“Do you think I should write a blog?” asked my friend Brian.
His grandfather was a huge influence in his life and still comes to mind as Brian lives out his faith, family, and business.
Brian decided to record all the stories he could remember his grandfather telling him. Over time there were enough stories to fill a book. He organized the stories by major topic and envisioned getting his book published. He sent it to an agent who asked if there were even more stories which needed to be included. He said, “I have loads of them.”
“You should start a blog,” the agent suggested.
To get a book published as an unknown author, you have to already have a fan base. The best and most cost-effective way to build a fan base is to blog every week. The publisher then uses the author’s fan base as the foundation to market the new book. This greatly reduces the risk for the publisher, and that’s why she advised Brian to do it.
Brian said to me, “I read your blogs and thought you might be able to advise me on how to get started.”
Here are the five essential elements I’ve found.
1. You must have a strong why
I was wrestling with God on my blog for over three years. I use the quiet time between Christmas and New Year’s to plan the next year. In prayer, I kept hearing God tell me, “This year is the year.” God was leading me to share my business and life experience from a biblical worldview.
I knew I didn’t have the discipline or skill to undertake this long-term project on my own, so I called my friend Gregg Hinthorn.
We met at the end of December 2014 and set an April 1, 2015, launch date. That’s when the journey began.
2. You must identify an audience you passionately care about
I love entrepreneurs. I fell in love with my first entrepreneur when I was 22 years old. Richard Brock was 27. The day I went to work for him was a great day and every day after that was just as exciting. To this day, every time I meet an entrepreneur, I think of it as a gift. These are special men and women. The people who rock our world. These are people of vision.
3. You must have a unique message, usually based in experience
I started investing in startups in June of 1976. We built that company into the leader in our market and had a successful exit. We even made the three-year earn-out. I then went the corporate route for seven years, only to return to working with entrepreneurs.
For 24 years I’ve been an angel investor. I advise entrepreneurs every week, and I’ve invested in over 30 startups. There are lots of stories in all those conversations and transactions. Lots to share.
4. You must blog consistently
Gregg told me, “If you want to grow consistent readership, you must blog consistently. I like daily posts.” Consistency I can do. But to tell you the truth, I couldn’t get there with daily. I follow the guys, like David Cummings and Fred Wilson, who built their reputation with daily posts. I am in awe of their commitment. Fred has blogged every day for over 14 years. Maybe one day.
In the meantime, I publish twice a week. This was the minimum we agreed to. Does this mean I’m a “do the absolute minimum kind of guy?” No. Publishing two times every week is hard. But it’s also rewarding in more ways than I could have anticipated.
5. You must have an editor and site manager
I needed a partner, mentor, and confidant. That’s Gregg Hinthorn. Designing and maintaining the blog site and keeping it fresh requires time and talent. Thinking about what’s necessary to grow a deep and loyal following takes time.
Having someone I am accountable to is necessary for me. Doing this on my own was not a solution. Gregg has done a great job in editing my posts, getting them out there, and keeping me sane and motivated.
Do you want to start a blog? Talk to the Lord. It all starts with a strong “why.”
If you are going to start a blog or you need to make your current blog more effective, email Gregg. He is terrific!