Last week, Ron Burgundy stopped by the offices to lend his brain nuggets to the faithful readers of For Bloggers, By Bloggers. Well, have I got a treat for you this week! Via a shaky Skype connection to the Dagobah System, I got a hold of the miniature Jedi Knight all other Knights respect: Yoda. He may be small and his grammar might be a little off, but he wanted to share some advice on creating quality content for your blogs. You’d better listen to him too, because if you don’t his little spirit will haunt you.
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”
A question I get asked a lot when it comes to blog consulting is, “How long should my blog posts be?” It’s a tough question to answer because there’s not a specific one that is right. Some will look to Seth Godin and say that in order to be powerful, stick to one idea and say it as succinctly as possible. Others can look to writers like Ingrid Abboud, who normally leaves comments longer than Godin posts, or Marcus Sheridan, AKA The Sales Lion, and come to the conclusion that the best writing thoroughly dives into a point and convinces you beyond a shadow of a doubt what the right point of view is.
I’m starting this post off with this example on purpose to let you know sometimes there isn’t a right answer, but there’s always a right answer for you. Yoda talks a lot about “The Force” and I believe you can harness that for yourself. There is a force that drives you, that makes you write, and that inspires you. Tap into that Force every time you sit down to write a blog post and you won’t go wrong. Whether your post turns out to be 97 words or over 2,000, if you’ve made your point and let your Force guide you, it’s the right length.
“Do or do not… there is no try.”
“I tried to blog, I just couldn’t keep to a schedule/think of things to write about/find an audience/etc.” Then you failed. There’s no two ways about this, if you want to blog, then write, write a lot, and don’t stop writing. You started this game because you had a Force driving you. Very rarely will that Force just up and leave. Your audience is out there, spend more time looking for them. Find a schedule that works, and then stick to it like a job. Scour online news or sources like this one for ideas, there’s no shortage of them.
Blog or blog not, there is no try.
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
A lot of things come up to be scared of in blogging. It’s easy to hold back and not say what you want because you’re afraid of angering people or losing members of your audience. An important thing that Yoda teaches us is that, when it comes to writing, fully understand what those things are that scare you, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to overcome them.
It’s incredibly easy to find excuses that sound good for why you sidestep an issue or ignore a topic you care about, but once you name and understand the latent fears keeping you from reaching your full potential, it becomes easier to look them in the face to confront and overcome them. You can’t overcome what you refuse to look at.
[In response to the question "What's in there?"] “Only what you take with you.”
Writing is a personal act. Whatever you may be writing about, you will always bring yourself into the equation. What’s in your blog? You are. What’s your blog about? You. You can’t escape who you are and Yoda wants you to know that that’s the entire point. Writing can serve as a spelunking adventure into your own soul. If you write long enough, you’ll discover things about yourself that you didn’t even know.
Looking into it, blogging can seem like a dark, scary room in which you have no idea what you’ll face. It becomes tempting to want to know beforehand what you’ll find and face. It’s okay, because the only thing in there that you’ll face is yourself, and you’re pretty cool.
[In response to "I can't believe it!"] “And that is why you fail.”
“Blogging doesn’t work”, “Blogging is a waste of time”, “You spend too much time writing about things no one cares about.” You’ll probably hear all of those things (I know I have). Yoda wants you to know that the only person that truly has to believe in what you’re doing in you. You’ll find supporters and readers and friends along the way, but if you have doubts and you don’t believe in yourself from the start, that’s when you’ve already lost.
You have something to talk about or you wouldn’t have thought about blogging in the first place. Believe in your message and then believe in those people that begin to believe in you along the way. Protect them and your faith in yourself and you’ll never fail.
Galaxy Far, Far Away
Yoda has many things to teach us, but most of his lessons revolve around our understanding of ourselves and what we want out of our endeavors. Take the time to understand yourself and your own motivations and inspirations and everything else will fall into place.
You know it’s true, Yoda said so.