So over the past couple of years I have really stepped out of my shell.  I have to tell you that speaking in front of individuals and writing for the whole world to see, was never something I thought I would do.  In fact, I was pretty terrified to do both of those things.   People who follow me will probably be pretty shocked to hear those things.

I am terrified of spiders.  I would say that putting myself out there in front of the world was right up there with siting next to the biggest & hairiest spider in the world.  Yes.  It is true.  When I started to write and as my social media presence expanded I was staring that fear right in the face.   I felt uneasy.  I was awkward.  But, I think as time has progressed, I have become more and more confident and that monkey on my back has fallen off.

Blogging is getting a little out of control.  Anybody and everybody can write, and they do.  So, the question is how do you differentiate yourself from the crowd?  It isn’t easy and it certainly doesn’t come quickly.  There are some keys to social media success.   I have learned a few tricks and I wanted to share them.  If you understand these fundamental principles, then you are on the right track.  Here are 10 things I have learned from blogging.

1.  Understand Your Audience

This is the thing that most people never figure out.  Who are you talking to?  Who’s attention are you trying to grab? What does your audience like to hear about?  For me, my audience was recruiters and the candidate.  I have been both.  I knew I would add value to helping other recruiters and also giving candidate advice.

2.  Know the People Who Can Influence Others

This takes time.  There are a ton of people talking.  There aren’t many that listen.  People listen to the people who can influence others.  I never understood the importance of influencers until I started writing.  After I picked up the pen I realized quickly who the key players were in the market.  It is important to build relationships with the influencers.   Having relationships with other influencers means it is a two way street.  You can’t expect them to help you if you don’t help them.  Sharing their content goes miles.  They will help you get your social media presence kickstarted.

3.  Find a Platform that Works

LinkedIn now has “Publisher “where anybody in the world can write a blog post.  If you have never written, I wouldn’t advise doing that.  Find a platform where you can share your ideas & thoughts and where you aren’t on the biggest stage in the world.  Make some mistakes.  As I look at posts I have written a couple of years ago, I sometimes clinch my teeth and close my eyes.  Remember, if you are going to get better, you are going to have to make mistakes.  For me RecruitingBlogs was a great platform.  You just need to find one that works for you.

4.  Be Cognizant of What You Write

It is easy to rant.  It is hard to write good quality blog posts.  What is funny about writing though is what you think will do well, won’t.  What you think won’t do well, will.    I have spent hours on blogs and yes, some of them have done quite well.  I have spent 20 minutes on a rant and I wish it would just go away.  As your social media presence grows, your posts will  go viral faster.  Social media can be a blessing or a curse.

5.  Understand the Definition of Success In Blogging

So, success comes in a number of ways and the definition has changed.  Do you want your content to be viewed, shared, or commented on?  What I just described are 3 different ways to measure success.  Personally, I like a mixture of all.  Sometimes people will tweet your blogs and not read a sentence of them.  I know if I have a catchy title that can happen quickly.  What I really want though is for someone to take the time to read what I write.  I spend a lot of time putting something together.  I really value comments.  So, if I can get some people to read it, some people to share it,  and some people to comment, I have written a successful blog.  A simple analytics tool like Google Analytics can tell you all you need to know about your visitors.

6.  When You Figure it out, It Will Change!

When I first started writing all of my shares came through LinkedIn.  LinkedIn Publisher changed the rules.  Then, all of my information was being seen on Google Plus.  Google Plus may shut down some day soon.  Then Twitter was the king.  Now my friends on Facebook are  sharing my information.  I have no idea what next year brings.  I just have to continue to share on all the channels and be aware of new technologies.

7.  People are Getting Sick of Reading and Writing

I think longevity in blogging is very difficult.  People simply run out of things to say or realize the time  investment in blogging.  With so much information out there, people are sick of seeing blog posts and self promotion every day.  Truthfully, you aren’t going to get rich writing, so it has to be something that you enjoy doing.  People will follow you if they find something you have to say interesting, otherwise they will see you as a nuisance.  People simply don’t have time to read all of the blogs that are out there.  If you started in 2008, it would have been a lot easier to start a blog.  It is difficult.

8.  Less Can Be More

If you write less, sometimes it is more powerful.  You may not have to write a whole blog post but a micro blog.  People may find more time to read that as it is faster.  A good mix could work well.

9.  Consider Media

With all of the blogs out there, diversify.  People like video.  People like audio.  Think about mixing that into your blogging equation.

10.  Be Real

If I have learned one thing from blogging, it is to be yourself.  People relate to people.  They can’t relate to some marketing piece.  Whatever you write, tie it into a personal experience and people will listen to you.  Without this key componet, you might as well just stay out of the blogging arena.

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