What the Web (and the World) Needs from You

Note: This is Part 3 in a series on how to build a popular blog. In this post, I’ll share the third secret to successful blogging. You can read Part 2 here.

If I hear one more “expert” tell me that social media is a “conversation,” I am going to scream.

No, friends. Social media is much more than that — it’s an opportunity to build something that matters.

Photo Credit: an untrained eye via Compfight cc

The world is full of people who want to be heard. But how many are actually saying something? The Internet is crowded with those who are just conversing. But who is creating stuff worth our time?

For years, I blogged in vain attempts at achieving popularity. I wanted people to like me and marvel at the profundity of my words. And I failed. It wasn’t until I built a resource of content that people began to take notice.

If you want to earn the attention your work deserves, you will have to prove you have something to say, that you’ve got something we can’t miss.

And how do you do that? You build something worth our attention.

So you’ve got connections… who cares?

We’ve all heard, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.” But that’s not true.

Knowing the right people — even being known by them — is no longer enough. In a world where connection is cheap (more like free), it’s easier than ever to get in front of folks, to add their number to your Rolodex.

What’s hard is keeping people’s attention.

So how do you do that? How do you influence people for the long haul? You have to create something people care about, something worth talking about, something that will make a difference.

Let’s break down each of those…

Something people care about

You get people to notice you by adding value (we’ve already covered that here). But how do you get them to care? That’s another matter entirely.

One word: empathy.

My friend Marion Roach Smith, who has taught hundreds of writers how to tell their life’s story, says,

We have to trust you as the narrator.

How do we build this trust? By showing our scars. Sharing our insecurities. Exposing our weakness.

The only way you get people to trust you — and care about what you have to say — is by showing them you’re trustworthy. The best way to do that? Help them see you’re just like them.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Admit a recent screw-up.
  • Highlight a personal flaw.
  • Apologize for a mistake nobody caught.
  • Tell the story of your biggest failure.
  • Share a fear or challenge you still haven’t overcome.

When you, the writer, let yourself be human, we readers will do the same.

Something worth talking about

Marketing guru Seth Godin says is best when he explains what it means for a product, service, or business to be “remarkable.” Literally, it must be worth remarking on. People have to talk about it. Otherwise, it’s irrelevant.

Your best bet in getting your ideas to spread, your books read, and your influence to grow is to be remarkable. To do something truly epic.

How do you do that? Here are a few examples:

  • When Andy Traub gave away the audio version, email series, and online membership to everyone who bought his $7.99 eBook.
  • When Chris Guillebeau gave away $100,000 to a bunch of strangers, asking them to spend it well.
  • When my friend Kyle proposed to his girlfriend with a giant piece of parchment paper.

Remarkable is interesting. Remarkable is compelling. Remarkable is worth talking about.

Something that will make a difference

This is, perhaps, the most important reason we open our mouths or place our fingers on the keyboard. We want to make an impact, to leave a legacy.

But how do we know when we’re doing that, as opposed to just making noise? Simple. It has to do with multiplication.

If people hear what you have to say and tell you it was “nice” or that they enjoyed it, then you’re in trouble. That’s lip service, friends, and nothing more.

On the other hand, if you empower a tribe of people with an idea that they take, share, and spread, then you may have something special, indeed. If strangers email you, explaining how your message has literally changed their lives, then you are making a difference, after all.

Put it all together

Yes, these are nice ideas. But taken by themselves, that’s all they are — ideas. And this series has been about action, about creating something epic. So let’s apply everything we’ve learned so far:

  • Success begins with passion, not chasing results. If you love the work, you’ll do good work.
  • If you want attention, you need to add value. Help people. Solve problems. Connect.
  • Until you create something, you’re just making noise. You need a legacy, a resource, something that folks will remember.

All good so far? I admit that’s a big vague, so let’s break it down further:

First, you need to take all your passion and value-adding ideas and put them somewhere. In a book. On a website. Maybe even into a conference or event. Have a way to archive your best thoughts and share them over and over again.

Next, make sure this resource has a means of inviting people into an inner circle. For example, on a blog (which is my preferred medium, since it’s free), you could encourage people to subscribe via email so they don’t miss a post.

