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7 Ways To Make Your Blog Amazingly Influential

7 Ways To Make Your Blog Amazingly Influential

Anyone can write a blog, and millions do. Because of that, the barrier to entry is actually set rather high. You’re more than welcome to write whatever you want, but it’s unlikely to ever be read. Everyone has to take their licks to reach success, and blogging is no different. For your blog to be found, you need to provide relevant and timely information in a readable format. It’s more difficult than it sounds, but if you follow these seven rules, you’ll have a solid foundation to make your blog influential.

1. Be Brutally Honest

Honesty is always the best policy–especially when writing. Even fiction writers are honest. Authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling base their fictional stories on true facts. They extensively research the subjects they write about, and they’re honest when describing the fantasy worlds and stories in their imaginations. This is what makes them successful. Learning to speak and think honestly is a skill we learn, and blogging is a great way to start.

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2. Stick to Your Passions

If you’re not passionate about what you’re writing about, you’ll never be seen as an authority on the topic. You’ll always be behind and provide old (or inaccurate) info. Your creative well will run dry rather quickly. No matter what you’re passionate about, you can create a blog around it.

Although my mainstream media posts are about business and technology, my personal blog is much different. I couldn’t focus on those boring subjects 24/7, and I didn’t want to risk writing a piece and not knowing where to post it. Instead, my personal blog discusses drugs, piracy, and entertainment– all subjects I’m well-versed in, but don’t have much of an outlet for. The change has nearly quadrupled my blog traffic, because I’m passionate about my work.

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3. Ignore the Haters

No matter who you are or what you do, you’ll face your share of haters. These people will pour their Haterade down your throat, telling you that everything you do is wrong, and you will fail. There are various ways to deal with haters, but my personal favorite is the acquaintance zone, which is a distant and much more insulting friend zone, as you leave these people in limbo. Kindly brush those haters off–don’t even acknowledge their words. Simply shut them down and move on.

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    4. Find Your Voice

    If you follow the three steps above, you’ll start to develop your true voice. Once you find your voice, writing becomes much easier. Rather than thinking of what to write, you begin to write in a stream-of-consciousness manner. You’re no longer searching for words, but for topics to lend your voice to. It’s a subtle difference, but it changes everything.

    5. Keep Writing

    If you want to be a writer, you have to keep writing. You can stress about all the imperfections, fears, and other details, but continue to write. When I started, I only wrote once, maybe twice, a week. My average over the last six months is four pages per day. At that rate, I’m able to write a Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones to the television crowd) book every two years. Unfortunately, not every page I write is on that level. In another five years, I hope to be able to crank out a novel a year, on top of blogging.

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    6. Seriously… Write More

    Michael Jordan got good at basketball by playing. Rihanna got good at singing by singing. The only way you’ll ever become a better writer is by writing. Push yourself to continue writing. Even if nobody reads it, it’ll make your site look fuller by the time someone does. Nobody wants to hit a site that only has one blog and nothing else. A deep archive makes it look like you belong there. Keep writing.

    7. The Devil Is in the Details

    The hardest part about writing is formatting. It’s not that it’s technically hard; HTML is a simple language to learn. You must be very detail-oriented, though. Learn SEO tactics to ensure maximum visibility of your blog. Pay attention to picture titles, captions, file names, and tags. Ensure every page has a header, a picture, and links to other sections of your blog. Every detail counts, and it’ll keep people on your blog longer, which will continue to help your site.

    Blogging looks simple on the surface–everyone has an opinion to share. The difference between James Altucher and Joe Schmo lies in the amount of effort put into it. If you’re not willing to dedicate the time and effort necessary to succeed, you’ll always be outshined by the thousands who are. Stop being frignorant, roll up your sleeves, get your quill out, and get to writing.

    Featured photo credit: Calm Blue Oceans via calmblueoceans.com

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    Published on September 16, 2020

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

    Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

    Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

    Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

    Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

    Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

    Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

    1. Organization

    When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

    When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

    Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

    To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

    To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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    2. Flexibility

    You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

    Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

    For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

    To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

    3. Collaboration

    As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

    Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

    To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

    To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

    4. Poise

    Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

    When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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    What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

    To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

    To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

    5. Communication

    Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

    When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

    To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

    To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

    6. Good Computer Hygiene

    Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

    Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

    To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

    To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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    7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

    Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

    Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

    To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

    To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

    8. Respecting Feedback

    In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

    Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

    To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

    To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

    9. Project Management

    Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

    To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

    To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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    10. Staying up to Speed

    Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

    To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

    To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

    11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

    “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

    To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

    To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

    12. Teamwork

    Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

    Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

    To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

    To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

    Final Thoughts

    Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

    More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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