How to create content online that resonates with your ideal audience.

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Recently I was asked to “look over” someone’s blog.

Instead of looking at one person’s blog and providing feedback, I’d much rather think about what has worked for me and share those insights with a wider audience. I hope this approach will have a bigger impact.

Why should you listen to me?

I’ve been blogging and podcasting consistently since 2015. Thousands follow my work. The podcast is certainly the bigger hit with millions of downloads, but I consistently rank on the first page of Google search results for keywords I choose to write about.

Here are 10 tips for what has made my blog a success.

Write for yourself.

So you have to always write for yourself first. Scratch your own itch. Investigate and research what you are curious about. Do that work in public and put that “signal” into the world in the form of a blog post.

Eventually, that signal will get stronger and it will attract your audience.

Then write for one other person.

If you write for just one person it will feel more intimate and will resonate with far more people.

Be real. If it feels scary to share, the better.

My mentor says people crave authenticity.

So the scarier the topic feels the more it will resonate.

Focus on service, not selling.

Focus on service first.

Consistency builds trust and a following.

Shipping inconsistently would have been like training for a marathon, and instead of running regularly each week, deciding to run a handful of random times leading up to the big day. I might finish the race in both cases, but I’m going to perform a lot better with consistent preparation.

Dive into the data, but don’t obsess over the numbers.

I’m in love with the conversations I have with my guests on the podcast. We could talk easily for an hour or more. But the data showed that people stopped listening 55% of the way in. So I started recording shorter conversations. And my listen rates went up. It was hard for my ego, but I am creating a podcast for my audience.

This idea works the same with blogging. You can see what blogs get the most visits. A site like Medium will tell you how many views happen and how much of your article is read.

Views tell you which titles were enticing.

Your read rate tells you how much of the article is read (on your website you can install a plugin to help you understand read ratio via a “heat map”).

Do more of what is working.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork.

Do what only you can do.

Niche, niche, niche.

School leadership is even better.

School leadership in an urban setting, better still.

School leadership in an urban setting for principals with 1–3 years of experience … now we’re cooking.

School leadership in an urban setting for principals with 1–3 years of experience and come from a culture that doesn’t represent their students — jackpot.

It’s counterintuitive because as you become more specialized, automatically your potential audience size shrinks.

But I’d rather have 50 fans who say, “This guy gets me. It’s like he knows exactly what I’m thinking and how I feel” versus “What is this topic about? Is this for me? Should I spend some time reading this article?”

Imitate, then create.

Austin Kleon said it best — Steal Like an Artist.

Remember Rule #6.

If you’re writing online, stamina matters. It’s a lot easier to keep showing up and doing great work if you don’t take yourself too seriously.

If you’re interested in checking out my blog, click here.

If you love audio and are interested in education and leadership, give my show a listen on Apple or Spotify.

Host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast with over one million downloads 🚀

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