Five ways to be a more confident blogger

BLOGGING CONFIDENCE

I have coached and counseled a lot of people on their blogging efforts and there are some common themes I hear …

How do I find the time?

What do I write about?

How do I attract an audience?

But when I start digging, I find that none of these are usually the root cause of blogging problems. It’s something much more subtle — confidence.

That’s right. The biggest problem of all is not time, or ideas, or even organizational support. It’s having the courage to just do it.

This is a BIG DEAL.  It takes guts to put yourself out there to the world. It’s scary to think that somebody might think that you’re dumb or wrong or mis-informed.  For many, blogging can be a terrifying proposition, even though the passionate desire is there.

So I’ve been thinking about this. How can you overcome this trepidation and become a more confident blogger?  Here are five ideas to help!

1. Limit the time you work on a post

Repeat after me: “It’s not going to be perfect, and that’s OK.”

I have never, ever pushed the “publish” button and been 100% happy with anything I have written.  If I waited around for that I still would not have published my first post.  Being an effective blogger means having the courage to be imperfect. In fact, I would argue that is a STRENGTH because it shows you’re human! Hurray for that.

One way to get around this (and also be a better time manager) is to set a limit. Just tell yourself that after two hours (or whatever timeframe you choose), it is what it is. Ideal blog posts for most people are between 500 and 1,000 words. So once you get to that length, you’ve made your point and you’ve run the spell-check … why not hit the publish button?

2. Re-frame the assignment

A lot of people get spooked about the word “blogger” like it is a special designation you need to earn or something. Let’s think of it another way. Can you write one 500-word essay on a topic you are passionate about just once a month? If you can do that, you can blog.

In analog terms, 500 words is one page double-spaced. Heck, you could probably do that 10 minutes before class in your school days. See, it’s not that hard, is it?

3. Write for yourself

I am getting a little fed up with this whole idea of “personas.”  For many, it is a best practice to develop detailed profiles of target customers for our content and then write carefully-crafted pieces that are supposed to appeal to that personality. Seems like a lot of pressure to me.

Let’s just get over that,shall we? Your customers want to know YOU and your ideas, not what you think they want to hear.  Tell YOUR story, don’t write a script. If you’re going to stand out, you need to be orginal. The only way to be original is to be yourself. Relax, have fun and your readers will find you!

4. Take advantage of personal coaching

You can read, and read, and read about blogging but I find sometimes you still need to just talk to somebody to get that little push to get over the hump.  I’m not sure of the psychology behind this, but when I TALK to people about blogging, it seems to have a bigger impact, perhaps a more personal impact, than when they are just reading a post.

You can get a ton of great advice and a boost of confidence in just one hour with a blogging coach. There are tons of people willing to help out there.  Look at some of your favorite blogs and consider: “Is this the type of blog I would like to aspire to” and see if they will help you. They probably will and it could be an excellent investment of your time and a little bit of money.

5. Put fear of the negative in context

I’m working on an entire post about strategies to deal with negativity but first, let’s be realistic. It is highly unlikely that you are going to get hate mail over your blog post.

In four years of blogging, I have received more than 25,000 comments from readers. Here is how many I have deleted because they were inappropriate: SIX.  That is two hundredths of a percent.

That is not to say I don’t have dissenters, or even some hot debates, but that’s part of the fun, right?  The point is, overall your social media connections are going to be helpful, supportive, and kind. Don’t create embarrassments in your mind that are simply never going to materialize. Focus on the overwhelmingly positive potential ahead of you — the chance to meet new friends, learn, hone a new skill, have fun, and perhaps create new business opportunities.

Blogging has changed my life and this is a magical time when ANYBODY can grab this opportunity and publish so your voice has a place in the world. Don’t let fear stop you.

How are you finding the courage to take that big step?

Image courtesy DC Comics. And I can’t wait for the new Superman movie! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

All posts

  • Claire Axelrad

    Love your posts and all your great advice! But… not sure about getting over personas. YOU can write for yourself, because you’ve got personality to spare — and that’s what folks are buying. If they want something else, they’ll go elsewhere and children won’t starve. I work primarily with nonprofits, and they’ve really got to find the match between the values they enact and the folks who share those values. Lot’s of research has been done about why donors give/stop giving, and it all boils down to the fact that donors say: “Show me that you know me.” If we’re not centered on them, and what they care about, they’ll abandon us. So we’ve got to know who we’re writing to.