Lastly, with this thing you’ve built, you should be generous. Give things away for free or for less than they’re worth. Why? Because the point isn’t to make money, but to leave an impact. Get that right, and you won’t have to worry about income.

Dazzle and delight. Give people more than they ask for. Over deliver. And see what happens.

The irony, of course, is that by resisting the temptation to converse and creating something instead, you are giving people a reason to not stop talking about you.

So go. Create. And make it worth our while.

Note: This was the third and final post in a three-part series on how to build a popular blog. If you’ve enjoyed this series, you might like Tribe Writers, an online course to help writers find the audience their words deserve. Registration opens only a few times a year.

What’s something you’ve thought about building but haven’t? Share in the comments.

159 thoughts on “What the Web (and the World) Needs from You

  1. You want just one thing I thought about building but didn’t? 😉 This is the curse of the creative – so many ideas but the same 24 hours as everyone else to actually get stuff done!

    Then of course, there are the things that I started but didn’t quite finish. I could write a book about it but it’d probably just linger in draft form on my hard drive!

    Seriously though, you’re spot on. It was only when I stopped being so noisy on Twitter and Facebook and actually sat down and did the work that I started to see results. Funny that eh 😉

  2. Giving stuff away is a great idea, if one has something worthwhile giving. All I have right now are some ideas and experience. I don’t have $100 dollars to offer, let alone $100,000. Nor, do I have anything published. Any suggestions?

  3. Jeff, what I want to do is move to a self-hosted blog soon, like over the next 90 days. I plan to give a short eBook to everyone who will join me there. Basically, I want to edify and add value to those who have decided to follow my little piece of the blogosphere.

    1. I’m looking to switch over to a self-hosted blog too – probably during the same time period. Do you have your ebook complete?

  4. I love so many points in this post, Jeff…and that’s not just lip service. 🙂 “Let yourself be human” that’s definitely what resonates most with me and grabs and holds my attention through all the noise.

  5. Another superb post for anyone interested in this area of blogging/writing. I just write. I keep writing, and I keep experimenting with the content I’m writing. My most recent series “Monday Morning Shorts,” in which I write a 1-2 paragraph post, seems to have struck a chord. I have another series in the making for this Fall, but I’m keeping it under wraps for now.

  6. You say success begins with passion, not chasing results. I agree; it’s been hard to be passionate lately. I actually looked back at old stuff I’ve written and remembered how much fun I had just writing it.
    I started thinking I need a blogging sabbatical. No stats/comments/likes for a whole month, so that I’m only writing for the joy of it. Just to remember what that’s like.

    1. This is exactly where I am, Mike. I’m taking basically the summer off. Yet, here I am, reading an article about how to be a better writer ;). I think I came across this at just the right moment–it’s been truly eye-opening.

      1. Yeah, I’ve been making what I love into a chore, trying to cling too tightly to my works. I need to step back, count to ten, and try again without all the pressure I invent.

  7. Several things – an audio recording of a presentation I really enjoyed delivering, a workbook to accompany it, a short e-book, transitioning to a self-hosted blog. I’m trying to take baby steps of habits.

  8. Jeff, It’s such a pleasure to read your posts. You get better and better.
    It makes me want to write better, clearer and with more passion.
    You are an extraordinary mentor.

  9. I’ve created a few things Jeff but one thing that has been on my mind that I haven’t created is an online course. I would like to walk people from where they are to where they want to be and show them this stuff really is possible.

  10. Yes! you said it again Jeff-adding value. You know you delivered if what you said actually saved a situation; good feelings ain’t bad but are not enough.

  11. Later this year Im building a platform that (I think) will revolutionise personal development….Its an exciting project!

    Aaron Morton

    The Confidence Lounge

  12. Thank you so much for this series. I really enjoy your posts, Jeff. They always encourage and inspire me. I have begun a weblog for my fiction writing and I am writing six days a week and really enjoying it.

