We’re always warned about mistakes to avoid. In fact, writing about mistakes to avoid is a surefire way to get eyeballs on your blog.
But I’m flipping the script.
Instead of avoiding mistakes, I’m encouraging you to make them.
In fact, here are five mistakes you absolutely MUST make if you want to get better at blogging.
#1 Write an Awkward Post
Blogging is like any new skill you learn: it starts out kinda awkward, and then you get better at it the more you practice.
Write a blog post that’s clumsy or that makes your point in an awkward way. Leave out transition words. Add in the first example that comes to mind instead of the perfect example. And then hit publish.
The only way to get better at blogging is to start. Seriously. You can’t get better at blogging — or writing more generally — by thinking about it. There’s no article you can read or video you can watch that will turn you from a beginner blogger into a master.
The only way from padawan to jedi master is practice, practice, practice. The sooner you publish that first (or first several) awkward post(s), the sooner you can learn, grow, and write a better post.
#2 Publish a Post No One Reads
Blogging might feel like a chicken-and-egg problem: you need readers to blog to, but you have to have content up on your blog for those readers. So what do you do first?
The answer is create the content. Publish a post no one reads (except maybe your mom and your cat).
Your content is the reason people come back to your clubhouse, aka your website. You have to create the content to give people a reason to visit your site. If you wait to produce content until you have an audience, you’ll be waiting a mighty long — and frustrating — time.
Until you start sharing links it, pretty much no one’s seeing your blog. Start writing and publishing. Experiment. Find your voice. And DON’T SWEAT IT!
#3 Write a Post That’s Too Dense
Go for it. Cram everything you can think of into that post until it’s bulging at the seams. Word vomit all your ideas onto your laptop.
When you’re starting out with blogging, sometimes it’s hard to curate your ideas and decide how to unpack them. Giving yourself permission to write a massive post takes away the need to spend time figuring how to break up a topic — which is a key reason why a lot of business owners don’t start blogging!
Plus, your super-dense post is a great source of raw material. You can return to it later and tease out the topic into several more highly-focused blog posts later. But for now, you won’t lose your ideas or your nerve.
#4 Publish an Imperfect Post
Hit publish on a post that has a typo or where you used “it’s” instead of “its.” Guess what? This is going to happen! I’m just giving you permission to take it in stride. When you realize you’ve got a post out there that has a minor error in it, just breathe and know that that’s what happens in blogging.
When you publish a new blog post each week, the early (slightly imperfect) posts get quickly replaced by a mountain of increasingly high-quality posts.
If you sit on a post long enough to polish it until it’s perfect, the moment is gone. I’m not encouraging you to be sloppy. I want you to proofread your work and to put effort and energy into it.
No one’s reading your blog as if it were a book. They don’t want perfection. They want helpful info in your authentic voice, and they want it now! They’re reading because they want the help, knowledge, tips, steps, insights, inspiration, or entertainment you’re providing.
Help your audience right now. When the idea strikes you. Waiting until it’s perfect may mean the post’s moment has passed.
#5 Write on a Topic Someone Else Has Already Covered
One of the biggest concerns I hear from business owners who attend my blogging workshops is that everything has already been said in their industry.
My answer is always, “Yes, it has. But not by YOU!”
Add your ideas to the conversation and show readers your unique take on the topic. Your voice, your approach, and your sensibility will make the information “click” for someone who may have heard the same message before 100 times.
When I covered this very topic in a Facebook Live, here’s how one viewer described it:
It’s actually a good thing to be taking on topics that people are already thinking about. Where there’s a conversation, there’s already a market.
If your blog posts are on unique subjects that no one else is covering, it’s going to be really challenging to get readers to relate to them.
Which Mistake Will You Make First?
You’ve probably realized that these actions aren’t actually mistakes. They FEEL like mistakes, but they’re actually a key part of learning to blog.
The amazing thing about blogging that’s different from, say writing a book, is that you get feedback regularly! You get to see how your audience is responding and which topics and posts interest them the most.
That means the sooner you get out there and start publishing posts, the sooner you’ll know what’s working. And the sooner you can adjust, refine, and grow as a blogger.
Remember, the goal of a blog is to engage with your audience and give them your thoughts in real time. The more you write, the more you’ll find your process and learn to balance polished posts with timely posts.
But these first few steps are probably going to feel pretty darn awkward. Good. That means you’re doing it right!