You type out your thoughts and ideas.
Sometimes words flow easily and your fingers, though nimble, can’t keep pace. Other times you type, delete, backspace, start again. You stare at the white of your screen, the blinking cursor. You wait for the words to come.
When you finish your post, those three or four or five hundred hard-won words: you tweet, you wait. You’re looking for a response, some comments or a string of re-tweets. You want to be read. You want to be heard. You want your words to make a difference — to someone, somewhere.
You may blog to build your business, build your portfolio, or build your life. But what you’re really building is the opportunity to influence others.
Even if you tell yourself that you are blogging for yourself (to practice writing, to keep a record of your life) or only for your family (to keep them up-to-date on your life, to make it easy to share pictures), you might secretly wish that your blog will connect with others, grow a following — that through it, you will find community, find new opportunities, or land a book deal.
Your desire to be influential may be clearly stated or well-hidden.
My new series of posts will explore influence and blogging, offering ideas and suggestions you can implement in 2011 to increase your influence.
As we begin, I want to encourage you to reflect on a few questions. Answer here, in the comments, or answer in a post on your blog and link in the comments here so we can all learn from your ideas.
How do you measure success as a blogger?
What are your primary objectives in blogging? What are your hidden objectives?
What are you willing to invest to increase your influence?
Note: My idea for this series began with a conversation with Chris Edmonds, who is relatively new to the leadership blogging scene. You can follow him on Twitter @scedmonds; engage him in conversation: he’s listening! If you haven’t met him or checked out his excellent blog, I encourage you to do so, today. Chris has a passion to help people affect change within their organizations. His weekly posts — look for new posts on Mondays — can be easily applied to increase your effectiveness as a person and a leader. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him and introduce him to you. Chris, I look forward to more conversations and collaboration in the future.
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
Wow, I thought you had been sitting next to me while I tried to word-smith my articles for my blog. I am very new to blogging, just started my blog back on December 14th. I blog about Leadership and how everyone can improve in it, no matter where you are or what you do.
I hope that I influence others to become better people, if they become better leaders because of that, then I’m really happy. I believe that if we, as leaders, attempt to make a difference in the lives of those around us, the rest will take care of itself.
As mentioned, I want influence. I measure my success by the comments made and by those around me that I value. My hidden agenda, if any, would be that I am going to be retiring from the Navy in a few months. I hope that a future employer will read my blog and see the type of leader I am. Hopefully, this causes them to seek me out and offer me a job Leading people. I invest many hours everyday on my blog and via social media. As you stated, Hoping that more people will continue to follow my articles and grow from them.
Thank you for this post, your time and expertise. I look forward to reading more of your articles.
Thanks for sharing about your objectives here. It’s helpful to state them — the obvious ones and the hidden ones. Those statements can be powerful reminders for you when you may feel discouraged or overwhelmed by your work.
I am grateful that you are engaging here and I look forward to sharing this journey with you: here and at Voices of Leadership.
I confess, I still need to begin blogging. I am, for now, content with following great people who are influencing me a lot. This increases the value of my influence as I share and RT.
Starting a blog this year is one personal goal. You’ll be one of the first friends I’ll inform and invite once I get on it.
In the meantime, please know that I eagerly anticipate the following feeds in this series.
An awesome 2011 to you!
Let me know if you need any help as you begin. I’m here for you and excited to see your plans and dreams of a blog take shape.
I read blogs for years before I began writing one. If you’ve done the same, my guess is that all the reading and interacting has prepared you far more than you realize.
2011 is going to be great! Glad for your friendship at the start of this new year.
A colleague asked me the same questions after I had posted my first blog post last year. She told me my posts were too long and that they were not focused enough. People might start reading but they probably wouldn’t finish and they certainly wouldn’t return…
I said I wanted my blog to improve the visibility of my business, to be a place where people could find out more about me and what I do. I did hope it would influence people – but I wasn’t exactly sure how. She said I was wasting my time.
Thirteen months later I have my first three guest bloggers lined up for the new year and I am going to add a monthly video interview series. I don’t have a huge number of subscribers but there is a very satisfying peak in the statistics when I post each week.
Success? It is nice when people post comments on your posts. Nicer still is when people I know personally say that something I have written has touched them. Influence? One of those comments every now and again is enough.
Hidden objectives? I enjoy the writing. I want to get better at communicating with the written word and a blog gives me both the reason and the mechanism to do that. Anything else is icing on the cake.
I am looking forward to the rest of this series Becky. Thanks for making me think.
Welcome, and thanks for taking the time to share your responses to my questions. I’m glad for the opportunity to make you think. I hope the rest of the series is at least equally helpful.
