Becoming a Blogger: Do You Have What it Takes?

Are you thinking of starting a blog or restarting your blog?

Do you wonder if you have what it takes to attract a strong blog audience?

To learn about what it takes to become a successful blogger, I interview Stanford Smith for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, I interview Stanford Smith, co-author of Born to Blog. He is also the founder of the Pushing Social blog and host of the Pushing Social podcast.

Stan shares how he started out with blogging and how Pushing Social became a blog-based business.

You’ll learn how to recognize your personal traits and how they can be built upon to grow a successful blog.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Starting a Blog

How Stan’s blog has helped his business

Stan explains that his business is about offering content marketing strategies for small- to medium-sized businesses. He helps people understand how social media can work for them.

His blog has been the sole reason why he was able to leave his 9-5 job and work full-time on Pushing Social. The blog is the main way Stan attracts leads, talks to prospects and educates people about his services.

pushing social blog

Pushing Social is a blog-based business.

Stan’s advice for people in a 9-5 job right now is to build up your audience and understand where your next step is going to be. If you want to market yourself in a really effective, cost-efficient way, then blogging is a great place to start.

He talks about how he knew he was ready to go out on his own and why he should have done it earlier.

Listen to the show to find out how all of Stan’s business comes from his blog without any advertising.

Common traits for becoming a successful blogger

Stan starts with the notion that there are five traits people have that are necessary for blogging, and the good news is that everyone has at least one. You’ll learn in detail about each trait.

The five traits are:

  1. Dreamer
  2. Good storyteller
  3. Teacher
  4. Persuader
  5. Curator

The idea is to take that trait or role that you play, recognize it, build upon it and then use it to create a successful blog.

Stan talks about his two traits and how he can weave them into a blog post. Some of the most popular bloggers have 3 or 4 traits.

Listen to the show to find out how to discover which trait you have.

Do you need to be a great writer to be a good blogger?

Stan believes that you don’t have to be a great writer to be a good blogger, in the classic sense. When people think of the word writer, they think of poets or prize-winners. However, this does not have to be the case for blogging.

istock 21305953 writing once upon a time

You don't have to be a great writer to be a good blogger.

You’ll hear what it takes to be a great conversational writer and what this means. You need to be able to communicate in a way that builds rapport and relationships.

Stan explains the difference between a blog writer and an article writer. Blogging is not just about text. For example, take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk‘s story about his video blog.

Blogging is the platform. If you feel you are better at speaking and doing audio, then put that out there and use the podcast platform. Video is also another platform. Remember, writing is just one way of expressing yourself on a blog.

Listen to the show to hear the benefits of how you can talk it out, record it and then transcribe it back. 

Do you have what it takes to become a blogger?

Stan explains that there are three steps to becoming a successful blogger.

  1. Have a borderline obsession with a topic. To stop yourself from getting burnt out, you need to be obsessed with your topic.
  2. Are there others like you? You must have an audience out there.
  3. Assess if you have a marathon or a sprint mindset. Stan has studied many successful bloggers and there is one thing that is same with all of them—it takes 10 years to be an overnight success. He advises to get yourself in the zone and kick off your content. Refine what you do over time.

Listen to the show to find out what mindset Stan had when he first started.

Tips for creating content on a regular basis

Stan’s advice is to train your brain to notice potential topics by writing down every idea that pops into your head. Write it down on your Moleskine, Post-It notes or your iPad. Let your brain know every good idea is going to be noticed and used in some way.

You’ll learn how to turn content creation into a habit and why considered done is better than perfect. There are a lot of bloggers who create content that never sees the light of day because they are constantly refining it. The most important thing is to get it out there.

publish istock 14782431

The most important thing is to publish your content and get it out there.

Listen to the show to learn how to generate ideas for your blog posts.

Creative ways to draw readers to a blog

Stan’s advice is to make the daily news your friend. Your content has to be relevant to catch people’s attention. Look at what is being talked about today and see if you can find ways to connect it with your topic. Being top of mind is a way of drawing people into your blog.

pushing social lady gaga

Make sure your content is relevant to today's news.

You’ll discover the benefits of hanging out at watering holes and why you need to become a fixture in that space. Stan shares how he started out in forums before attracting people to follow him.

Stan describes what he calls content hubs. They are sites that collect a specific type of content and use it to attract an audience. For example, SlideShare collects presentations and has an audience of people who want that kind of content.

If you can repurpose your content and put it on the content hubs, then you’ll start bringing in readers from different sources. Podcasting is another great way of repurposing blog content for the iTunes crowd.

Most recently, Stan found amazing results when he took an old report and turned it into an online special report. You’ll find out why Google loved it and what he then did with his second report.

Stan explains why email is so critical to a blogger and shares his secret source at Pushing Social. If you have a blog, the advantage is to get an email opt-in on it.

pushing social opt in

Take advantage with opt-in forms on your blog.

If you are the type of person who thinks that nobody will listen to what you have to say, then Stan’s advice is to remember that your voice is unique. There are a lot of bloggers out there, but there are not many people like you. You owe it to yourself to try. Don’t sell yourself short.