    Of course, nothing is black and white. I do write for myself a lot, because I write what I’m passionate about. I find, however, that when what I write strikes a chord with my readers I become even more passionate. So I think I should think about personas more. 🙂

  • Pingback: Five ways to be a more confident blogger | Simply Social Media | Scoop.it()

  • I think there’s a difference between listening to and understanding your audience (always a good thing) and using personas to to help you pander. Listening well allows you to “show me that you know me” as a person and not just a persona; I want to know you the same way, and the more you allow me in to your genuine self, the more likely that is to happen. So for me it’s a matter of “know the real person, respond (or reach out) as a real person.” Also, looking at a dictionary definition of persona just now and coming up with the Jungian meaning of “mask or facade,” the notion of speaking to and/or from personas becomes even less appealing.

  • Marielle Borthwick

    I say YES to #3 Write for yourself. I love writing letters to someone I care about, and that’s how I also write my blog. In my blog I express my own thoughts and opinions to my reader as a someone I care for, even though they might not like or agree with my viewpoint.

  • Great advice Mark! Thank you for sharing this motivational post for finding the courage “to be a more confident blogger.” I have found anxiety, and fear to be future oriented. and when I stay in the ‘now’ helping people transform their lives — my creativity, passion, and purpose appear to capture my confidence, and imagination.

  • Hi Marielle, Writing letters to someone you care about is a good example of No. 3. Knowing your audience so well gives you as the writer a freedom of expression and reduces the fear of a negative response (No. 5). It also substitutes the drafted persona Mark mentions with a real person. In other words, your writing becomes more authentic and less canned.

  • Philip_Cummings

    Needed to read this today. I have about 10 posts in my draft queue and can’t seem to let go of any of them. This is very timely advice, Mark. Thanks.

  • Mark,

    To touch on your first point, the errors or left of thoughts I find in past work often make for fantastic posts in the future. You can write an article about why your previous article was complete crap or spin like “look how quickly the world changes,” or talk about how you’ve grown as a blogger/writer.

    Realizing there is no such thing as the perfect work is an incredible release.

    Great article,

    Hanley

  • Pingback: Five ways to be a more confident blogger | Wood Street Content Marketing Collection | Scoop.it()

  • Pingback: Five ways to be a more confident blogger | Comunicación, Cooperación y Coordinación | Scoop.it()

  • Well, I found my courage when @kamichat gently “pushed” me… to guest blog for her. I can’t tell you how scared I was. Now, I’m still hesitant sometimes, but have a little bit more confidence than I used to. All of your points are great, Mark, but I think #3 is really important. That is something I struggled with a LOT early on; I do so now as well, but not so much.

    “Will they like it?” is the question we keep asking ourselves. Some of my “best” (according to me, how I felt about their truth, how they were reacted to) posts were those where I asked myself that question several times, couldn’t decide whether “they” would or not, but felt so strongly about the posts that I published anyway. And I felt great once they were out. And more often than not, they sparked terrific conversation.

  • This is great Mark. One can never hear too many times about the importance of being yourself on your blog. I’ve got 173 posts behind me and at the current one, someone said I had changed my voice. Sadly (?) I believe I have just FOUND it! Took a while 😮
    It’s a process, right?
    Lori

  • Pingback: Five ways to be a more confident blogger | Market to real people | Scoop.it()

  • I’d even go as far as to say the ideal post should be between 300-500 words or it better be good. 🙂

  • Certainly valid points Claire.

    I recently had a talk with a CMO who is an expert in her field and has worked with her customers for years. She was exasperated with “expert” advice that was recommending she spend considerable time and effort on persona development. “I know my customers better than anyone,” she said. “Why do I need to go through this effort?” Of course, she didn’t and her blog rocked.

    Just another point of view. I believe as a marketing person — whether for a company or a non-profit — you should know your customers better than anyone. So why write to these fake profiles? I think we over-think things sometimes.

    Many thanks for your comment!

  • Same here. Something simple, and from the heart, seems to be so powerful sometimes!

  • Stay centered. We can’t please everyone and it sounds like you’re getting into a groove Lori!

  • Best advice: Write for yourself. You can please all the people some of the time, and maybe all of the people some of the time, but you will never please 100% of people 100% of the time…

  • Agreed, 600 words is just about Perfect in my opinion

  • I love your humanistic approach, Mark! You make it sound so natural and EASY!

  • I so needed to read this today! Been trying to write a guest post and was just not getting anywhere. I’m going to read through this again in the morning and tackle it when I’m fresh and rested. And with a timer. 🙂

  • Great advice – I often find that my lengthier posts span days. It can be daunting to first time bloggers to see meaty posts from other people, yet little is it known that it can take hours at a time to bring together lots of information.

  • It’s not always easy, but it is so worth it. I so hope people will at least try because it can be so rewarding! Thanks for the nice comment Gennifer!

  • Hurray. Glad I could help out!

