Tag Archives: openca.mp

How to Blog Successfully: Community, Content, and Commerce


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I was asked to discuss ways to become a successful blogger for my recent OpenCa.mp presentation. When deciding how best to approach this subject, I knew I had to dig all the way back to my beginnings. I needed to reconnect with where I started from… specifically the feelings of inspiration I had from the moment I sent my first email. Having done this Internet thing for so many years now, I’ve learned a trick or three. Most people will tell you that having good content is the key to becoming a successful blogger. I’m here to tell you that that is only 1/3 of the equation.

Community. Content. Commerce.

You don’t have to be perfect to start doing something. The tools are out there to help you get going. Don’t worry about fancy setups or expensive equipment. It’s not about that. If that’s what’s holding you back then you’re holding yourself back. It’s NOT the technology’s fault.

I’ve long explained that community is inside of each of you. Your interests are wherever you go. Your blog could be an extension of that. Community, though, is not separate from commerce and content. They all flow together. If you lose focus on any of the three, there’s a larger chance you will fail.

There are definitely times you should listen to your community, but you are ultimately in control of your direction. The people who follow you will tell you when something isn’t working right, trust me on this. They will be quite loud about it. If you listen carefully, though, they’ll also tell you when you’re doing things right. They will tell you simply by retweeting your links, by commenting on your posts and by just communicating with each other.

You WILL have detractors. Screw them, though. Think of it this way – for every person who hates what you’re doing, there will be hundreds or thousands of others who love things just the way they are. Don’t let that naysayer stop you from being YOU. Don’t live your life (not even on your blog or social media outlets) for someone else.

One of the key things to remember when you are creating content that it doesn’t really matter what you’re saying, or what your intentions are. It’s all about how people react to what you’ve done, and how they project themselves onto you. You need to keep that in your head at all times. If someone becomes upset over something you have shared with them, that’s on them. Your content is only genuine if YOU are genuine.

Your blog is your nexus point. Every piece of content you create should flow directly back there. I consider Leo Laporte to be a good friend. I admire the work he does, and think that he’s extremely smart. However, I had to shake my head in amazement recently. He wrote a blog post talking about how Google Buzz had let him down. Content he had created was just – gone. It was no longer anywhere to be found. He commented that he should go “back to the blog.” My counter to that is simple “Why did you ever stop?” Your blog is yours. You own that. You own the content you create. No matter how many other sites you belong to and create content for, it has to come together into one central place. That nexus should be your blog.

You are already a success. How you measure your success is up to you.

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Caption This Conference Photo

While at Openca.mp last weekend, I couldn’t help but ham it up for Ian Aberle’s camera. Your task is to caption these pictures, either here in the blog comments or directly on Flickr. Let’s see how much more hilarious you can make these shots by adding your words.

The Many Faces of Chris Pirillo

I personally think that one of these should become my new profile picture… but which one?

Social Media SEO

During my time in Texas at OpenCa.mp this past weekend, I reconnected with an old friend. Lee Odden used to write about Marketing on Lockergnome back in the day, and it’s great to see all of the things he has accomplished since that time. Not only did both of us go skydiving with the Army Golden Knights, we were both honored to speak at the event.

Lee and I took a few moments out of our hectic schedules to discuss SEO specifically as it applies to social media.

The things I do are SEO-like in nature… but I’m not an SEO person per se. Everything I do is organic. I create solid content and make sure to use keywords that people may be looking for. The funny thing about social media is that some of us have been doing it since before it was even a term. It has allowed us to really get to know the type of person that someone is. That tends to cause us to be taken advantage of at times, sure. The tools are in place for all of us to use. But it’s easy to see who is gaming the system. Those are the types of the people I won’t follow. This is what I mean by taking advantage of things and people.

Someone who takes an anti-transparent approach is someone I don’t want to associate with. I strive to be as transparent as humanly possible with my business and my life. When a person has to work at NOT being transparent, you have to wonder what the hell is wrong with them – and their business.

Yes, you should use certain tools to help you. But there are a handful of them floating around which are just bad – almost as though you’re cheating the system. Don’t fall victim to get rich fast schemes. Don’t let yourself be swayed by a fast-talker who claims they can turn your site into the most-visited place online. These things will do nothing but set you back several steps, causing you to lose site of your original goal.

You cannot just exist in one place online. It doesn’t matter how people find you. It just matters that they DO find you.

The biggest tip I have for you when you’re starting out on your own blogging journey is that you should not spend any money. There are numerous platforms and design tools available that will not cost you a single penny. You will find plenty of things to help you achieve your dreams without spending a bucket full of money.