I had a question that has been on my mind lately…
After reading The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, I started digging deep about blogging in regards to this book.
How does a NEW blogger KNOW what to focus on to find success in growth hacking their blog?
Well, I finished reading the ONE Thing recently and it inspired me to find growth hacking techniques from the top dogs that new bloggers can use to their advantage.
Experts in the blogging industry would LOVE for every rookie blogger to instill these growth tips in their work from day one and that’s why I decided to compile these top tips in one resource.
Looking for tips from a particular expert? Click below to jump right to them.
The concept behind the ONE thing is about taking your every day to do list and filtering it with a higher perspective – a 20,000 foot view if you will, but tackling them in a particular order – an order that paints a clear path to extraordinary results.
Gary insists that to achieve those results, you need to understand that they are explicitly determined by “how narrow you can make your focus”
In blogging and in life as a whole, you need to find what that ONE thing is that you need to work on diligently to achieve the most progress toward your goals.
How to Find Your ONE Thing
“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
Now, this isn’t about dropping everything that’s important in your life. It’s more about finding that ONE Thing in each area of your business and your life that matters most in that category and focusing on that before ANYTHING else.
It’s trimming the fat out of your life and getting down to the meat of the issue.
“Where I’d had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to one thing, and where my success varied, my focus has too.” [click to tweet]
The ONE Thing is about finding success by focusing on what matters most in each area of your business. Blogging has a lot of areas, and while you’ll need to narrow them down, success comes from finding the ONE Thing that’s going to yield success for your blog.
Growth hacking marketing is a real thing and by instilling these strategic techniques from the get go, they will set you up for success quicker than most.
In order to get the most thorough answer to this question, I asked a few of the top dogs in the industry to hear their thoughts on the matter.
1) Kristi Hines – Freelance writer at KristiHines.com
“Relationship building is key for new bloggers.
Everything you want for to happen with your content – social shares, links, comments, etc. – depends on having a network of people who are interested in what you write.”
2) Neil Patel – NeilPatel.com
“They have to blog high quality content consistently.
Most bloggers aren’t doing both or even either. Without producing high quality content on a consistent basis you won’t see growth.
Because blogging is competitive and a lot of people can write an amazing post. But very few people can do that consistently.”
3) Ana Hoffman – TrafficGenerationCafe.com
“I’d say the ONE most important thing a new blogger needs to remember is that no one wants to hear what you have to say.
Your readers want to hear what you have to say about them.
Focus on them.
Solve their problems.
Drop the ‘I’s and use the ‘you’s. Don’t tell them your story; tell them their story.
Then you’ll be half way to your success.”
4) Yaro Starak – Entrepreneurs-Journey.com
“If we are talking about a truly NEW blogger, then by far the best one thing to focus on is what I call gaining “True Empathy” – the need to truly understand where your audience are coming from in terms of emotional drivers.
Most bloggers don’t know enough about what drives their audience and new bloggers know the least.
As such, the one thing to focus on are activities that lead to gaining real insight – and the ability to empathize – with your audience.
Everything else required for success first comes from having clarity about this issue.”
5) Rand Fishkin – Moz.com/Rand
“I think new bloggers need to have a solid understanding of their field and their audience, and be deeply empathetic.
Your goal is to create the content your audience wants, share it in the ways that best resonates with them, and engage in such a way that creates a true, meaningful connection.
None of those things are easy, but they are all powerful builders of a great blog.”
6) Bill Slawski – SEOByTheSea.com
“Understand who the audience is for your blog, and how you can help them.
What kind of questions or problems might they have, and how can you help solve those, or direct them to others who can help?
Do you have access to information that they might need, or the ability to present it in such a
way that makes it easier for them to understand, and to use?
After everything, your ability to be helpful to others is what they will remember
about you, and is a good reason for them to return.”
7) Eric Siu – SingleGrain.com
Content promotion is something people STILL can’t get right today and should be done internally.
There’s A LOT of time and preparation that goes into it.”
8) Sujan Patel – WhenIWork.com
“The most important thing a new blogger can do is to get involved in their community.
If you’re a marketer, start reading, commenting and posting good content on inbound.org or growthhackers.com. If you’re a product/startup person, hacker news or Product Hunt is where you should be.
A good example of this is, I recently launched an ebook 100daysofgrowth.com (made for startups) which had 500 pre-sales just by joining a few Slack chatrooms such as hashtag startups where startup founders recently started hanging out.”
9) Alexis Grant – AlexisGrant.com
“Building an email list!
That’s the best thing you can do to invest in yourself and to set up your blog to do well in the future.
Email lets you communicate directly with your readers and foster a more intimate relationship than social media or even your blog.”
10) Adam Connell – BloggingWizard.com
“There are so many tactics that are important, but there’s one thing you need to make it all work… a well thought-out plan.
The way you put your plan together matters, you need to understand your ultimate goal and you need to break it down into smaller and more manageable steps.
You also need to ensure that you understand which tactics can help you reach your goal and prioritize them in order of their effectiveness.