Listen to the show to hear which Pushing Social blog post two years ago was a huge boost for them.

This Week’s Social Media Question

This week’s question is from Mikaela Robertson, who is a public relations and marketing graduate student.

“Everyday I see blogs and websites using social media logos in different ways. I was wondering if this is actually legal? Facebook and Twitter have very specific instructions about using their logos but nobody seems to follow them. Is it OK to get creative with the social media logos?”

Mikaela, I’m not an attorney, but first and foremost, it is not legal to take someone else’s brand and alter it. Facebook and Twitter both have trademarks on their logos and their iconography. They have guidelines.

Here’s what you have to keep in mind. What they have trademarked is their name and their logo. Legally, you cannot take their trademark and alter it, even if you are ultimately trying to promote their network.

Both Facebook and Twitter do allow certain things though. Look at Facebook’s general guidelines.

facebook brand

Use of the "f" logo guidelines.

And check out Twitter’s acceptable uses.

twitter brand

Promoting your Twitter account guidelines.

You’ll hear why I strongly recommend you employ the widgets that both Twitter and Facebook have put in place.

Listen to the show to hear more of Mike’s advice for Mikaela.

Call in and leave your social media–related questions for us and we may include them in a future show.

Other Show Mentions

Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.

As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.

We are just 3 weeks away from Social Media Marketing World. If you want to meet some of the most incredible social media marketers in the world, then this is the event for you.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

Help Us Spread the Word!

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If you enjoyed this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast, please head over to iTunes, leave a rating, write a review and subscribe.

Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:

What do you think? What are your thoughts on becoming a successful blogger? Please leave your comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Awesome interview Mike and Stan! It’s interesting to note that podcasting is a great alternative to blogging, but I also want to integrate blogging into my online marketing strategy, however posting 7 blogs or show notes a week seems too much. Is it better to do a write up of one special Featured Entrepreneur of the week or an introductory blog that will include all of the Featured Entrepreneurs with a teaser introduction for each? Thanks for your answer in advance!

    Keep it rockin hot SME!

    ~John Lee Dumas

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey John – You may want to consider outsourcing your show notes and YOU focus on creating helpful posts for business owners based on your experience and what you have learned from guests.

  • http://twitter.com/hytare Pamela Diaz

    I tried to use stitcher to listen to your postcast but shows me your podcast for last week as your newest one. I just download stitcher for the first time… what can I do?

  • http://twitter.com/mapsys_world Maps Santos

    Thanks for this,Mike! Just started a blog last month and I am still finding my voice. I’m a mom so anything about that is my passion. Just want to diffrentiate my self from a hundred mom bloggers in manila. I’m epileptic too so I’m starting to write about it. :)

  • http://welovetrainingcourses.co.uk/ ZoriWeLoveTrainingCoursescouk

    Blogs and blogging are one of the fastest ways to fill a hole in your search engine optimisation profile, but the good sustainable social media strategy shouldn’t be estimated and it should be also well integrated.

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  • LanaYotka

    Thanks so much Michael & Stan your podcast was so inspiring and informative. Michael your email about blogging just came at the right time as I am about to create a blog about new products and services in the marketplace. Thanks & Have A Successful Day !

  • http://www.facebook.com/patty.j.painter Patty John Painter

    Great interview, Michael — substantial content from start to finish.

    I have a question for you: I’m considering starting two blogs that though related, are on different subjects. In your experience, is maintaining multiple blogs a good strategy?

  • JulieHood

    Just wanted to say, I really like how you have the written version of the podcast (I’m one of the minority who prefer to speed read rather than listen) and the key takeaway links at the end. Great job!

  • http://www.juntaedelane.com/ Juntae DeLane

    Nice interview. I gained many perspectives that will help me with my personal blog. Thanks for the info!

  • Stanford Smith

    It sounds like you have a unique story – definitely use it to differentiate yourself. I’m sure other moms would love to hear how you achieve balance while dealing with epilepsy. You have something special there.

  • Stanford Smith

    Glad you liked the podcast. Mike did an excellent job shaking me down for all the tips I could muster!

  • Stanford Smith

    I’m sure Michael has some great advice on this. From my experience, blogs grow faster when they are focused on a specific topic. Focus helps your readers understand and evaluate your content, it also helps with SEO as well.

  • http://www.socialsuccessmarketing.com/ ruby | social success

    Interview with Stan did inspire me to keep at it. Thank you!!!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad to hear Ruby!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad to hear you found it helpful Juntae!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Julie – Do listen in as there is so much more that was said

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Stan!

  • Ben Eaton

    How long does it take for the podcast to show up on itunes? I must be doing something wrong because my iTunes subscription for your podcasts shows Feb 1 as the latest podcast available.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    It is a lot more work for sure. I might suggest you pick the one you are most excited about and get it going before you branch off into a second one

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad it was helpful Lana. Now go make it happen! :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    For sure, fully agree

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    I echo what Stan said here

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Sounds like Stitcher has not updated their feed, yet. For now you can listen on this page http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/becoming-a-blogger/ (just look for the play button)

  • http://www.facebook.com/patty.j.painter Patty John Painter

    Thanks for the ridiculously speedy reply. I was thinking along the same lines. I appreciate the insights.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patty.j.painter Patty John Painter

    Thanks for the advice, Stan. My interest in maintaining a tight focus is why I asked the question. (Excellent interview, by the way.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/RobFaulkner75 Rob Faulkner

    I loved this podcast, I’m about to embark into the world of blogging and thoroughly inspired. It must be destiny as my objective is to provide free digital marketing advice to SME’s!