I’m glad to hear that you stayed with your blogging despite discouraging remarks from a colleague. It sounds like your focus on what you wanted to accomplish empowered you to continue and to find success.
Those personal connections when we know we are making a difference for others are awesome. I wish you many of those in 2011 and wish you even more success in the new year.
I hope you’ll continue to engage with the community here, Paul!
I’m a bit of a reflection junkie, so I love this post Becky! I blog for a number of reasons. One is that I understand that we are all quite similar and generally have the same questions. I like to share my insight and perspective with others and create buzz and dialogue around it.
My hidden objectives are hidden in plain sight…I want influence. I believe in what I have to say and what I do for a profession. I blog to give to others, but also try to write in a way that would be of interest to larger publications. That’s one of my paths to gaining influence.
Looking forward to this blog series!
Thanks for your support and for adding value with your comment.
It’s refreshing to hear your transparency about your objectives for blogging. Yes! We blog because we want to gain influence. In order to have influence, we choose to be intentional about what and how we write and our interactions with others.
Thanks for joining me here and I look forward to your insights on the rest of the series.
Becky, thanks for our conversation today! It is so easy to focus on creating good content and not be proactive in helping others know that content is available. You’ll see me being proactive, reaching out to bloggers I admire and engaging them in conversations like ours.
I have much to learn – and much to share!
Good content is very important, but without promotion you might as well just write in a leather-bound journal that you hide under your bed.
As I said on Twitter last night, I am excited to see the results of your new plans and goals for your blog!
Becky, yet another great post and thanks for keeping it real. I Blog about overcoming personal blockages. I am all about people development as your sense of worth as a person has a big impact on how you engage the rest of the world and in turn your perception of the world given how people respond to you. I keep the focus on people and their career as most of us spend the majority of our time awake on the job (be you employer or employee). People need to be comfortable in their own skin.
How do I measure as a Blogger? –> Chomba Hermanus, my wife, is my Editor and after making me go back and forth before publishing, I can always see when I have reached approval that my message stuck to the point of my title.
What am I willing to invest to improve? –> I read other people’s work and listen out for advice that supports me both from a content perspective as well as positioning! Research…
P.S. My dream is to publish a book eventually, and that is sooner rather than later.
Thanks for the sharing your thoughts. I am glad you have an editor who pushes you to get better! I am always grateful when my friend Donna is able to read and give suggestions on my posts before I publish them.
I appreciate that you are continuing to interact here. Your reflections add to what I share. 🙂
Great post Becky! You captured the essence of blogging quite well. Some of my biggest motivations for blogging are to build up influence that can hopefully make a positive difference in other people’s lives…But that goal seems somewhat far out there. Right now I’m just learning – trying to capture the lessons that come to me as I launch my new business. It would be amazing if these lessons could benefit others!
I would rather use dragon, but my software seems be corrupted. Words have never flowed easily from my finger onto a keyboard or from the end of a pen or pencil. Yet there are so many words colliding in my head seeking a way out. Words have found a safe and path through my oral communication. My written communication demonstrated genius however trapped by an unfocused writing style, poor grammar and bad spelling contributing to my finger freeze.
Recently a life event pushed me to believe that blogging was an outlet for my words. I wanted to share my ideas and commentary on the topics of leadership and learning thinking that I found a safe place in blogging. My first blog “ The Downsized Dog” was to reflect on how I felt on Feb 2 being a part of a mass layoff after 14 years.
So I first started blogging for self development. I measure success by posting to my blog. Today I believe that I blog to contribute to the conversation around leadership and learning. My hidden objective is to seek acceptance as a competent writer and thought leader.
What I am willing to risk is having my writing posted and being naked and unashamed. I will learn my art by having it sharpen by fire. Reading and following the best blog and learning from them. No Guts No Glory.
Gung Ho Friends
Your honesty is wonderful! I appreciate that you are vulnerable here. Writing IS hard. Sometimes we struggle to put our thoughts into words. Once we do, we may feel very naked (I love that you describe it that way because it is so true!)
Posting regularly is a great way to measure success, Tanya. Do you have any specific goals in the coming year?
I am glad to be connecting with you here. Know that I am here for you to encourage you on your journey. Let me know how I can help!
I just found your blog yesterday, and I love it! It feels like old times just sharing thoughts over a cup of tea. To my surprise, you have inspired me to start a blog. The idea of blogging makes me really nervous. My whole purpose is to have an avenue where I can encourage others and in turn be encouraged to let our trust in God spill over into every area of life, making a spiritual impact for eternity.
I look forward to learning more from your blogs.