  • Pingback: Blog Courageous or Careful? ← Social Blot()

  • Gaye

    Great advice. I’m trying to post more often and get over the perfectionist thing. You’re right. No matter how many times I proofread, as soon as I hit publish I see 3 more things wrong. Whoops. Perfect is boring, right? Right? 🙂
    Gaye

  • People waste two hours writing a blog post? Seriously, Mark?

    I’ve found a direct correlation between the least amount of time I spend writing something, the least amount of words in the post, and the greater frequency of people commenting and sharing it.

  • Fantastic post, Mark! Though I had excelled in writing ever since grade school, my biggest challenge was procrastination. Over the decades, friends told me that I should become a writer, but it never felt like the right time. I suppose I didn’t want to do it for anyone else; I wanted to become a writer only if I felt a sense of sustained inspiration towards it.

    Just over a year ago, I started a blog writing about whatever subjects came to mind. But before long, I made the decision to turn it into a movie blog because I’ve been a devoted cinephile for all of my life. The outpouring of support and encouragement has been remarkable. It’s true that if you focus on what you love, and share your enthusiasm for it, people will want to engage and return for more.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and continued success to you.

    Zoey

  • Pingback: Five ways to be a more confident blogger | Social Media and Internet Marketing | Scoop.it()

  • Pingback: Five ways to be a more confident blogger | Online Media News()

  • An inspiring success story Zoey! Thanks for sharing!

  • I would say my post writing time varies from 20 min to many hours if it is complex and risky. I may let a post sit for weeks and keep coming back to it to make sure it is complete and balanced. Most of my writing time is making the post shorter. It takes time to be succinct!

  • Pingback: Just Write()

  • No kidding? If I see myself writing something for hours, I delete it and start fresh. If it takes me a while to get my ideas out of my head, it will take that long for people to understand it. That also usually means that one blog post becomes several.

  • Sometimes it works that way for me too. but more often I find that once I get the words out the first time, it’s too long and complicated. I just spill it out. Then I need to figure out how to make the idea digestible! : ) I want to write a post that packs a punch, not waste people’s time. Thanks Ari!

  • Pingback: Jump into the fog with me()

  • Tomorrow is my 2-year anniversary of blogging. I started with one goal in mind: to stop the self-editor in me. Mission accomplished. It’s been a roller coaster ride, but I can honestly say I’m now in a place where I’m following something that TheJackB wrote at the end of one of his posts: “Just write baby, just write.” I have it framed on my desk, and it always makes me smile…and write. Cheers! Kaarina

  • That Jack guy seems to know a thing or two. 😉

  • Love this, Mark, especially your first point. Yes, I can proof read an article 20 times and find little things to change. I always have to force myself to hit Publish even though the article may not be perfect. Hey, that’s what the Update button is for, right?

  • And Carolyn rocks her blog.

  • The Jack B knows things. [grin] You’re not shabby either, Kaarina.

  • Aw, thanks @faryna:disqus 🙂 And he does indeed @TheJoshuaWilner:disqus

  • Sheetal Sharma

    Great post! Confidence and the ability to take criticism is all it takes to run a successful blog. In the world of blogging, one who has the capacity to take reactions with a pinch of salt are the most satisfied people,at Synechron, Kulwinder Singh makes sure this point is well understood by his team.

  • Greatly appreciated, Mark! It’s a pleasure. Thank you for inspiring so many writers and bloggers by sharing your extensive experience. A strong support network can make all the difference.

    Cheers!

    Zoey

  • Great post Mark…especially #1. When I first started blogging, it would take me over 2 hours to do one post! I thought it needed to be perfect before publishing. Now, I write passionately, edit and submit that sucker!

  • Pingback: Essential Reading – Campfire Chic()

  • Pingback: Pardon the Interruption…()

  • Thanks Dana. Go for it!

  • Yes, she does!

  • Hi, Mark, to your closing question…the courage comes, too, with continuing to blog when you aren’t getting the traffic/leads/comments you’re striving for. Recently, you tweeted about a post of mine, calling the writing “superb.” That was awesome. I appreciated it greatly. But then the “ok, the writing and information are good, but what’s the point if only a few people and my mother are reading it?” question pops up. But I’m forging ahead knowing it might help someONE. I enjoy your posts a ton (and just bought the book you discussed on your Spin Sucks chat.)

  • Pingback: Blog Courageous or Careful? | Blot()

  • Pingback: Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. | Just Write()

  • Great post on all points.

The Marketing Companion Podcast

Why not tune into the world’s most entertaining marketing podcast that I co-host with Tom Webster.

View details

Let's plot a strategy together

Want to solve big marketing problems for a little bit of money? Sign up for an hour of Mark’s time and put your business on the fast-track.

View details

Close