  13. Jeff, I have been reading your posts & I am taking your class and I have learned so much. You are so real. I am trying to find my Tribe. I am working on great content which will really add value to people’s lives. Thanks for your advice and help. Application is so important. We can read what is said, hear it and even think about doing it, but until we actually apply the steps and take action nothing is going to change. Thanks for everything!! Brenda

  14. Thank you for not merely saying what to do, but for providing a clear approach on how to do it as well.Thanks Jeff!

    On another note: to anyone who has not pre-ordered Jeff’s new book, go and do it now! You will see the tips & tricks Jeff detailed in this post in action…practicing what he’s preaching. 🙂

    1. You know, Sean, I was worried I was being too vague. Thanks for the affirmation. It’s a fine line between helping people apply principles and simply speaking esoterically.

      1. I totally get it. I have to deal with the same issue when coaching and creating strategies with people on their finances.

        On my side of the table, it’s easy to say, “make more money,” or “save more for your goals,” or “stop spending so much, stupid!”

        It’s another thing entirely to create tangible steps for them and hold them accountable to stay the course.

        This is the value you have brought to me as I am building my platform to help as many people as I can.

  15. To give away $100,000 to complete strangers is foolish and unwise. They could spend that money on alcohol, drugs, prostitutes, who knows what. And the person who gave them the money is partially responsible for the consequences. For example, never give money to someone living on the street. Instead, take them to a restaurant, buy them food, offer them work. But never give money.

      1. 25 years in the Christian ministry as a pastor, working with teenagers and young adults, and ministry in jails.

        1. I reach out to street people as the Lord directs me on a case by case basis. I often give them funds telling them that this is God’s money and this is his practical way of showing his love for them. As we know, God’s love leads to repentance (Rom 2:4). Among other things, I tell them that he has a hope and a future for them (Jeremiah 29:11) and look to react in wisdom and with blessings to any reply they might offer. I have had wonderful encounters this way.

    1. This is something that I struggle with, but the fact is that Jesus said to give to him who asks… not just him to whom you want to give.

      1. So you would give money to someone knowing he will buy illegal drugs with it or go buy liquor with it?

  16. Jeff, you’ve outdone yourself with this post and this series. I am a fan of yours, although I don’t read much, since blogging words such as “platform” and “influence” and “social media” make me want to run and hide. I find myself with way too much pressure on my shoulders and then I can’t create. However, I have struggled with this exact dynamic you talk about for a good while now–over a year–and it’s time to do something different. Thank you for your vision, your passion, your faithfulness, and for continuing to say the same good things writers need to hear, so that when we’re ready, it hits us just right and changes things in our lives forever. I sense this is just such a moment. *Thank you*

  17. Mr. Jeff, as usual I read the post in the inbox and then delete, not this one I´m going to print this one and put it on top of my old rusty friend Mackintosh. The add value, is a term I thought I coined, apparently not. I found out that when you get comment´s like “Liked it” or things like that you can tell people are probably galncing though your post nor `really reading´, every other day or 3 days I´ll check the people that follow me and those that don´t but I follow and add value in my comments to whatever they said in the post I´m reading. I believe most people appreciate that and in turn some people go a check out my blog, but I don´t do it for that I mostly do it because it makes the little disk-drive I have for a brain to start functioning to really understand and think about the writing and gain a little bit that much more of knowledge. I´m printing this post right now, good one.

  18. When I read “over deliver”, I thought about the verse in the Bible about the Roman Centurion who walked the extra mile. I’m always ‘amazed’ how Jesus points the way to the correct path, if we will just be obedient.

  19. As always Jeff, I am leaving your post thinking about how to apply it to my blog. Thanks for the insights.

  20. This is great! I totally agree with the notion that a following must have something to follow. Silly as it sounds, it’s easy to start trying to build an audience without first having put a lot of your own flesh and blood (and time) into a readerless blog.

  21. Your writing is seasoned with humility. Is it a gift, or is it learned? It makes your voice easy to listen to even when you instruct and correct us. Thanks!

