How to Grow a Mega-Blog: Insights From Zen Habits

social media expert interviewIn this video I interview Leo Babauta, the founder of the successful blog Zen Habits and author of two books: The Power of Less and Focus.

Leo talks about the story behind growing Zen Habits to over 210,000 subscribers.  And he also shares how to simplify life and focus on things that matter most to get more done while doing less.

Be sure to check out the takeaways below after you watch the video.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn in this video:

  • How Leo grew Zen Habits into a mega-blog by sharing real stuff
  • What the turning points were that made the difference in growing Zen Habits
  • What to write about to grow your blog readership
  • How social media helped grow Leo’s blog
  • How to simplify your life, do less and get more done
  • Why you should focus on things with more impact
  • Learn to say no, even to yourself

Leo’s biggest blogging tip: If you are genuine, all you need is to focus on helping people and pour your heart into that in order to succeed.

Connect with Leo on Twitter @zen_habits, on his blog Zen Habits, and check out his latest book, Focus.

What was your biggest takeaway from this video? What has worked well for you in growing your blog? Please share your comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He also authored of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Great video.  I have followed Zen for about a year now.. really like his style of blogging.

    Nice to see that you can build a huge blog that is coming from more of a personal place and not about business and making money.

  • Rneigh9880

    I like this young man’s outlook on focus.  I try to ask myself everyday what is the most important thing I need to acomplish today.  I then work or focus on that item and complete as much as possible that day.  If I then have additional time I move on to the second most important item.  I try not to let a day go by that I do not get something done that moves my position forward even if it is ever so slight.  That way at the end of the day I am at peace with myself and can relax to get a good nights rest.  That way I can again move the ball forward tomorrow.

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

    Thanks John – It is pretty amazing how Leo has grown

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

    Good process!

  • http://www.facebook.com/DonaldPayne Donald Payne

    Great video. As the author of four books, I
    thought that my blog would grow fairly fast but unfortunately for me I am
    missing the mark. My subscriber list remains small but I continue to move
    forward. Thanks for the inspiration. I know that consistency is the key
    therefore I remain diligent.

  • http://martinairing.com/blog Martina Iring

     I always enjoy Leo’s advice – simple yet powerful stuff! I appreciate his encouragement to new bloggers (amen to not stressing about numbers) and his commitment to providing value to his readers. Great interview!

  • http://twitter.com/GetPrissy Prissy Monroe

    This video was EXACTLY what I needed right now. I love Leo’s blog and his minimalist philosophy towards life (even if I do struggle with implementing it myself). Almost like a cosmic interference to keep me from drowning myself in abundance of commitments. Thanks, Michael!

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

    Hey Prissy – Glad it helped :)

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

    Thanks Martina.  Keep at it!

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

    Hey Donald,

    It does take time and a lot of hard work.  It’s always interesting (for me at least) to talk to some real successful bloggers and see why they grew.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com/ John Paul

    Hard work, Talent and some luck and timing is all it takes :)

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    His background is journalism also helped in that he knows how to craft a post. If you look at his blog you can see how he developed his own voice. 

    That’s not an accident. 

    Takes practice. tons :)

  • http://felixrelationshipmarketing.com/ Juan Felix

    Thanks Leo and Mike for this interview. I happen to have read The Power of Less earlier this year. One tip from the book, that is really helpful for me: work with a daily ​​to do list with a maximum of three things to do.

    The biggest takeaway from this interview: “don’t focus too much on the metrics”. I recognize that I sometimes am far too busy with all the statistics as a guide for success. While -when it comes to social media- numbers shouldn’t  always play a leading role.I have learned through experience that things like a high klout score, high alexa rank, many blog readers, growing number of twitter followers or Facebook fans is no guarantee for business success. Whereas when you add real value, you automatically create conditions for success.

  • http://twitter.com/josh_leitner Josh Leitner

    thanks so much Michael
    I cant believe that 210,000people are part of this and I had never even heard of Leo. Every day one learns
    Michael your website is awesome – keep it up. I look forward always to your latest updates
    Josh

  • http://www.entrepreneursforachange.com/ Lorna Li

    So many of us struggle with managing busy, complex and stressful lives. I can’t agree more with Leo that reducing complexity is one of the key factors in creating space. But the hard part is, figuring out what complicated thing to let go of, especially if it is tied to income / revenue, such as a a complicated, struggling business venture. I’m inspired that his blog grew organically, through the power of his own words, and didn’t require any complicated SEO, social media marketing campaigns in order to grow. As an SEO, I’m trained to write with keywords in mind, yet it’s the most refreshing content is usually the content that is written from the heart.

  • http://annieinthesun.blogspot.com/ AnnieintheSun

    Having something to say, from the heart, that speaks to many people is a key to developing readers. Now I have one more thing to include in my very cluttered life, but I’m looking to Leo to help me simplify in other areas where I may be spinning my wheels. Thanks for the interview, Michael, and introducing us to the Zen Habits blog.

  • http://twitter.com/serenaboats serena

    The struggle to de-clutter is epic, see my desk? Can’t? Online friends respond most to what I share about my kids. Some like my German word-a-day. Bloggers, tweeters what works for you?

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    This is such an awesome post . Loved “simplify life and focus on things that matter most to get more done while doing less.” I too read a quote somewhere saying ““I
    owe my success to having listened respectfully to
    the very best advice, and then going away and doing the
    exact opposite.”” and iam trying keep my mind open to listen to what others say.

  • http://www.thenakedrunners.com/ Dave Robertson

    Great interview thanks Michael. Having followed Zen Habits for a while now it was great to hear from Leo and see how much of a well-balanced guy he seems to be.
    The fact I currently have about 25 tabs open for browsing is a sign I def need to follow his advice and aim for a more simple, minimalist approach to life.

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  • http://www.marketingm8.co.uk Peter L Masters MCIM

    A very calm and collected guy! I wish I could be so relaxed!

    What an amazing blog following, truly impressive and I guess it shows we could all do with less stress and more time!

    No big shock that I haven’t seen Leo on Empire Avenue.

    Good stuff as always Michael, thank you. 

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  • PaigeHolden

    Awesome post. I’ve been following Zen Habits since I moved from NYC to PA and love Leo’s tips on leading a simpler, more fruitful and less stressful life. I was so excited to see him on this blog!

  • Aletta

    I loved the reminder to say no – even to yourself – or maybe especially………

  • http://blog.powerserve.net Powerserve

    I’ve followed Zen Habits for a few years now. I’m a huge fan of his style of writing and how focused his posts can be yet feel conversational. Big fan!

  • http://roarmkting.com Ryan Rosado

    Very inspiring man.  Seems really down to earth.  Good to see genuine people becoming successful and retaining their good nature :)

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