What Mom, Dad, and Baseball Taught Me About BloggingThought Leader---Wow! That is a title I could really get used to. Seriously, who doesn’t want to be called a thought leader, right?
If, as experts would lead you to believe, everyone can become a thought leader by blogging their brains out, giving seminal speeches, writing insightful white papers and ebooks, pod casting, and pontificating, then there would be no followers, just leaders. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as though my head is about to explode from the daily deluge of digital drivel being dished up by a legion of self-appointed thought leaders.
In today’s digital dogfight, it’s no longer enough to simply blog. Now our blogs must be “rich in content.” Doesn’t that sound like something out of an ad for rich and creamy coffee? I think rich content means that instead of writing mediocre content, we now need to bang out brilliant pearls of wisdom that are so different from anything else out there that they will be shared widely and enthusiastically in the digital sphere. After all, sharing is caring. New leads will enter your digital orb and voila, a thought leader you shall be. Your tweets will be re-tweeted, your LinkedIn followers will grow like weeds, your business prospects, or top of the funnel, will overflow, and conversion will be as simple as pouring a cup of rich, creamy coffee.
So what’s a blogger to do? Here are three simple things to set you on your way to becoming a thought leader and master of the digital universe.
1. Listen to Mom and Dad and be persistent
When I was a kid, all I ever wanted was to play first base for the Boston Red Sox. After all, how hard could it be? I could rule Fenway Park and get to still live at home with my mom and dad. My parents, like all parents, did not try to dissuade me from my lofty dreams. They smiled and told me to keep practicing and that one day, I would play for the Sox. It didn’t quite pan out the way I hoped, but I kept plugging away, eventually settling on other, less lofty goals and pursuits. Blogging improves with the same kind of persistence. Not everyone becomes a blogger overnight. Write, write, and then write some more. Eventually you’ll find your voice and discover that you have something worthwhile to say and people will start to take notice. Don’t let the doubters deter you.
2. Write what you know. Do it your own way.
When I was in the sixth grade, my school had the annual father-son baseball game. I was mortified. My parents had recently moved from England and my dad had no clue how to throw a baseball. He could chuck a cricket ball pretty darn well, but a baseball? I begged him not to come and embarrass me in front of all my friends and their baseball-throwing dads. Not be dissuaded, my father decided to prove that a cricketer could throw a baseball as well as anyone. Out to the pitching mound he walked as I tried to hide my face and the rest of my four-foot, 80-pound frame in my glove. He took four massive strides, ala cricket style, from the mound, pulled his arm back over his head with a straight arm and “bowled.” The ball hurtled towards the plate. Looking on in disbelief, I watched as he proceeded to strike out all the opposing teams players and their dads. “See?” he said, “This baseball thing isn’t that hard.” Good blogging is kind of like throwing a cricket ball in a baseball game. While you might not be throwing the ball exactly the way everyone else is or how the so-called thought leaders have told you to, if you know your subject matter and you know it well, you too can deliver a few strikes of your own. Sometimes when everyone is zigging, you’ve got to zag a little.
3. There are no original thoughts except your own experiences
In your quest to become a thought leader, you have to blog about something, but how in heck are you going to come up with something that shines through the clutter in a world overrun with content and information? After all isn’t that what writing rich content is all about? The best content flows from your own experiences. Your telling of those experiences gives them meaning and insight for your readers. Not everything you say has to be the most seminal piece of writing since the Magna Carta. If I can read your blog and glean one bit of advice or a little nugget of information, I will be back for more. Just give me something that I can hold on to. A client story, a recent trip, a failure you made and what you learned.
So stop worrying about creating the ultimate blog post and simply tell me a story. I might become convinced that you’re a thought leader and follow you.
Find out you can become a thought leader, kick a little ass and take a few names.