  22. I just started a mom blog a month ago and I am part of a blogging community network of women who support each other and ask questions on how to make our blogs better. I have done link ups with some of the blogs who offer it on a weekly basis as a way to meet new friends and connect with others.
    I blogged about a recent incident on how I caught myself allowing my 16 month old watching too much tv and what I did about it-I head to the library with her and got her a bunch of books and got back into reading with her again. I was saying how I felt bad for being sidetracked on this side of parenting. When I posted it on FB I didn’t get too many that read that post, I was able to get several comments after doing a couple link ups. Same with an article I posted on how to save money by getting your magazine fix through subscribing to some great catalogs that I have discovered for free-no comments on that one either.
    As I said before I am pretty new to this, I launched in September, the one thing I am struggling with is finding the time to comment and read up on other blogs, I work full-time so it is a challenge. If I can follow and read more blogs than my chances of people reading mine might be higher. Who knows.

    1. Hey Deanna! One thing that I recently started doing is to SCHEDULE a time (1 hour per day/2-3 times a week) to read and comment on blogs. Can you do this on your lunch hour? Break it down to reading one blog and commenting on one blog on a 15 min break?

  23. Hi Jeff,

    I am the owner and writer fora blog called Inspiration Point. On my site, you will see a variety of stories about overcoming adversities. As a man born with low vision and hearing impairments, I’ve had plenty.

    I’ve been doing maintaining it, for a couple of years. About a year ago, I decided to get serious and moved my blog over to a private web hosting service. It’s your friends at Blue Host.

    The goal was to generate an income through my writings and any advertisements on my blog. It’s a good thing that I get Disability income. 🙂

    Right now, I could use some feedback on the new forum that’s on my blog. Though I do have adsense and affiliate, I was looking for another way to earn some income and not sacrifice quality.

    How does a forum figure into the equation? A couple of months ago, I had a
    basic idea. Why not create a forum that works like the Classified in a
    newspaper. One section is directed at Christian Business Owner, a Help
    Wanted section, a place to post blog updates and etc.

    This idea came from not being able to advertise a Help Wanted type request on my church’s email list. It also came to mind that I post advertisement for a
    fee. Right now, I’m trying to get the forum structure going.

    Here’s my question. Is this idea of using a forum, the best way to do advertisements? Is there some other way? By the way, my current site traffic is around 300 per month. I got about 300 Likes on my Facebook page

    Any comments??

  24. Jeff, every time I read your posts I feel like I’ve just bumped into a family member with all the insider knowledge I’ll ever need! Thank you for being so generous with your thoughtful explanations and nuts and bolts solutions!

  25. Thanks for the inspiration Jeff. Having been an active blogger (read: sharing random innane things) for several years just for fun, I’ve come to a junction in my life: I’m about to embark on a big adventure way outside my comfort zone and I want to stop ‘blogging’ and instead launch a passion project – to share, write about and find others’ who’ve shared similar experiences. To build a community. To find my tribe.

    Beginning a brand new writing/blog project this year, I’ve taken on board your words of wisdom and they’ve given me a renewed sense of focus. Adding values and solving problems will be my priority – just telling real, vulnerable human stories, collecting & curating the stories of others as I go.

    Thank you so much for the clarity. I’m off to create. Lx

  26. And this is just a tip of the iceberg from what you offer in Tribe Writers! Great post, once again, Jeff! Glad to hear your reopening the class tomorrow. I’ll let my peeps know.

  27. How do you admit a screw-up or write painfully about a specific event when you’re 100% positive others in your family affected don’t want it known? Thanks!

    1. Oh man, tough question. I’ve noticed a lot of memoirs get written when people are older and many of the affected parties have passed on. I’ve also heard that some famous memoirists, such as David Sedaris, are held at serious arm’s length by certain members of his family. I guess you have to choose what’s most important to you … I too am looking forward to Jeff’s take on this question.

    2. There is a line to draw about vulnerability. If your openness will affect other’s than I would FIRST speak to them about it. Or maybe you can not specify the person where they can be identified. For example, I sometimes share that there are people in my family that have battled drug addiction and how that has impacted my life. I don’t specify if its an aunt, mother, sister, etc.

      I’m not sure if your mistake could be spoken of in a way where specifics can be left out. Kent Julian speaks of a “collossal mistake” he made in his youth that made a huge turning point in his life. He never goes into specifics about what that mistake entails- he just talks about how his life changed after it.

  28. This post is remarkable. The part that stood out most was “who is creating stuff worth our time?”

    So few people are creating value, which in a way while it’s unfortunate, this can make it easier for one to bring forth the extra and have it noticed.

