly what sets the top bloggers apart.
Why did I say 30%? Because I think you should always have 3 muses – or ‘types' of people who read your blog. I like to separate the 3 types by knowledge and experience level. So one problem is ultimately at least 3 different posts. And each problem can often be solved in multiple ways. And know you are starting to see why when you know your audience and you respect there various skill-levels, you can come up with an endless amount of content.
The name of the game is not to write the biggest variety of content – it's to provide the most value in your reader's life.
Get Clear About Your Voice
Once you know your audience then you want to select the best ‘voice' to write from. You want to use the language they are familiar with. You want to use a tone that is well suited to their knowledge level.
Some blogs get famous from the voice alone. The more unique the better. There is no right or wrong answer here except that you want consistency.
When you write, your voice and tone are part of your branding. Branding is all about consistency and quality. People come to have expectations about brands they engage with. That's business.
Finding the write voice isn't about being authentic or inauthentic, it's more about becoming your greatest version. Your greatest version will bring in the greatest amount of success. It's cause and effect.
You might think that if you choose a voice that isn't truly you but it might “sell” better then that is the way to go. Remember how I started by saying that most blogs don't last, this is why, people try to find a voice that sells rather than the greatest version of themselves. There is a very fine line here.
Ultimately it comes down to being your best self, so you can gain the confidence that your best self will be the one that sells the most. You want who you truly are to merge with what reader's love – a unique voice that inspires and brings value. This comes back to vision. When you can see your future self with a future successful blog, then you can start transforming from who you are at this very moment. In that process, your greatest version, your perspective, and your voice will all begin to shine through.
Just remember you are perfect as you are and it's all about letting your real voice come out and being okay with it. It's the confidence and self-esteem that creates the unstoppable force behind that voice and that's what readers are attracted to.
Get Clear About Your Objectives
The vision helps us set the direction and the overall outcome we desire but it is often too far in the distance to help us make decisions in the present moment. Objectives allow you to progress incrementally in the direction of your vision. If we can get clear about these then we become very powerful.
Objectives should be S.M.A.R.T.. Objectives should be short-term and simple to understand. Having objectives lets you know whether your making real progress. Objectives are action and results oriented.
If you want a super successful blog then start taking more action and doing less activities. Action means something that provides a result. Activity has no results.
We often keep ourselves busy with activities but nothing ever changes. If you start taking action then your objectives will be met and you will have progressed towards your larger goals.
Completing objectives is satisfying. Why? Because you get to see results.
Humans need to see results to feel good. That's the way we are programmed now. Instant feedback. This comes from all the gaming we've been doing. Great games always reward us with positive feedback from our actions. Although, gaming is an activity…
The objectives you choose will be directly related to your vision, your audience, the time and resources you have, so they can only be chosen by you. You might want to have an objective related to how many blog posts you complete per month. You might want to set out a content or product road map which gives you a sense of when you want certain things to be completed by. You might want to set more specific objectives about traffic, email list size and growth. Just don't forget that spending too much time tinkering with objectives might actually become an activity when you could be taking action 🙂
This is certainly the most technical aspect of your pre-blog preparation but still very critical for your success.
Get Clear About Your Self
What!? Haven't we done enough with OUR vision, OUR audience, OUR voice??? Yes, it certainly all comes together and reinforces the idea.
But remember what I said at the beginning – there is an epidemic of failed and prematurely ended blogs out there. It's not the internet, the software or the tools that determines OUR success…it's US!
So of course we need to put the most time into what leads to the highest likelihood of success. So just bare with me for a few more lines and then you can get started.
Blogging is a funny thing. Never before was there such a platform where the average person could just start saying stuff and they might become famous, wealthy, respected, and more. Blogging broke the barrier that previously only allowed the mainstream media to provide content.
But over time, blogging has evolved and become very developed. As I said, there are millions of blogs out there. This actually creates a great fear for many people. They think, “Am I good enough to be a blogger?”
This is such a huge hurdle to overcome. Believing that you can do it. But remember, that if you don't believe in your vision, no one else will.
Blogging and content publishing is demanding and requires an immense amount of self-esteem. You have to be proud of your work because its yours, not because of what other people say about it.
In fact, if no one is saying anything bad about you, there's a good chance you aren't saying anything of interest. All content creators must learn that there will always be people who don't like you or your content. That is a undeniable fact. The sooner you embrace that fact and embrace your self, then the sooner you begin to see some amazing progress.
I also like to remind people that you shouldn't blog to gain respect for things you say. I personally wouldn't worry about respect at all, but if you do want to worry about it, then at least focus on gaining respect for your work ethic and commitment to your audience.
Let me explain that a bit. Truly creative work will never get respect. Why? Because the nature of creative work means it's brand new. Never seen or heard before – “Oh I've never seen someone do that before – how creative!” But by nature, if we've never seen it before, then how can we respect it?
Respect is a funny word. I'm not so sure why humans became so obsessed with it. I don't really like respect because it relies on the validation of others that what we are doing is right. But if we have our own vision then we don't need to ask someone if what we are doing is right.
A lot of times we desire other people to understand our journey. We want to validate our choices. We don't want to seem weird or unusual. But that is the exact opposite of how successful people think.
If you try to spend more time being like the majority, then you will get the same results as the majority. You don't get remembered in the middle.
I'd much rather you see get super clear about your voice, who you are helping, set a few objectives, and along the way, fall in love with who you truly are so you can start living your true purpose and bring value to the lives of others while never once feeling inauthentic or ashamed for what you believe or do.