This blog post was originally part of a different contest, but since apparently someone got drunk and deleted it, we’re giving it a second chance in The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest. Enjoy!
So most people would tell you that blogging under the influence is like drunk texting everyone you know at 3am to tell them you’re at the IHOP to get your short stack on. Not many people are gonna advocate topping off an evening of Irish car-bombs with an unbridled WordPress rant. Sure it SEEMS appropriate to explore your mommy issues or publish the tale of an ex who still won’t return your calls or your Weezer CD. But the light of day is looming. And like any kind of drunken communication, you’re likely to wake up nauseous; half from your hangover and half from the realization that your cyber humiliation is irrevocable.
But, this post is called why you SHOULD blog drunk. Am I really about to encourage you all to engage in BWI? Well based on certain criteria, I say it’s not a bad idea. My inspiration comes from one of my favorite drinking jokes; the one that explains the various phases of drunkenness. Oh, you’ve probably hear it. It’s this one. According to this, there are 5 Stages of drunkenness. All together, they make for a pretty good night out and if used properly, they can also help make you a great blogger.
Stage 1: Smart.
The formula says that when you’re drunk you know everything. A person in the “smart” phase of drunk is confident in their mastery of every subject known to man. Well a good blogger doesn’t need to be omniscient, but a little mastery of your niche is helpful. This does not mean to blog like you know what you’re talking about if you’re actually an idiot. If what you are contributing to your subject area is as valuable as an arm pit noise, here’s a hint; people are going to catch on. Well, the people who aren’t dumber than you anyway.
That doesn’t mean that you are relegated to blogging on subjects you are already an expert on. There is something human, honest and even inspirational about following a blogger as they study, and learn something new.
What it does mean, is that the age-old writers credo “Write what you know” is true for bloggers too. Before you start writing about anything be smart on the subject first, and be smart in choosing your topic. Or if the first 2 ships have already sailed, well, then it’s never too late to get smart on your topic.
Stage 2: Good Looking
This isn’t about physical beauty, this is about a mentality. Someone in the Good Looking stage of drunk BELIEVES themselves to be the most attractive person in the room. Reality is not a factor in this belief. Feeling attractive makes you believe that people are interested in you, and want to hear what you have to say. That assumption can even help you get the digits of a girl you thought was way out of your league two vodka tonics ago. In blog world, it can help you get a following you never believed you could have. Most people will tell you that hotness is 90% confidence. If you’re Smart on your blog topic then be confident that people are into you.
Stage 3: Rich
If you’re ACTUALLY rich you’re probably too busy picking out new rims for your Maserati to care about where you stand in Technorati. Being drunk Rich means betting Günter, the 300 pound biker, a Grand that you can take him in arm wrestling. Or buying that entire Bachelorette party a round of cosmos because you like their falic little straws.
Blogging like you’re Rich means blogging like you don’t care if it ever makes you rich. People who start a blog because they think it’s a quick route to early retirement are due for a reality check. Or a bitch slap. Or both. According to these numbers, 72% of people report NO income from their blogs, but 61% of people report blogging to supplement their income. Um, I’m no good at math but that seems off. If only 28% of people are reporting an income from their blogs… then a lot of people are either liars…or screwed.
Even if you are making money with your blog in order to have a really good one, it’s most effective to write like you AREN’T. Huh? Listen, writing once a week about the virtues of Pay Day Loans or the dangers of Mesothelioma is a dead give away that your wallet is more engaged in the blog than your heart. Whether you are running ads, affiliate programs, writing reviews or however you are monetizing your blog, the key is to keep the content authentic. Writing like you don’t care about the money is the best way to ensure that everything you put out is high quality work that you can be proud of. Coincidentally, that’s the same kind of content that can help you make better money.
Stage 4: Invincible
This level of drunk is where you can easily break a toe kicking an insubordinate dartboard, or Günter, without noticing. Nothing hurts, and you can’t BE hurt. To apply this concept to blogging it means… well it means pretty much exactly the same thing. Courage is a part of blogging I’ve struggled with myself; fear is something that affects most bloggers at some time or another. Fear of backlash, fear of retribution, fear of mockery or hell just a fear of being called wrong. But in order to be truly successful as a blogger you have to get past the fear. No one achieves greatness by playing it safe. If you blog long enough and build a big enough following as a blogger, then the fact is that, yes you will say something stupid, yes, you will piss someone off and yes, people will make fun of you and hate you. Once you accept that inevitability, once you can convince yourself that sticks and stones may break your bones, but trolls can never hurt you, you’ll be fine. When you are true to yourself, and write what you truly think and feel without that fear, you are blogging like you’re invincible.
Stage 5: Invisible
When you’re an invisible drunk, you have the freedom to do whatever you want because, what the hell, it’s not like anybody can see you! Or you’ve just has so many Long Island Iced Teas that the concept of “shame” eludes you at this point. Invisibility in blogging, at least to me, is two fold.