    I think the best writers are the ones who can convey their meaning without needing to spell it out to everyone… They open the mind of the reader…

    Thank YOU for being remarkable.

  29. Another great installment – thanks Jeff! I really appreciate how you dialed the process in with practical suggestions. Instinctively I’ve been working to get all my thoughts and articles in one place, but I really wasn’t sure how to proceed after that. I like the steps 1, 2, 3 and will be implementing them! A couple of questions: I think my professional blog applies to only a small portion of the population. How do I empower a tribe and really make a difference if my main message is to coach my clients and audience to stronger performance as musicians, athletes and speakers? Should my overall blogging message apply to a larger population of people? Or is it ok to keep it specific to the type of clients I coach?

    1. Hey Elyssa! Happy to see you here!
      I’ve always been told that the more narrow and specific your niche is, the more success you will have. If you noticed on my blog- My content is pretty focused on those in a career transition or wanting to live a purposeful life through work they love. The concepts and principles can be applied to people outside that niche though. Jeff writes a lot about building your audience through writing. His suggestions can be applied to other models as well.

  30. I’ve always wanted to make a blog, but haven’t make anything remarkable as of yet. I’m going to start by publishing and promoting my novel. Then I’ll have something to talk about. This post is really helpful! Gave me an idea regarding my blog-to-be: Write short stories and share them with those that subscribe.

  31. I love this, and I know that I’ve made better connections when I’ve shared helpful stuff. I need to work on step three- being generous. Finding more good stuff to give. I will think about this, and I’m sure I’ll return to these posts for inspiration. Thank YOU for practicing what you write about.

  32. Hi Jeff! I really do enjoy all you have to say but would be able to read more of what you say if you would just get rid of the Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, Google+, and whatever that last thing is along the side of the page that follows wherever you go…so annoying…my old eyes just can’t take it – distracting. PLEASE – if there is a way to disable this, sure would appreciate you letting me know…thanks so much and sorry if all you “youngins'” think I’m a crank…have a great day!

  33. I was just posting a comment about vulnerability on Part 2 of this series, and now this! I spend so much time thinking about how I don’t want to be vulnerable because it’s painful, but that’s actually quite selfish and indulgent. Instead I should focus on whether or not that vulnerability serves someone. If so, get over it. If not, stop worrying because it’s not helpful anyway. That should make the choices a bit more black and white, and allow me to see each project/piece/idea of mine as something the world needs … or not.

    1. Fascinating, Sarah. I think that transparency has replaced excellence in our culture in many ways. And although I like being real, I also think it helps to add value.

    2. Sarah, I agree with you. I think what some people miss is that being vulnerable for the sake of being memorable is a manipulation that will ultimately backfire or be off-putting. What I think makes Jeff unique is that he didn’t seem to become vulnerable as a tactic. He became vulnerable as an expression of what he was experiencing and who he was becoming. He wasn’t just vulnerable, he was authentic in his becoming vulnerable. In other words, his motive was pure.

      Some people reading his good stuff may decide become vulnerable as a tactic, with the motive of winning the attention and affection of others, gaining a tribe or whatev. This, to me, is akin to learning the technique of asking people about the kids in the photos in their office as a way of gaining trust and rapport, when honestly being primarily interested in developing trust and rapport for one’s own benefit, and only secondarily genuinely and authentically interested in who they are as a person, and how their children fit into that.

      So, to your notion of being vulnerable when it actually serves someone (that is not first and foremost you), I give two thumbs up!!

      1. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, especially Jeff’s comment that “transparency has replaced excellence in our culture.” The interesting thing about this is that transparency has always been valued, but only because it was a scarce resource: people don’t enjoy vulnerability, therefore they chose to share less. In our day and age of constant sharing through online media, however, transparency’s supply is rising and its demand is increasing, making it more and more important to ascertain the value of something before you put it out there. Otherwise you skid right over the line into oversharing: the sort of vulnerability best reserved for private, not public, conversations. Again, the best metric is the value of a given thought/story/idea to someone else. FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

  34. Thanks, Jeff. Very encouraging. Now to come up with that extra oomph. It can be hard to not get discouraged.

  35. Oy vey, Jeff!

    There are so many things I would like to tell you. But this is not the place or time (in fact there is no place or time to tell anything that really matters).

