Lead On Purpose is one year old today. Yippee!
On December 2, 2007 I started the blog with a simple post inviting the world to participate in a discussion about developing and practicing leadership principles regardless of title (whether or not they have management responsibilities over other people). In the first few weeks and months things were pretty quiet; few readers, few comments. It was the “deafening silence” that David Meerman Scott writes about. Over time, however, things have picked up and the blog has gained increasing traffic.
People have many and varied reasons why they start blogging. My primary inspiration was Steve Johnson from Pragmatic Marketing. I ran into Steve at a conference, told him about some things I was working on, and he said I should write an article and get it published in The Pragmatic Marketer. I followed his advice and my first article was published in January. Thanks for the kick-start Steve!
Another person who’s had a major influence on my blogging during the past year is Dr. Paul. His blogs and podcast cover important topics that have influenced my writing and thinking significantly. And unlike most of the friends I’ve made in cyberspace, I live close to Dr. Paul and get the opportunity to see him often.
Many others have influenced the direction of this blog; far too many to call out on one post. (Take a look at the blog roll to get an idea of who some of the main contributors have been.) I want to give special thanks to the folks at Ryma Technology Solutions who not only recognized the value in my blog, but liked it (and me I suppose) enough to hire me as a product management consultant and let me do what I love every day. I can honestly say I get up every day excited to go to work.
Lessons learned: Here are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned in my first year of blogging:
- Focus: Establish an overall theme for your blog and stick to it. For me it finally gelled as I started writing about principles of leadership and applying them to product management. I write about other topics such as team building, trust and learning. Though I do not always do it very eloquently, my goal is to tie each topicback to my overriding theme.
- Write consistently: To feed the search engines and build an SEO presence, you have to write regularly. I have made it my goal to write at least two posts per week. I write more when I can.
- Create value: This goes without saying…you need to create something of value for your readers. This is a tough one to judge accurately. Given that the viewership of Lead on Purpose has consistently risen, I think (hope) I can say I’m offering something of value.
- Write for the reader: Ok, another obvious statement. You may have noticed that I seldom use first person when I write (this post is a specific exception; on purpose). This point became much more apparent in August when I was introduced to The Tuned In Calculator. That has helped me to write for the reader and not for myself.
- Open up: Create Bio and About pages to let people know who you are and why you write. This idea causes discomfort for many; however, if your going to write you need to let people know who you are and what your purpose is for writing.
- Have fun: Blogging should be fun. If it’s not, try something else. A good way to get a feel for whether you would enjoy writing your own blog is to read others’ blogs and leave comments. You can also write a guest post for a blog you follow. If you have an idea for a post on my blog, please contact me.
Many thanks to all of you who subscribe to Lead on Purpose, who read it off and on, or stumble upon it by accident. I am grateful for the support you give me and your interest in my writing. Your feedback creates much value for me; please continue to leave comments. Specifically (for this post) I’m interested to know what lessons you have learned from blogging and using other social media.
The Product Management Perspective: I offer my sincerest thanks to the product management community. You are among the smartest, most talented people in the world! I consider it an honor to be one among you and look forward to meeting you both in person and on-line. Please continue to participate in my blog and watch for me on Twitter (coming soon thanks to encouragement from Stewart Rogers and Gopal Shenoy ). More importantly, please let me know what I can do to help you. If you have a topic you want to discuss, please speak up. If you want to write a guest post, please let me know; I welcome the opportunity. The Product Management community is strong and growing, and together we will continue to improve.
December 2, 2008 at 3:19 pm
Congratulations on your one year blogging anniversary. You should be proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time.
I really enjoyed your lessons learned. I tried the tuned in calculator – and scored a 6, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Keep up the great work!
December 2, 2008 at 3:28 pm
MIchael – very nice post! It’s good to read about the background, and to hear about your early trials and tribulations with the blog.
And thanks for the shoutout to PMs – we are a special breed, aren’t we 🙂
December 3, 2008 at 4:03 am
Michael, keep up the great work.
Your traffic will continue to increase. My experience and that of others I’ve spoken with is that the progression becomes very dramatic once you reach a critical mass. I started blogging in 2004 and now that we are almost in 2009 I feel like I have a strong following. The early years are a little tough, but the payoff is worth the efforts.
The good news is that you have excellent information here and that is the most important thing!
Take care, David
December 3, 2008 at 6:08 am
Michael, great tips on starting and maintaining your blog. Most of all, congratulations on keeping it going for a year. Many folks start blog but they fizzle out after a few posts. Your focus on product management leadership has been a real value to the community.
And hey, when’s your next article in The Pragmatic Marketer?
December 3, 2008 at 5:48 pm
@Dan – I’m happy you found the lessons learned helpful. The first time I tried the Tuned In Calculator I scored a 4 or 5; in the last few months I’ve been at 9, though I’m down to a 7 of late. It’s not perfect science by any means, but it causes you to think much more about what you are writing.
@Nils – PMs are definitely a special breed of people; what a great group to be a part of!
@David – I appreciate you sharing your experiences. I have to admit there are days it seems like no one is listening, then days come when it’s obviously interesting to many. I agree that persistence pays off; I’m already starting to see the evidence. I’m looking forward to reaching critical mass and definitely feel it’s worth the effort.
@Steve – I’ve seen several blogs fizzle; that’s a big part of what keeps me going strong. Thank you for acknowledging my focus on product management leadership. I feel this is an area with a tremendous potential to help people (especially PMs) take their game to a new level. And my next article…it’s in the hopper!
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