May 10, 2008

Seven Tips On Using This Medium

Many of you are probably sick of hearing the pundits blow an endless array of social media garbage at you ... blog blog blog blog blog blog wiki blog twitter twitter blog blog social media blog blog blog friendfeed blog blog blog blog comments blog blog blog facebook blog blog blog myspace blog blog blog community blog blog blog.

And yet, our multichannel community is starting to get a vibe about this stuff.

Given that I've made every possible mistake you can make using this medium, here's a few thoughts about getting started.

Tip #7 = Ignore Links. Would you rather have 95 subscribers and 5 bloggers linking to you, or would you rather have 5 subscribers and 95 bloggers linking to you? In the early days of your effort, you'll probably focus too much on links, since it seems easier to get bloggers to pay attention to you than actual human beings. Focus on actual human beings!

Tip #6 = Ignore Pap. You're always better off writing about something unique than linking to a Seth Godin article and then adding your two-cents worth on his topic. I'd also stay away from criticizing a brand that failed to provide outstanding customer service. You're competing against 50,000 bloggers who do the same thing (some for a living), and quite honestly, there's nothing satisfying about blasting McDonalds when the drive through employee fails to add french fries to your bag.

Tip #5 = Content > Platform. I recall being criticized for using the Blogger platform. Who cares? People don't follow you because you're a Wordpress guru, they follow you because you add something meaningful to the lives of others.

Tip #4 = Comments Are Overrated. Yup, they're overrated. If you want to be part of a community, hang out on Twitter. This medium is evolving, becoming more of a journalistic medium and less of a medium that supports interactive discussions.

Tip #3 = Your Big Break Won't Happen. And that's a good thing! I've written 800 posts in two years. Eight hundred posts yielded almost 1,200 subscribers. That means each post causes a net of 1.5 new subscribers. Ladies and gentlemen, that's a lot of hard work to get one or two incremental new subscribers. For every "Stuff White People Like", there's ten thousand writers like you and I. You don't want a hundred thousand subscribers --- you no longer control your life when a hundred thousand subscribers make demands of you.

Tip #2 = Be Ready For Demands. Demands are different for everybody. At some point, a few folks noticed this blog. Since then, there's been a sometimes dizzying array of folks demanding something of me, something that benefits only the requester. Plan ahead, think about where you will "draw the line". Who will you help, who won't you help, and why?

Tip #1 = Be Yourself. Don't copy anybody. Write using your own voice. Write about something you have passion for. Write at a frequency that suits your style. Don't worry about short posts or long posts. Everything else will take care of itself.


  1. Great post, particularly the opening paragraph. As I read your points, I said to myself, "I've got to ask this guy about..." Then I read your second point. Oh well.

    As an author or co-author of four blogs myself, you raise excellent points.

    I'll be reading...


  2. Thanks for the nice comment, Glenn!


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