    Ok, maybe just a few things…

    We have created a society which is billions of light years away from anything real.

    So, if you “want” to be listen to, trusted or followed, you have to lie, lie, and lie some more. And you have to do it with a big smile.

    I have to concede, being a “successful” liar requires skill. That’s the reason why we have millions of courses teaching us how to lie. Of course that’s not what we call them.

    Although every one of us demands the “truth”; the real reality is, we are only comfortable with lies, and we despise the truth with passion. What we like to hear, is the only truth we know.

    Comfort is the only thing we seek. We only trust, listen and follow those who make us comfortable.

    So, unless you (we) have been ostracized, despised, persecuted, prosecuted, utterly rejected and finally “stoned to death”; you haven’t done one iota of anything worth having, nor did you utter one word of truth.

    Meaningful communication between humans is an impossibility.

  36. I have really loved your three part series and you have inspired me to think about things a little differently. Thanks for being remarkable!

  37. Great post. I am struck by two things…

    1. the idea of finding strength and trust through vulnerability. This is some important because it asks us as both writers and readers to stretch ourselves, expand our comfort and be more connected to our own authenticity.

    2. The necessity to give. I feel that when we give of ourselves to others we make room for new feelings, ideas, connections to grow and land, in the space created by giving. This naturally puts into motion the ability to receive. When tapped into this cycle, in a pure intentioned way, we get naturally in the flow of nature, spirit and creativity.

  38. I love your bit about ‘showing your scars’, I think this is one of those hidden gems to being a great writer.
    Your post has made me think of when people say ‘Write what you know’. I dont think it means to write about cooking if your a chef (as an example), but to write about what you know as an individual. I truly believe that a writers voice is what hooks people to come back for more. You could be writing about the most mundane thing but if you have a great delivery people will keep coming back.

  39. Love this post!! Although being transparent isn’t always easy. I don’t know about anyone else but this is a tough one for me. I’m pretty introverted & the thought of people having the veil lifted to see my shortcomings and mistakes is not something easy for me, but I totally get it. Thanks for another though provoking post to challenge me…I needed it!

  40. I am so glad I have found you!!! I love everything I read you send me I am so inspired. Thank you so much for sharing so amazing and actually good and useful information. thank you thank you!!

  41. I totally agree.
    I have been writing a blog and have decided that I want to expand and connect more with my audience. I have a lot of things I want to achieve this year and I wanted to have people around me who would inspire me and keep me accountable (and have fun in the process!)
    I figured if I was looking for that others might be too. I was right…I sent an email to a few of my blog followers and asked if they were keen to meet up and start getting some action plans in order. They were keen!
    Our first meeting is next week, so I can’t wait to hear everyones ideas and challenges and to start moving our dreams into realities.
    Thanks for another great post Jeff.

  42. Just wanted to tell you that there’s an Italian blogger living in Oman that although she had never left any comment (so far), she reads your posts and finds tem amazing. Thanks for inspiring me 🙂

  43. This has been a great series and I have enjoyed, so thanks Jeff. I totally agree about creating and adding value, these are the things to concentrate on, the other things will fall into place when we give value to others.

  44. There’s no doubt in my mind you have to infuse your writing with personality to get peoples attention, especially in the blogging medium. When your readers know you’re human, just like them, they’ll start to relate with you on a much more personal basis. When you get to this point I think you’re well on your way to establishing your tribe. I’m not there yet, but thanks to great advice like you’ve posted here, and a little elbow grease on my part, I’m getting closer all the time. Appreciate the push!

  45. I’m in high school and absolutely love writing. I really want to take writing further and get better at it. For any experienced writers out there who have broke through the barrier of rejection slips, what advice would you value most to very young writers.

  46. Really loved reading this whole series! Great information. I’m working on my blog and while I wish it were done YESTERDAY, I’m learning so much right now and glad that I won’t be doing a ton of work that will have to be “undo”-ed Thanks for the techniques!

