In the movie Anchorman, Will Ferrell’s character, Ron Burgundy, tells his friends, “Veronica and I tried this new fad called, uh, jogging. I believe it’s ‘jogging’— or ‘yogging.’ It might be a soft ‘j.’”
I was almost as ignorant when I launched this blog. Sure, I knew how to pronounce “blogging.” But not much else.
Now, starting my fourth year, I’ve been thinking how blogging changed me in surprising but powerful ways—and how it can change you, too.
1. As you learn to appeal to your readers’ senses and emotions, you draw more people to your content.
Even though I was a copywriter for 17 years before I started blogging, I wrote from a distance. From a place that was not so connected to my heart. (I was writing for businesses, after all.)
But a blog is a different animal. Content is content is content. But if you can’t also impact emotions and feelings, you have a pretty boring blog.
2. You learn how to listen.
I always thought I was listening before, but thoughtful comments from readers taught me how to lean in close and really understand what my community was saying.
Perhaps it is the immediacy of blogging.
The instant feedback.
I learned how to use my blog as an idea laboratory, even though I sucked at science. And it is that kind of listening that moves a blogger forward, helps her give her readers the things they need to solve their problems.
3. You develop a ‘thicker skin’ (not necessarily a bad thing).
When I was interning for my school principalship and parents started complaining because my classroom—their children— had a substitute teacher every time I was in the principal’s office, I was crushed to the point of tears.
Some of my ‘customers’—the parents of my first graders—were actually unhappy with me? It was the first time.
I’ll never forget my supervising principal’s wise words: “Judy, you need to be a duck. Just let that water roll right off you.”
Having a thicker skin doesn’t mean you ignore the critics. It just means that you analyze the negative blog comments and figure out if they make sense.
If they do, make an effort to change. If they don’t, accept the criticism, thank the reader for expressing her feelings and move on.
Yes! Another life lesson!
4. You sharpen your teaching skills.
The parts of blogging that are about teaching? They are the best.
Helping people learn things —and making them laugh—are the reasons I was put on this planet.
And when a reader says, “I tried that strategy. And it worked!”? Well, those are some of the happiest moments of my life.
5. You begin to understand the huge differences between an audience and a community.
An audience listens. A community listens and answers back.
An audience doesn’t feel valued. A community is recognized—and appreciated.
An audience is people reading in a vacuum. A community is an audience, talking to the blogger and—more importantly—to each other.
An audience consumes and leaves. A community hangs around.
6. Your blogging buddies and your blog’s readers are added to your ‘cool people I know’ list.
I have met readers and bloggers from all over the world. And since my goal in third grade was to be an interpreter at the United Nations, well, I’m in heaven.
What a fun and diverse community.
People like Claude Nougat from Claude Nougat- The Blog (currently living in Italy) and Cindy King from the Social Media Examiner Blog (France). Joanna Penn from the Creative Penn Blog (Australia).
Ingrid Aboudd from the nittygriddy blog (Lebanon) and Danny Brown from dannybrown.me and For Bloggers, By Bloggers (Canada).
Brankica Underwood from the Live-Your-Love Blog (born in Bosnia, raised in Serbia) and Tony Hastings from the Top 10 Blog (UK).
And people across the U.S., from California to New York and all parts between.
Sonia Simone from Copyblogger (Colorado). John Haydon from the John Haydon Blog (Massachusetts). Becky McCray from the Small Biz Survival Blog (Oklahoma). Jay Ehret from The Marketing Spot Blog (Texas).
The bloggers from Storyfix, Writer Unboxed, Men with Pens, Make a Living Writing, The Renegade Writer, Word Play, and Courage to Create.
7. You just may be lucky enough to find your life passion.
I jumped into the blogging waters three and a half years ago as author of the Cat’s Eye Marketing blog. But over the last six months, I have come to realize that blogging—and writing, specifically—is what I was meant to do.
And I am making the bold decision to write my first book.
And it is not even about blogging or social media.
But, still, one of my greatest joys comes in helping people organize their blog content, write better (and with more passion), and discover where exactly blogging will lead them.
If you have a blog, what are you learning in your blogging journey?
What have you learned from reading blogs?
Have you met any cool people since you started blogging?