First an invisible blogger is transparent. Reputable bloggers have been talking about the importance of transparency in blogging for years. It’s not new. The idea is simply to be honest about who you are, your motivation for blogging and the intent of your blog. If you run ads and try to hide them you look super shady and people won’t feel like they can trust you. And in case you’ve been busy re-directing Ring Tone sites to Porn sites, let me fill you in; trust is a huge factor online. In cyber-world it’s way too easy to scam and be scammed. People worry about liars, hijackers and spam pretty much with every click. So everyone has grown increasingly wary and cautious online. For bloggers that translates to, be honest and you’re good; lie and get caught… yeah you’re pretty much done.
The second part of invisible blogging involves getting out of your own way. It’s really easy to develop an ego when you acquire a following. People start thinking “Wow, all these people are reading what I have to say, I must be awesome…and rich and smart AND good looking! You know what, you may be… and even if the blog is about your personal stories and experiences, the blog really shouldn’t be about YOU. It should be about the message. And, of course the people who take the time to read and comment on it. That’s why it’s important to make yourself, and your ego, invisible on your blog. Take pride in your work but check that pride at the publish button. Learn to accept constructive criticism and for god’s sake, interact with the people who care enough about your point of view to weigh in on it. You are not the pied piper of subscribers so learn to become invisible on your blog so that the content can take center stage.
Ok so if you were hoping for a blog that endorsed doing keg stands before sitting down at your computer, I’m sorry to disappoint. But if you can manage apply the 5 stages of drunkenness to your blog, you might find yourself a little tipsy on the joy of blogging. And who knows, you might even be able to get away with a little pre-blog pre-gaming, I mean after all your Smart enough to know when you had too many…right?
When you’re new to link building it’s easy to get discouraged. Getting links can be challenging work, fraught with failure, rejection, mistakes, and sometimes character assassinations. Just like politics. Someone can learn how to speak in public, fund raise and debate. But you cannot teach charisma, tenacity and integrity. Those qualities are simply instinctive. Well, we may have fewer babies and grandmas to kiss, but there are certain instinctual qualities that help with learning to build links. And over time those skills can be cultivated and honed. Sure, not every link builder will turn out to be a Superstar, but with the right training most people can learn to get quality links on a consistent basis. Here’s how.
It’s important to establish some ground rules for link builders. Make sure they know what kind of link building they are doing, and what kind of links they should be getting. Not because the link builder is stupid or a slippery character, but because certain things are just dangerous and a new link builder won’t know any better. You don’t want a new link builder to accidentally email http://www.mattcutts.com offering money or talking about Page Rank and getting links for rankings. Most people who are new to link building just don’t understand the mine field they are walking into and could easily set off a series of explosions which could rattle your entire business. Set boundaries; teach them to pay attention to details and instruct them as to where the really dangerous traps are, BEFORE they fall into one.
The best course of action is probably to provide a full scale education on the ins and outs of SEO and the function and risks of link building as a whole. But if that’s not possible, a specific set of rules is essential. And a little fear of God for breaking them never hurts either.
Set specific goals
Along those lines, link builders also need goals. Clearly the purpose of any link builder’s day is to get links. But what kind of links? What level of quality? I can go out and score 50 directory links a day or 1,000 links across one site or a network of sites. But are those really the links we want? Beware of a goals structure which is purely numbers based. Emphasizing the ends without any attention to the means can (and often will) result in cheating, corner cutting and flat out bad decision making. Define good and bad links, and use measurements which reflect those characteristics.
Teaching link builders to understand links as a part of the “big picture” can help them become more invested in the process. Obtaining a specific number of links is somewhat gratifying, but seeing the positive effect links can have on a web site can be truly exciting. A link builder will find more satisfaction when the emphasis is placed on the larger goal as opposed to the micro-chasm of simply getting a certain number of links. There will be a greater sense of fulfillment and a stronger tendency to make the right choices.
Create a system
If you let a bunch of link builders loose on a stylistic free for all you will get erratic results at best. But by creating a system for getting links, you have a process to follow. And in using a process, you can gauge strengths and weaknesses, both within the system itself and the link builders. Each step of the system should be simple and easy to replicate. It’s also helpful if each part of the process can be examined on its own and tailored to suit each link builder’s individual style.
Templates in general are good, but humanized spam is bad. If your link builder is simply a human version of a robot, then it might be cheaper just to create an automated system to serve the same function. Auto-bots don’t require health care, lunch breaks or whine when the bathroom is out of paper towels. But they inevitably lack the judgment and insight that a humans bring to the process. And everyone who’s ever gotten an automated email knows that SPAM reads like SPAM no matter how may smiley emoticons you put in the message.
The other benefit to using human link builders is that they are unique, and will excel in different areas. By watching how a link builder meets their goals and performs various functions of a link building system you can begin to see where their talents lie. Whether the strength is in identifying what will get links, who will give links or even just exceptional hand to keyboard speed, recognizing each link builder’s talents can be a crucial part of the training process. When link builders are allowed to focus on their fortes and use some creativity, managers will usually discover a host of new ideas, new techniques and, of course, their future trainers.
Over time most people can develop a talent for link building. Most link builders will inevitably grow the gut reaction to just know when something is right or wrong, possible or impossible, a good idea or a bad one. Yes, those instincts themselves may be difficult to “train” in someone. But with rules, goals, a system and a focus on utilizing strengths where they naturally occur, you will create a staff that is eager to learn, produce, and excel at the art of getting links.