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  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad it is helpful for you Rob :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Just fixed a bug, should be in next few hours

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  • http://twitter.com/ManasiKakade Manasi Kakade

    This is such a great podcast! It answered all the questions that I had in mind since I started thinking about being a regular blogger. Thank you so much, Mike and Stan!

  • http://twitter.com/jnouelati Joumana

    We are in the process of opening a cafe bistro and thinking to start a blog about the ups and downs of this type of business, would it attract new customers?

  • Arerifx

    Well,I just started blogging for a few months..it takes a while to become a successful blogger..there’s so much on thw internet,we can keep learning and yeah it takes 10 years to be successful,once you have start..you have to keep going..and going.

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  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad it was helpful :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    It certainly could, especially if you showcase your customers

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks for your comment. However it doesn’t take 10 years :) . Most bloggers have been at it for far shorter than that

  • http://pocbooks.com/ James Lynch Jr.

    Stan, It was smooth, informative, and a enjoyable interview! Glad you made sure most of your bases were covered after 2 years, before leaving your other job. The “locusts” have to be fed. (Smile) Nice Job!

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  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey James – Glad you enjoyed the interview with Stan :) .

  • http://pocbooks.com/ James Lynch Jr.

    Pardon me Michael, as the interviewer, your building up the anticipation before hand was on point. On another note, the Twitter/Facebook trademark question you answered is also important to know. Thanks for taking the time to respond, and have a productive day! Kind regards, James

  • http://twitter.com/Roacilynn RoZLyNn3

    Thanks for sharing this…I have more of an idea now of how blogging can actually lead to getting out of your day job. Thanks again :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicolas.kawaguchi Nicolas Kawaguchi

    Great podcast! My company, Inovus, is just starting to execute our community building and social media plan. Your blogs and podcasts have give us a lot of great tips on how to think about doing this. Mahalos!

  • http://technologynovice.com/ Neena

    I really like the idea of repurposing existing content. Amazingly, I never really thought about it – something so simple very little time involved, since you are not creating something new.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad our content has been helpful Nicholas

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  • http://callboxinc.com.au/ MaeganA

    For me in order to
    become a successful blogger you must have a passion and writing skills.It
    doesn’t mean writing like an expert, but write like an individual. You are
    not writing for a book or for a newspaper, as they are different. See the
    editorial page of a newspaper or a magazine, and that’s the exact kind of
    writing which I’m talking about:) Thanks for this post Michael!

  • http://twitter.com/mapsys_world Maps Santos

    Thanks, Mike and Stan for your tips. I also thought of that too but then wouldn’t make it too niche? Do I have to make everything angled on balancing epilepsy and motherhood? I also want to follow Stan’s advice of writing down all your thoughts for possible content. My thoughts wouldn’t be everything about that.

    Anyways, I started a personal blog as an exercise for me to write content regularly. It has no identity yet. Content curation is not at all present. Once I find my voice, I will start another one.

    By the way, Stan, I love your statement about not to be scared to find your own voice and not selling yourself short. Very inspiring words. :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks for adding your thoughts here Maegan

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad you found that useful Neena

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    My pleasure

  • http://www.socialbenzene.com/ Jithesh Rajendran

    Very informative, especially like that part where he mentions “Blogging is the platform” and how videos/podcasts can be used. Whatever platform one chooses, it is vital to be polite and communicative.

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  • http://RefreshingTalk.wordpress.com/ dee

    Thank you so much for this post!

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  • http://atimetoglean.com/ Ruth Rouchard

    Great post, very informative. Thank you.

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  • http://www.urbanwalkerct/wordpress.com UrbanWalkerCT

    Amazing interview. You spoke about a special report, can you tell me more about this?

  • Lars Steves

    Writing a blog is easy but make it your passion you will enjoy it, and you can earn some handsome money out of it. 2ndly blog’s template and arrangement is one of the most powerful tools that determine the success of aBLOG For beginners i would like to prefer to get start with BLOGGER.COM . Because of it’s ease and simplicity, after learning the basic techniques you can switch to another platform like WordPress or still you can stick with BLOGGER.

  • Vanda

    I really loved this interview and short plan beneath it ! It is very helpful an inspiring for me as I was thinking to become a blogger :) Thank you so much Stan and Michael ! All the best for your future work.

  • Andrew Jackson

    Hi

    I find your site very informative! But i would just like to clear up my doubts about the term “blogger”. Well I’ve come across on facebook in some groups that the admins of the group address the members of the group and those who contribute in the posts as blogger. I feel that the word blogger is misinterpreted here. Is it correct t for the admin to use the word “blogger” in this case?

    Best
    Andy
    Andy







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