In our forthcoming book, Impact, we’re going to reveal the secrets of becoming a MediaMaster, which we define as a ThoughtLeader® who knows how to leverage both old and new media to build the most powerful platform possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is simply by publishing strong, consistent and unique content. The question for you is, which form of content best suits your persona and message?
Blogging can be an incredibly effective way to create a powerful ongoing impact.
1. Finding Your Voice
If you’re lucky, you already have a distinctive “voice” (or personality) that is unique and that people will gravitate to. If you’re not that fortunate, it may take some time to develop. However, it won’t develop unless you dive in and start blogging as often as you can.
That said, it may be a great idea to start writing blogs, but not actually post your first few blogs until you’re confident in both the content and the style. Instead, keep writing until you feel you have a few posts worth looking at.
A voice that fits your personality will be the most natural and easiest to sustain over the long haul, allowing you to create the most long- range impact. “Write like you talk” is a common piece of advice for bloggers—and you may find it’s the best way for you to get the job done.
2. The Grind
When you’re blogging successfully, you constantly have to come up with new ideas, new content and new ways of keeping it fresh. Even writing a book is a finite proposition; blogging can go on forever (or at least seem like it!).
Here are a few tips to help you cope with the never-ending task in front of you.
• Keep It Short When Appropriate
There’s nothing wrong with short, punchy posts when they work. It gets you off the hook and makes for a quick read for your following. But don’t make it an everyday thing. People need some substance from you too!
• Keep Going When Inspired
There’s nothing wrong, when you have a creative wind at your back, with writing multiple posts at one sitting. By creating a pool of posts that you can use whenever, you give yourself the freedom to take the day off from blogging when you need to.
• Break into Parts When Necessary
Tackling a topic that requires some lengthy explanations? Don’t short-change the subject matter by trying to cram it into one single blog. Instead, first take as much space as you need to write up the whole post, then break it into parts. This also motivates a casual reader to come back the next day (and hopefully make checking out your blog a habit!).
• Write about Stuff You WANT to Write About
When you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you get more excited about doing it. So, make that idea work for your blog. Tap into your enthusiasms when you’re writing your blog (as long as they’re relevant to your area of expertise)—and feel free to occasionally write about fun aspects of your life too.
3. Your Blogging Platform
In general, you’ll want to set up your own blogging site, either as an add-on to your current website or by setting up a dedicated page through a provider such as WordPress. But, wherever you blog, you want to make sure that you’re able to immediately share any posts on your various social media accounts, because that’s where you’ll obviously attract the most eyeballs.
And, by the way, if you want to know a great way to avoid your blogs getting lost in the shuffle, always try to use an arresting visual (photo or graphic) for each blog you write.
And speaking of images, video content contains a multitude of them— which is why it continues to explode in popularity for content providers. There’s no question that text content dominated the online world through the early years. However, in 2005, YouTube made its Internet debut, bandwidth grew and suddenly video experienced explosive growth. That growth continues today – as I’m sure you’ve noticed.
• Is Video Right for You?
To make videos that will have impact, there needs to be a strong performance element in place. But…if you feel uncomfortable performing for the camera, and it shows, you’ll either want to keep practicing until you smooth out those wrinkles or stick to text-based blogs.
We’ve been doing videos for years, so they’re kind of second nature for us—we don’t have to sweat going into our studio and talking about whatever message we want to put out there. The only way to get to that place is to keep doing videos—even if the only person who sees the results is you—while you’re still developing your video personality.
VIDEO VS. TEXT
Watching a video is very passive. It’s much less demanding and more of an automatic process, asking a lot less energy and effort of us. Reading, in contrast, is much harder on our heads; we need longer attention spans and deeper cognitive efforts to get the job done.
So that’s a win for video, right? Well, not so fast. Because reading requires so much more focus on our parts, it also means our minds are much more active when we do it. That means the reader will absorb and take in the content at a much deeper level. Text-based content has also been shown to be more critical to actual decision-making.
Your personal Video vs. Text call may be a little difficult to make—if so, try doing a few blogs each way and see which medium works best for you. And don’t forget, mixed media blogging can also be incredibly successful.
WRITING A BOOK
Putting our clients into books is one of our favorite ways to bring them prestige and prominence in their professions or marketing niches, because becoming an author is still … well, in the words of Ron Burgundy from Anchorman, “kind of a big deal.” Many people (including us!) have closed some impressive deals based on their authoring success. To truly be a MediaMaster in any age, it’s almost essential at some point to put out your own book.
• When to Publish
Most publishers won’t even consider a book unless the author already has a robust online presence in place. They want a pre-built audience that’s ready to snap up what you have to say (and they have to sell).
Self-publishing is also a great approach for many. Once you’ve put in some time blogging and hopefully building a following, you will have a dedicated group primed and ready to buy your book. Not only that, you will have had some time to really hone your message and content. Through this process, you’ll be able to create a book with true Impact. And, if you’re lucky, you can even repurpose some of your blogging content and make it a part of your book, facilitating the actual writing experience.
Of course, if you feel like you already have the perfect book inside you, you may want to reverse the process and put out your book as quickly as possible to establish yourself. This will give you immediate credibility in your field and a platform to build from.
BOOKS, VIDEO & BLOGS
Books, video and blogs are three important ways we advocate for delivering content to your current and potential followers, clients and customers. There are others that can come into play—various informational products, speeches, podcasts, etc.—if you’re inclined to explore them.
What’s important is to discover which delivery system best suits you personally and also allows you to reach a big enough audience. When you discover the right balance, that’s when you will really make a huge impact.