IZEAFest Keynote: Merlin Mann

Merlin Mann’s How to Blog keynote presentation in Orlando, FL at IZEAFest covered material he learned over the last four years related to blogging.

  • Just cause it’s easy to post, doesn’t mean you should.
  • What’s a blog? Topic multiplied by voice.
    • It’s hard to have a blog that’s all voice.
    • And it’s hard a blog about all about a topic.
  • You have to find the axis where you find a voice and your topic.
    • Find out what place the blog has in your life.
  • You want to have a blog to genereate a huge amount of traffic and/or money.
    • It’s not the only reason.
    • It means a lot to say things that are meaningful.
    • If a blog is to get traffic, this talk isn’t for you.
  • My concern:
    • I was worried that I wasn’t good fit for the conference.
    • I can’t abuse my blog.
    • It’s good idea to make money to blogs, but it’s not a high success rate
  • We all wanna get better.
    • Speak an authentic manner.
  • Here’s you.
    • There is something you are obsessed about.
    • Think of the first axis is your passion.
    • A blog is can be a set of links or you can bring original content to the Web.
    • Let’s say you want money, success, recognition.
    • One of the greatest honors is to have readers say “I wonder what you think about?”
    • You don’t want to be liked, but you want to be known.
  • Trying:
    • Share Passion.
    • Build Participation.
    • Generate Money.
    • Earn Respect.
    • Encourage Opinion.
    • Get Better.
  • When you try a lot, it means a lot.
    • Trying also has business value.
    • I don’t link to sites that are dumb.
    • If you over-serve the right audience, and you are bound to do well.
  • What I know about blogging:
    • “Find your obsession. Every day, explain it to one person you respect. Edit everything, skip shortcuts, and try not to be a dick. Get better.”
    • “Find your obsession.”
      • Hit them from where there ain’t.
      • Is there room for another site that reviews Social Media 2.0? Probably not.
    • “Every day,”
      • I didn’t say post everyday.
      • If you want to be good everyday, you need to do it everyday.
      • I don’t think you need to post everything that occurs to you.
      • It’s okay to sit on posts on a while.
      • Have about five posts going at once.
      • When you give your brain permission to get better, you want to do it better.
    • “explain it”
      • What is it that you have to say about that topic?
      • Ann Coulter can be talking about anything, people will seek her out cause they love being angry at Ann Coulter.
      • There is tons of content out there with ads around it, but why should people be excited about it.
      • If you were going to start a new blog, then write the fifth blog post.
    • “to one person”
      • Recommends Stephen King book’s On Writing. It’s the second best book on creative writing. (The Creative Habit is the other book.)
      • Think of one person you are writing to that you really admire and write to that person.
      • Imagine that person be really busy.
    • “you respect.”
      • It helps that the person you are writing for is someone you respect.
    • “Edit everything,”
      • At some point editing fell out of style.
      • Getting rid of things that sucked become a waste of time at some point.
      • You should be throwing away a lot of what you make.
      • If the people are you reaching don’t care that you edit, are they people you want in your audience?
    • “skip shortcuts,”
      • The Internet is a thing that works because it’s open. Openness makes it good.
      • You need to show people where you were initially interested in what you are talking about.
      • The Internet is good.
    • “and try not to be a dick.”
      • There’s a very short link between cognition and action.
      • If you are constantly reacting to your emotions, you might regret a lot of things in your life.
      • If you use your platform to spit on it, it’s not very respectful.
    • “Get better.”
      • I try a little bit harder each time I do something.
      • Low quality work is like a potato chip. it tastes good, but it’s short term benefits hurts people who work out.
      • You only get so many years on the marble.
    • Things Not to Sweat:
      • Don’t worry about SEO.
      • Traffic. It will come if you are good.
      • Ads.
      • Design.
      • Fame.
    • Things to Sweat. Now.
      • Figure out what the Why am I doing this? Who do I want to overserve? When do you know when you are doing well? How?
      • Good idea: to write, read, obsess and own your voice.
      • What is the single most important thing that you and no one else can do, but you?
    • It took me four years to figure out.

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