One of the bloggers I've been following for the past few months is Chris Guillebeau. Among other things, he writes about personal development, lifestyle design, entrepreneurship, and international travel on his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity.
I just finished reading one of his free eBooks, 279 Days to Overnight Success, where he writes about how he created a career in social media for himself in less than a year.
Since I'm starting to develop my personal brand, start a career in social media, and become a digital nomad, such information is absurdly useful and interesting to me. I strongly believe in learning from the experiences of others and I am immensely grateful that Chris has shared such valuable information free of charge. (Thanks Chris!)
While reading the book, I compiled a collection of quotes and sentences that stood out the most for me so that I may share them here with you. If you're getting into blogging, or even if you've been blogging for quite some time, 279 Days to Overnight Success is definitely worth checking out! (I mean come'on, it's free!)
The Basics [of starting a new blog]
- Start with the best design you possibly can.
- Spend at least three months creating initial content before hitting the publish button.
- Decide on a clear publishing schedule.
Create a Compelling Story and Build Flagship Content
"Remember, there is no 'everyone' — you want to attract the right people, and part of that process involves gently steering the wrong ones away."
"I spent several weeks writing a 29-page manifesto called a brief guide to World Domination. It defines the way I see the world, what I'm trying to accomplish, and how like-minded people can be part of it."
Prioritize Writing and Marketing over everything else
"Unless you set aside dedicated time to produce your art, the art will not get made. There are some times when making the art is fun, but other times it’s not — so if you want to build something sustain- able, you have to find a way to keep making art during the not-so-fun times."
"No matter what else was going on, the three essays would go up. A few of them were uploaded at 11:55 P.M. from a bad Wi-Fi connection in a random South asian guesthouse, but the principle was 'no matter what,' they are not going to be late."
"I know if I missed a day and nothing happened, then it would be much easier to miss another day. Pretty soon I wouldn’t have much of a schedule, and then I'd have less motivation. It's a downward spiral that I want to avoid, so I keep the schedule sacred."
Answer the "Reason Why" and "What's in it for Me?" Questions
"If someone doesn’t know you, why should they care about what you have to say? Facing down this question can be humbling, but it’s also crucial to your success. you have to plan to answer the “reason why” as soon as possible. What’s in it for the followers?"
Be Bigger Than I Really Am
"I didn't think of myself as an up-and-coming writer; I thought of myself as one of the establishment. I decided, well, I haven't been doing this blogging thing very long, but I've been successful at a lot of other things in life. Most people haven't visited 100 countries or been self-employed their entire life, so surely I have something to bring to the conversation."
"It's important to remember that an internet link is essentially an endorsement. I got a decent amount of traffic from the NYT link, but more importantly, I was able to say that the Times had effectively endorsed my site."
Build Long-Lasting Relationships
"I spent the summer and fall of 2007 actively reading a number of blogs that I identified with. My purpose in doing this was to get comfortable with the kinds of conversation taking place, and observe first-hand how people had successfully grown their blogs."
What Went Wrong (Mistakes and Setbacks)
"I derive too much emotional validation from the daily state of my network. When lots of people are subscribing, the comments are up, and the links are rolling in, I feel great. When the numbers are down, I feel bad. I haven't found a way to solve this yet..."
The cold, hard truth about Adsense
"I'm sorry to break it to you. I know that some people will disagree, but here is the cold, hard truth: Adsense ads suck. They are unbelievable in the truest sense of the word."
"First, do you believe in and endorse the solutions that the companies advertising on your site are offering your customers? Second, do you want to send your hard-earned visitors away from your site?"
"You must understand that unless your site is highly sophisticated, many of the visitors who regularly visit are not as savvy as you are about The Google. They see links from you and think, 'Oh, here's a link from Bob Blogger's site. I trust Bob, so this ad for overseas prescriptions must be legitimate."
"That's the bad news. Unless you can answer yes to the question of 'Do you really think these ads are helping your visitors?' you now have to deal with the problem of cognitive dissonance. From my own experience screwing up my life at different times, I can confidently tell you that believing one thing and doing another does not result in an optimal feeling."
Understanding What Followers Want
"Remember, people follow other people to be informed, entertained, and inspired. Generally, your content must clearly address at least one of these needs."
"You can let a lot of things go and still be successful, but you can't outsource the reason why people came to you in the first place. It's not easy to gain someone's trust, and the trust your followers give you should be kept sacred above all."
The Vampire Chronicles
"Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni calls these kinds of people 'energy-sucking vampires,' and I think that's an accurate description. Instead of contributing value, vampires attempt to take life away from others."
"...my friends have confirmed to me that pretty much anyone who develops an online following ends up with their share of detractors. You can be writing about how to plant flowers for world peace, and once your site becomes popular, the vampires will find you."
Hard Work (and Working for Free)
"In addition to working hard, you have to be willing to work for free for an unknown period of time."
"Working for free may be insane in the outside world, but with most small businesses it is actually quite normal. A branded space in social media is effectively a small business, so think about that before you jump in."
Links are the Currency of the Internet
"I couldn't figure out who first said that, but it is absolutely true. No one will give you links without you earning them. To earn them, you'll need to do something remarkable. When you receive inbound links, it's like getting paid. This may be literal if you have ads or products, but even if not, you are being rewarded with new readers."
More importantly, get out there and be awesome!
"If you have something to say, go and say it. Keep working. Be awesome."
"Keep rocking the universe, and ignore anyone who tells you it's impossible."