Having attended the WBC conference last week I was eager to put my newly acquired knowledge into action and build my blog site. I dug up those great notes I had taken during the conference, and read several tutorials online in order implement my plan. Feeling rather confident about things I started with keynote speaker Corbett Barr’s presentation. Corbett runs Fizzle.com which is an online business dedicated to helping others learn new media skills. Rather than focus on how many businesses “fizzle” out, he decided to base his company on the other meaning of the word fizzle which was “to crackle and buzz” like energy does. He was giving this seminar in order to teach bloggers how to launch and run a successful online business or project. Corbett immediately got our undivided attention with the statement below:
Wine drinking and blogging ≠ Wine blogging
What? You mean that’s not how it works?
Wine bloggers share similar struggles with other types of bloggers in that both need motivation, an audience, design, respect and recognition. Wine blogging is different because the community isn’t as tight, there are not a lot of industry wine “superstars”, few earn a living, and wine bloggers generally don’t get a much respect. Sounds about right from where I am standing so now what? Well, thankfully there are a few tips Corbett passed on.
People tend to follow charisma and persona rather than credentials. Great! I could have saved thousands of dollars by not taking all those educational wine courses. For those who lack credentials then address that issue head on. Fortunately for me…I can cross that issue off the list (I’ll just cry over my bank balance later).
Try to make your site sizzle and stand out from all those other wine blogs sites. Does the world need another wine blog site? No. So then don’t blend in. Find an area in which you can differentiate and be unique. Don’t be afraid to clearly identify your niche. Maybe that means I should start a blog about wines whose labels feature colorful animal characters. I could find plenty of labels that have fish, lizards, birds, zebras etc. on them. Awesome. Which brings us to another question put forth by Corbett which is why should anyone care about this site? Well, if the blog was about labels with animals then people might visit the site because they love animals, or maybe they want to cook those animals because they think the wine inside will go well with their choice. Either way…I get I need to be original with content.
Deliberate practice gets results. In order to become an expert you need to put in at least 10,000 hours according to the so-called experts in any field. So when will I have time to sleep, eat, and drink wine? What Corbett really means is that you have to show up and aim to get better at blogging even if you think you are working hard and not getting the results. Don’t quit and eventually the results you want will come your way. And what’s this talk about you want me to solicit? Oh, wait, you were referring to getting feedback from others. Whew, glad you clarified that one.
Make sure people can find your site. Corbett asked the question ” Where do your potential readers hang out?” Conjuring up images of my friends and associates I realized they were probably in a restaurant, bar, wine shop, wine cellar, winery or vineyard. So in order to get them to come to my site I’ll need to write great content about those previously mentioned items. Okay, so what happens if I do all that and this site still isn’t happening? Well then one must diversify and work with others by writing guest articles, connecting with others in the business and surrounding yourself with other passionate people.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with
So apparently the fastest way to do things you don’t think can be done is to hang around with people already doing them. Is Corbett suggesting I go down to Microsoft, Amazon, or Adobe and hang out with ‘techies’ so that I can learn how to manage the technology required for a blog site quicker? That might work but I prefer to take Corbett’s other advice called Mastermind 101 which involves finding 2 or 3 other bloggers that are committed (avoid those in an institution). Set up a weekly meeting where each individual does three things each week and then everyone evaluates whether they met those goals. Mastermind 101 participants hold each other accountable to their goals.
Attending this seminar at WBC14 motivated me to mingle with my fellow bloggers. It was fascinating listening to stories of how each person got started, what they liked writing about, and their individual aspirations. I met a great group of professionals at this conference. If one is to believe that you are the sum of the 5 people you most spend time with, then truly I am blessed as I couldn’t have met better quality people. By aligning myself with these individuals I hope to get this blog to Sizzle with Fizzle.