August 12, 2011

Even Bozo Gets a Red Nose...Occasionally

by Shannon Milholland, Social Media Director

The day I started my blog, I could barely spell the word. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't even have the sense to read up on the proper way to start one. I subscribed the Nike theory and just did it.

About six months in someone who found out about my speaking and writing ministry asked me if I was similar to a well-known national speaker. "No," I replied, "She's an example of how to do things right, whereas, I am an example of how to not do things wrong."

My journey into blogging was no different. I made many blunders. Today you are the beneficiary. Here's what NOT to do when starting your blog:

Don't Comment Back

I felt weird when someone commented on my blog. It seemed like if I replied to their praise, I was being egotistical or egocentric. I didn't reply and they stopped commenting.

Don't Read Trade Articles

Despite my attempt at humility through lack of comments, I displayed a rare streak of egotism by not bothering to learn anything about blogging. When I finally started reading articles, like the ones found in Southern Writers Magazine (shameless self-promotion warning), I learned more in a few hours than I had in months of blogging.

Don't Partner with Others

Why in the world would I need to feature other people's work on my blog? How would I ever get read if I was busy highlighting someone else's work? I did all the blogging myself and quickly exhausted my sphere of influence. I had few documented readers I didn't have a personal relationship with.  When I began to network and partner with author bloggers, my readership grew exponentially.

Don't Read and Comment on Other Blogs

I barely had enough time to write my own blog. Why would I spend the precious moments I had browsing someone else's site?  I didn't read anyone else's blog and they didn't read mine. When I started reading other blogs, I got an excellent idea about once a week. It may be a layout enhancement or a social media utilization but ideas rapidly morphed into improvements.  Improvements led to more readers.

When I started blogging, I was a real Bozo. I fell on my face several times.  The result is several bloody noses. With each crash, I learned a lesson. Eventually this Bozo found a nose - a "read" one.

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