Yesterday I did something I hardy ever do, namely, I attended a work event on a Saturday. As a father of five my Saturdays are set aside for family time and activities, but in this case a team of us from Fresh decided to attend WordCamp Seattle 2012 and it was well worth the time.
The sessions were organized into three tracks:
- Users / Bloggers
- Power Users & Designers
While I am a “blogger” I’m not a power user. I have the Fresh team to thank for making me look like I am, so I chose to attend the Users / Bloggers session. I found this track incredibly useful for helping me to approach what I do with my blog and how I do it more effectively. The mid-day keynote with Scott Berkun was transformative, even inspirational. I took a string of notes during the sessions and I want to share LOTS with you, but, like a good blogger, I’m gonna keep this to just three key learnings that I found very helpful.
Key Learning #1 – Blogging should be scheduled
We all know this. Becoming proficient at anything takes work and discipline. My children play piano and they are very good at it. Why? Because they practice daily and usually at a scheduled time. On the contrary, I blog whenever I feel “inspired” to write something that I feel is profound. I’m not in the practice of writing regularly, therefore I’m not as proficient. Like the quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when the great, Lady Catherine De Bourgh says, when speaking of becoming a great musician, “If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.” She never did so she never was.
- I need to schedule time for writing
- I need to blog according to a schedule
Key Learning #2 – Blogging is work
Scott Berkun shared a most interesting quote from magician Penn Jillette, from the Penn & Teller duo:
The whole world is pretending the breakthrough is in technology. The bottleneck is really in art.
- I need to practice the art of writing and this means revising what I’ve written pre and post publishing
- I need to read others content with the intent of really learning more
Key Learning #3 – Numbers are the wrong metric
Yeah, ok, numbers ARE the wrong metric to measure the effectiveness of a blog, but it sure is easy to measure this and then stop, right there. SEE! I’ve got readers! I’ve got followers! People really, really Like me.
It’s not the numbers of readers, but the quality of them. How the heck can one measure this? To my knowledge there’s no software tool in the world that can accurately mesure this, but let me tell you what works for me:
- When people comment – I love this, whether the comments agree or disagree. Comments indicate the content was read, considered and the reader took the time to comment publicly to share their feedback.
- When people meet in real life and discuss their opinions about what was written.
- When people link back to your content
- When they share your content with others
- When they say, “Hey, that video on your About Page really hit me.”
- When you get speaking requests, consulting gigs, interviews, etc. from something on your blog
I continue to process insights from attending WordCamp and cherishing the new friends I’ve made since diving in to this digital media world. With so many of my new friendships made online when we meet it’s not handshakes, but hugs.
Perhaps hugs is the best metric of them all?