Blog Courageous or Careful?
This post first appeared on Jared’s old blog on February 5, 2013. The original comments can be found there.
In his post today on Businesses Grow, Mark Schaefer talks about a new blogger’s biggest problem: Lack of confidence. He gives some good advice for getting over the fear of putting your work out there on the world wild web.
I want to share his article with you because I know some of you are struggling with this. However, when you read it you’ll probably see some apparent conflicts between Mark’s advice and some of the things I’ve said in class.
First, go read Mark’s post. I’ll be here when you get back.
Now, let’s go over a few of the points that seem contentious.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
Mark wants you to realize that your posts aren’t going to be perfect. He suggests setting a time limit when you’re writing them. When your time is up, you publish (within reason).
You know how important I think it is to develop your web-writing skills and style. You probably already realize that I’m a pretty big stickler for proofreading. You may even agree with me that you should strive for mistake-free posts. Mark has a good point though.
Perfection can be paralysing. Getting new posts up and learning from each one is more important than torturing yourself trying to make each one perfect. This is especially true when you’re just getting started.
That doesn’t mean you should abandon your attempts at writing clearly and well. Writing great posts takes more than running spell-check before you hit publish. Improve your skills with each post, but it’s alright to learn by doing.
Write As Yourself
Mark suggests writing for yourself instead of trying to script out what you think your audience wants to hear.
I agree with him to a point. Write in your voice. Write your stories. But choose the stories that will be helpful and interesting for other people. Write in a way that will help people connect with your posts.
Talk it Out
Mark is talking about blogging coaches here. We’re lucky. We have each other.
On a related note, talking through a post idea with a friend can be really helpful. Explaining a topic to someone else helps you work through your ideas, test them out, organize them and maybe even come up with new ones.
Turn an idea into a conversation. Then turn the conversation into a post. (Bonus points: Turn the post back into a conversation online.)
Don’t be Scared
I like Mark’s comments about not focussing on what could go wrong. Get out there and get some experience instead.
Besides, if you do get some negative feedback, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to deal with it constructively. That’s a great skill to have when you’re managing communications for a company or client in the future.
And Mark’s right: The pros outweigh the cons. Take the chance to express yourself, make connections, get leads and have some fun with your blog.
What do you think? Are my comments in class and Mark’s suggestions compatible? Mark, if you’re out there, did I get it right?