I recently decided to try a new idea in blogging. I was driving down to Blog World New York (a 6 hour drive) and I found myself really wanting to blog. It’s rare that I have such long stretches of time to simply think, naturally during this time, I reflect. When I reflect I always come up with blogging ideas, things I want to share with others. This is where my content comes from.
Unfortunately, because I was driving, I couldn’t really start writing. I decided to try something new, a “Drive Blog”. Not unlike a conversation while driving, I just turned the video on, and gave it a spin.
After recording a couple of episodes (you can watch Episode 1 here and corresponding post here), I started to think about how this integrates into my blogging, and also marveled at the the idea that anyone could have something they felt they wanted to talk about and share, to the point that they would pull out the video while driving and “blog”. By the end of that drive, I had recorded at least 5 or 6 Drive Blog’s . As I thought about all this, what I concluded is that the ability to blog is basically adopting a new mindset, a culture of sharing. Instead of just sitting with my thoughts, like I might have 5 or 6 years ago, my natural reaction to having a thought became to share – a new behavior. This is where culture comes in.
How to blog and finding ideas about what to blog about is a huge topic in social media circles. Why? Because we know content is the key to building an audience, influence, and basically anything online. Everything needs to lead to your home base, your blog. Your blog also allows others, new people to find you – via web searches. By having a rich blog you will meet the maximum number of people possible, expand your network – your prospects and friends.
Where does content come from?
I truly believe content comes from you. Sure, that sounds like an easy answer – but it’s true. You have to be creative, you have to be inspired, you have to feel like you want to share something and it has to be something that moves you enough to feel like you need to pull out a paper and pen in the middle of your day, or reach for your audio recorder and make a note, or pull out your phone and start blogging while driving.
In the 15 second “Tout” clip above, Fred McClimans, Executive Director of the 2020 Foundation discussed “Pervasive Communications”, where he passionately covered where we are in our current state of communications (you can watch the full presentation here).
He makes a wonderful point, at what other time in our history have we as people heard something and then felt the need to run out in the street and shout at the top of our lungs for the world to hear whatever it was we just heard?
Social media gives us this ability, and we as people are using it. To do this though, you have to have something to say, something to share.
The Blogging Challenge
I believe, the challenge is for people to understand that what they have to say is important. Many trying to get into blogging ask the question: How do you blog, what can I talk about, where do I get ideas?
Please listen when I tell you:
You get your content from your life!
You get your content from your thoughts.
No one can feed you your content, if they do, you will not be interesting, you will not be you.
Write and blog, and video about something you know, something you care about, something that moved you to write.
Read what others are doing, talk to people, listen to people, feed your brain with information and this will lead to inspiration
Try new things, don’t be afraid.
In business, the same applies. Here is where you can get your content from, take note, start opening your ears and eyes around you, and you will suddenly realize, you have something to share.
- What are the top conversations you have with your customers? Your colleagues? Your opponents? If these are re-occurring themes or discussions with multiple people, it stands to reason people want to know. Transition this into your blogging. Video your answers, or write your answers – do something to share this knowledge online. Use a medium that you like and are comfortable with.
- If you do not talk with people about your business, interview the people in your company who do. Same principle as #1.
- What is going on around you? In your industry, in your neighborhood, in your office. Anything interesting? Talk about this, talk about how it effects your business or community, and if you have nothing you think is worth talking about in those areas, talk about things in your community that you really like that reflect your business values.
- Share part of yourself in your business blogging practice. It is okay to share your personal thoughts as long as they might be interesting to your readers. They will appreciate knowing who they are doing business with. If you don’t know how to start with a purely business topic, start with a topic you know well: you.
The thing about Blogging is that it’s an Art.
Its not something you take a rule book out and start following directions. The rule books, the best practices, all of this helps one understand the concept, but the true gold comes from inside, from you as a person – you need to feel , like Fred McClimans suggests, that you have something to share, something so powerful that you want to shout it out for the world to hear, and this drives you to blog, to tweet to reach out.
“There’s No Place Like Home”
Tune into what those things are in your business. Find your passion – why do you do what you do? What do you want to tell people about what you do, your team, or your product? Then write. If you keep walking around in circles asking people how to blog, you aren’t going to hit it. Remember that famous scene in “the Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy ends up realizing she traveled everywhere and met all kind of people, to find something, but in the end what she really needed was right there at home?
Give yourself time to think, to be creative, to be observant, then start.
You can see what Chris Brogan or Christopher Penn do, you can try and duplicate their style and follow all their instructions – that’s not what will give you the gold – they have the guideline, but their success is really in them – just as yours is in you. If you look at why they and others are so successful, it’s not because they followed cookie cutter formulas to success, it’s because they share who they are, they share what they think, they share their passion and they take chances to communicate.
They have developed confidence in what they are saying, and people want to read this. You need to tune into yourself, get some confidence about what you are saying and start producing content – what does that mean? It means share your thoughts, share your creativity, just do it.
You need to dive in, give it a try and see what happens. Lead with passion and truth – about things you know.
Then practice – your style and skill will develop.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Eventually, you’ll get there.
Find your passion, find your confidence and take your chances – get out there now.
With that, I’ll leave you with my Drive Blog: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. How does this apply here? You can let me know what you think. In the case of blogging, I think preparation is thinking, opportunity is in sharing.
Make your own luck, live the culture of sharing.