  47. Greatly encouraging. I am just beginning to blog and to write. The bulleted points under “Put it all together” are the very reasons I desire to start a blog. Thanks for the insights. I am hoping to be the type of “resource” you mentioned.

  48. Your right Jeff it is on how we give value for long term in different aspects that can solve their business pains. It is the value while fulfilling their education for their needs.

  49. I agree that social media can be more than a conversation. However, 1. Sometimes conversations are good. They help us to learn and grow. 2. As for promoting something “important, when the majority treat social media as a conversation and the rest are trying to promote something, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. I think it’s a little misleading to convince people they can break through the noise. They can, but the amount of time and energy it takes can overwhelm one’s life. I’m going to be posting about simplicity in writing and social media in the summer.

    1. Misleading to encourage people that if they care and make others matter that they can’t find their own tribe? I disagree. We aren’t talking about becoming a celebrity here. We’re talking about bringing people together around a cause that matters.

      1. It’s admirable to have passion and to care enough to find their own “tribe.” (I think if I ever gain a larger following I’ll call it a cult. Tongue-in-cheek due to my own past).

        But even in regard to causes that matter, attempting to create a “tribe,” based on my own experience is a momentous and slow task. I’ve already watched dozens of people start blogs and then give them up because the task can be so arduous. My own experience is unique. I started a blog without any prompts from sites as yours or others that offer similar and useful services and advice. However, after taking much of that advice I found myself spending 3-4 hours a day trying to keep up in a vain attempt to attract numbers. This has actually disrupted my home and work life. I’ve since become much more balanced. My point is simply that sometimes I think we promise people more than might be possible for the average blogger. There is a certain wisdom to the old adage “everything in moderation,” but one can’t blog in moderation in an attempt to gain a larger following. At least it’s fairly difficult.

        1. Hmmm. I see what you’re saying. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I’m not interested I’m being average. Nor am I interested in chasing numbers. You don’t have to spend hours a day to help people and get your message to spread. Is that easy? No. Can anyone who chooses to add value do it? Maybe. I’ve seen lots of folks once they made the shift away from “me” do it quite well. Sorry to hear your experience has been so trying, Dan. But I’m glad to hear you’re simplifying and focusing on what matters most.

          1. No need to be sorry, Jeff. I’ve learned much and love what I’m doing. My concern is more for the newbies who start out with loads of zest only to become discouraged. I think sometimes we make it sound too easy to them. I can’t help but wonder how many have put finances and relationships in jeopardy to chase a blogging dream. Maybe not masses, but I would not want to be responsible for leading anyone in that direction. That is why I’m going in the direction of being brutally honest about the struggles of blogging rather than creating what may become false hope for some.

            1. Thanks Dan. As a newbie blogger who started with zest, I can already see that it will take grit to keep going, and that I should not, sadly, give up my day job just yet.
              Having said that, I love it. I don’t think my blog helps people in the way that Jeff suggested, but I do find it enjoyable to read and comment on other people’s blogs, when I have something to say. I know now what it is like to post a story and no one comments (Jeff said we should n’t focus on that, and I take his point, but it’s hard not to notice) so when it’s possible to make a positive comment, I do.
              Thanks again for the advice.

          2. So true, Jeff. After two years of trying to convince people how great my ideas were (yes, I actually believed this), I finally made the switch to trying to serve my community using a talent I’ve been given. This wasn’t a conscious decision in an effort to gain “followers,” but a process of learning how our gifts are best used – in the service of others. I am learning as I go, but people seem to be appreciating what I’m writing. As far as I can tell, people see through an agenda, but love a sincere effort to contribute. Thanks for your example and insights on difference-making.

  50. Jeff I’ve been reading for awhile and I just love the way you write. Thanks for motivating me and helping me start writing and blogging. Seriously man, thanks.

  51. Hey Jeff. I’m late getting by. I wanted to swing Tribe writers, but not going to happen this time. I bet the folks who signed up are going to learn so much their brains won’t be able to handle it all. You are a great motivator. And just a great guy.

  52. I am so excited! I am having all of the members of my team read this series- We have been doing exactly the wrong things. Chasing numbers, writing for us, and being focused on throwing our voice into the arena without really being focused on others… We are doing the tough work to change our strategy and implementation, and I am so appreciative of you taking the lead to teach this. Thank you Jeff!

