Every leader needs to be blogging in this social economy. And when you start doing a little research about how to start a blog, you’ll inevitably come across hundreds of blog posts, ebooks, and resources suggesting that the first three steps to starting a blog are…
- Get a domain name.
- Sign up for hosting.
- Install WordPress.
And then, of course, you dig into my blogging toolbox, learn the ropes, and get going with it.
There are two problems with this. First, while a self-hosted WordPress-powered blog with a great domain might be what I and most others consider the ideal way to start blogging, it isn’t the only way.
There is also Ghost. And Squarespace. And Weebly. And… and I hesitate to even put it out there… Blogger. And dozens of other platforms in addition to all of the social networks that might also make suitable places to post things.
And the bigger reason why those aren’t the best steps to take when starting a blog is because they skip right over the one, big, extremely important step of deciding why you want to start blogging to begin with.
As Simon Sinek explains in this excellent TED talk, great leaders inspire action by always starting with why.
And I’m not talking about the what. You probably know what you need to blog about. It could be leadership, sales, marketing, management, faith, family, coffee, or anything else you’re interested in.
What always follows why. Always. So why do you want to start a blog? Maybe it’s a hobby, or a side gig. But I’m guessing it’s more than that. Why else would you want to invest all the time and energy into it?
I’m guessing you want to blog for one, or both, of two reasons.
Leadership is influence, and influence is something we all have whether we realize it or not. Someone, somewhere, is watching you and learning something from you. It’s inevitable.
Blogging is, in today’s culture, one of the absolute best ways of growing your influence, but only if you’re willing to take the risk of putting yourself out there as an expert. Or at least as a person knowledgeable enough to be able to help others in your field.
I was in a conversation once with one of my mentors about the subject of influence and he made a pretty profound point with a three word question… To what end?
In other words, “Okay, you’ve got influence now… but to what end?”
Why, exactly, do you want to influence people?
I started a blog about men’s issues and challenging men to live boldly because I see so many men playing it safe in passivity. It was my way of challenging men to step out and take risks, especially on behalf of good causes. (I’ve since merged that blog into this site.)
And I’ve spent twelve years working on my pastoral blog because so many people are lost and discouraged. I’m thrilled when a leader is helped, a person follows Jesus, or because of something I’ve written.
Decide that you’ll blog for the sake of influence, and decide to what end you will ultimately steward that influence.
You may also be blogging for affluence. Or to put it another way, you’re hoping that your hard work at blogging will pay off with a pay off. You’re hoping to make money with it.
That’s okay. Don’t apologize for it. It’s a business, and there’s nothing wrong with building a business and doing it successfully, or even with making a significant amount of money at it, if…
- If you remember that money will never buy you peace.
- If you give back as generously as possible.
- If you’re using your means to add value to the lives of others.
Here’s a phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard before, but we all need a continual reminder of it…
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
Too many people make a lot of money and wind up miserable. Others just become miserable in the fleeting pursuit of money. And the last thing any of us needs is a comfortable life.
So, build wealth. But do it as a steward of resources that can impact the world in positive ways.
Here’s the point. Whatever you do – including blogging – do it with purpose because, without purpose, you’ll lose your passion. And the people who ultimately grow in both influence and affluence and who wind up changing the world are those who live life driven by purpose.