Writing posts on this blog has been a cornerstone of my business for quite a while now. I started blogging in 1998 (we called it “journaling” back then), but it wasn’t really until somewhere around 2005 that I started figuring out how it would be part of my actual business (and by that, how it would be a way to make money).
How to Blog for Business
There are so many ways to look at this. You can choose to think of your blog as a media company, and stuff ads on it. I love ads, well, ads for things that make sense. The sidebar at [chrisbrogan.com] is full of companies I strongly support. Some people think just putting any old ad on their site will work. Or Adsense. (And it does, for SOME sites. Especially if you have 500,000 monthly unique visitors, which I don’t. I have only 200,000 or so.)
People ask me that often. “How do I reach my audience?” First, I tell them gently, it’s not your audience. Second, I tell them that reach is only part of it. Once they’ve seen you, they have to care enough that they’ll take a next step. From there, it only gets more difficult. But that’s okay. Challenge is good. Let me give you some thoughts.
Before You Try to “Reach Your Audience”
Let’s convert that to “reach out to people who might care” or just “reach out.” But before you want to do that, you’ll want your primary website, your place of conversion, to be ready to receive these people. Because reach, as it turns out, is an invitation. To reach is to extend your presence out such that someone else might choose to become aware.
Seven years ago, I wrote a post entitled 100 blog topics I hope you write. A lot of them still hold up rather well. But I thought it might be fun to give you a NEW list of 100 blog topics to make your own. So if you’re looking for blog ideas, or just a whole new list of things to blog about, I’m hopeful this helps your writing.
Please feel free to share this list, but please link back to this page to do so. Thanks!
Today, I have decided to shut down the commenting feature on chrisbrogan.com. My reason is very basic: Since moving to a new platform, comment spam has fallen onto my site like a ton of bricks. And people are sending me lots of very polite and well-meaning emails telling me that my site is overrun with spam.
But that’s not the whole truth.
I was looking at the news flow stream thing on LinkedIn just now. Don’t ask. But you know, I thought I’d see if anything was worth my time. I found that pretty much every post fell into two categories: “go to my thing” or “read my bland and boring article.” So, a fun idea came to mind.
7 Ways to Bore the Hell Out of People
- Use graphics everyone else would use. Especially people in suits or weird stick men and dollar signs.
- Make sure you use a number in the post title, unless it’s an event. Then just say “new event” or “premier event” or “save your seat.”
- Use bombastic titles and claims like, “The most outrageous ___ you’ll ever see, and that’s not the half of it!”
- Make splelling errors. Ltso of them.
- Write the same post as someone else.
- Report on rumors.
- Forget to finish your post.
Our attention is so precious, so finite. Why waste it?
It’s amazing what happens when you become a magazine editor. You get to see a lot of people’s writing and think about what it means to deliver a piece of content that works well. Between my own project and the opportunity I’ve had lately to look at dozens and dozens of prospective authors’ works, I’m noticing something very recurring in people’s work: a strong urge for people to write their way off a cliff.
One of the most common searches that lands people on my site is “What should I blog about?” One day, while talking with Julien Smith, he said, “You should totally do something with that, like start a project or something.” This was, like most advice Julien gives, great advice, and I did. I ended up gathering hundreds of active weekly subscribers to a product that delivered 10 or more post topic ideas per week, plus more. And then I closed it for a little while, because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next.
This picture is reasonably beautiful street art. I like it because the artist put some time and effort into it. Sure, it’s just a tag, but it’s also something that you know she or he worked to design and perfect. Several notebook pages went into making this look just right before the Krylon hit the cinder blocks.
After winning Game 5 in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett was asked what kept him going, after 17 years in the NBA. He said that he wanted to show people that he was a true professional and that he took pride in the practice of his craft. It resonated with me, especially because today, I’m at BlogWorld Expo in New York City, where I’m giving a talk about what I’ve learned after 14 years of blogging. I would say that what I’ve learned and what I continue to do in this space has everything to do with the hard work of practicing a craft.