  53. Thanks for writing such enlightening post. Surely need to focus what I love to write, at the same time how I can make difference for my readers. Thanks Jeff!

  54. Thanks. Reading your post has allow me to dream far about what I need to do.

    Care about, worth talking , making difference.
    Worth remembering.

    Looking forward to the next post.

  55. Really great posts, Jeff. I’m glad I’ve found you on the interwebs. Another important step I like to share with people is to be a listening for what they can contribute. Rather than just putting the same advice out there over and over again (like social media is a conversation), listen for what is missing and then add that missing piece. That’s what you’re doing with your site. Thanks for that!

  56. Your messages are amazingly inspiring and compelling to action! I had to sit down, throw my hands up over my head, and let them fall with fingers clasped together behind my head — in sheer awe of the experience of reading your material. You’ve helped me learn which pieces of the puzzle in my journey are missing; it’s your candid style of getting the truth infused in a passionate soul. So glad I found you.
    Thanks for the fuel — and the process. WOW!

    Pat B. Freeman

  57. One of another best writer I have got to bookmark now to read and apply in practical approach. Thanks Jeff, can’t resist to stop reading — you opened more doors 🙂

  58. Great series, Jeff. I am in the process of setting up my own blog with the purpose of helping others learn from my successes and failures from over a decade of creating and running start-ups with the most recent eCommerce site topping $2million in revenue but in the process burning me out and putting me in the hospital almost literally killing me from the stress of the constant focus on making money and having others use my success at my expense. Having that brush with death made me want to share with others what works and what doesn’t and how to “be careful what you wish for” and do things for the right reasons.. Your post resonated with me as have the others in the series as i have always been someone who tries to help others and by sharing what i learned the HARD way hopefully it will prevent others from going through what i did to learn all i have.

    I have a separate idea for several eBooks to sell with the idea being to monetize a complete guide about how to setup and run a highly profitable eCommerce site the right way which i know quite well but at the same time plan to offer much of the same content as well as other startup lessons and life lessons for free, with the eBooks just a more comprehensive guide people can read instead of wading through blog posts. I’ve always been a big believer in “doing what you know and love” and writing has always been a goal as well as helping others so knowing that that is the goal and to not focus on making money but providing value and help to others and the money will come is exactly what i thought.. thanks for the great posts.

  59. You are such an inspiring writer and so much of what you have said is compelling and genuinely helpful. I am blessed to have found this blog.

  60. Thank you Jeff for all the tips and ideas you have shared. I have been in the though process for a time now and began a blog site as a prelude to a book I am looking to self publish in a few years. Through your teachings I have learned a few mistakes that need to be corrected. Thanks again for the enlightenment on writing.

  61. I read a post by Derek Halpern advising that people should pick a combination of interests and then form that into a persona. For him it was marketing and psychology and he uses that to shape others peoples perception of him. He became the ‘marketing guy who uses psychology to make sales’. For some reason while reading your series of articles part of his idea has coalesced in my mind. I think it is because you mention the aspect of trying to help others and I now know what angle to take in order do that. Thanks for the insights.


  62. Hi. You have given
    such an interesting account of the events. The reaction would have certainly
    proved some of the communities. But personally I feel that you made the right
    decision. You just need to give it some time to settle down

  63. Good solid advice, i enjoyed reading it. It really is a case of not forgetting the basics of life and remembering how important it is to give value and create something worthwhile for others.

  64. I just found you and I already love what you have to say! Thank you. I just recently started a blog (a public blog), and I am slowly discovering what you mentioned here. I am learning so much and I am sharing so much (www.GreaterVista.com) … And I am loving it. If you have any other suggestions included the blog for you to check out. I would love to hear what you have to say. Thank you again.

  65. It’s true! A good post is all about content readers can personally relate to. I have had many people say I am brave because I will write so honestly. I will talk about the issues people shy away from. Everyone might not talk openly about some of these topics, but they are thinking it. These are the articles that get shared over and over and the comments from the readers are fabulous. They will open up and really share as well.

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