The key is optimizing your blog in a way that allows your high priority tactics to be effective without lower priority tactics stunting their effectiveness.
For example, building an email list is one of the most effective ways to grow a blog, but there are other tactics that you may feel like wanting to focus on which could hinder the growth of your email list.
I used to put all sorts of social media widgets all over my blog in the hope of growing my following but it was a waste of time.
Social media is for getting traffic to your blog, not the other way around.
In the end most people who checked out my social profiles didn’t convert into followers, then organic reach dropped through the floor on Facebook so it was a challenge to reach anyone that was a follower.
With my email list I can reach between 30-40% of my followers – far more than I could with Twitter or Facebook.
That’s not to say that building a social following is a waste, it’s not, I just focused on other ways to build a following.
The bottom line is this – your plan has to be geared to ensure everything you do pushes the needle in the right direction, and that’s all that matters right?!”
11) Larry Kim – WordStream.com
“The one thing is always having a strong promotional hook for your content.
If you don’t know ahead of time who will enthusiastically promote your story and why, don’t bother writing it.”
12) Jess Ostroff – DontPanicMgmt.com
“Bloggers need to focus on the quality of their writing and the tone of their unique voice. It’s not enough to throw a bunch of thoughts onto a blog and see what sticks.
Spending the time to craft well-thought out perspectives and opinions that are backed by experience and/or research is key.
Then, hone in on your specific voice – the style and tone that makes you you.
Speak your blog posts out loud if you need to – this will help you capture your natural tone.
There’s a reason that storytelling wins. It’s because people don’t want to just read information on a page.
They want to read interesting information on a page.
They want to be taken on a journey, an experience. And just because everyone has the opportunity to blog, doesn’t mean everyone should, so don’t forget to consider whether blogging is the appropriate medium for you – especially if you’re not a strong writer. (Maybe consider video or podcasting instead.”
13) John Paul Aguiar – JohnPaulAguiar.com
“Honestly, there isn’t ONE thing they can focus on to be successful.
Running a successful blog today takes so many things. You need to be focused on all of them, all the time.
But if I was forced to say ONE thing, I would have to say, focus on your content, focus on writing the best content you can in your own personal style.
One of the best ways to stand out as a new blogger is writing quality unique content delivered in a new way.”
14) Anita Campbell – Founder & CEO of Small Business Trends
“The one thing about being successful in blogging is … writing informative content, without writing sales pitches.
No one wants to read sales pitches. They either want to be entertained or, in the business context, they want help solving a problem.
Provide relevant and informative content about the kinds of topics your target audience would find valuable.
Example: if your company offers business plan consulting, then write about different types of business plans, the components of a business plan, the kind of information they will need to gather before they start on their plan, how frequently to update their plan, and so on. And don’t pressure the reader to buy from you.
If you’ve done your job with the content, they will naturally want to hear more from you. And when it comes time to make a buying decision, they are more likely to think positively about you and what you have to offer.
The content will “sell” you, provided you don’t try to sell too hard.”
15) Ileane Smith – Founder of Basic Blog Tips
“There is one thing that I think a new blogger should spend most of their time doing and that is making relevant and helpful comments on other blog posts in their niche.
There’s many reasons blog commenting is so important for a new blogger.
For one thing, this is how you build connections with other bloggers, it’s how you start to establish relationships with your peers and mentors. It’s also going to help develop better writing skills and learn how to “talk the talk”.
Let me explain what I mean by that — every niche has their own language or should I say lingo — and the only way new bloggers can begin to integrate that lingo into their own vocabulary is by conversing with other bloggers who are already in the know.
You’ll also gain a ton of information from all the posts that you’ll read because you can’t leave an intelligent comment without actually reading the articles you’re going to be commenting on.
That’s my advice and that’s how I got started back in 2009.”
16) Moosa Hemani – SETalks.com
“If you ask me blogging is more about passion so if you need to be a successful blogger the foremost important thing you need is passion for writing and sharing your voice with the world.
But, if you blog for other motives say to get Adsense revenue, leads or shares you will notice a great deal of decline on the quality of content which ideally should not be compromised.
But, on the technical end here is one thing that any blogger (regardless of any industry) should consider as important on the road to success is the USP.
There are possibly dozens of other bloggers already doing a great job in your industry and readers are already happy with that.
If you will come up with yet another blog and content that offers the same thing you might not see traction.
The formula of success when it comes to blogging is to share your own unique perspective about a topic and stand on it regardless of how many people favor or oppose you.
Once you will have a unique voice or perspective, people will start following you and once you have the traffic and a readership that actually care about you and your voice, you can do so much with that.”
17) Devesh Sharma – WPKube.com
“Produce epic content – Focus on producing epic content, I am not talking about General 1000 word posts, I am talking about in-depth content like what you see on Viperchill.com & SmartPassiveIncome.com!
Both blogs are exceptional in producing in-depth content that generates hundreds of shares and comments. Do this for 6 months and I promise you will see some outstanding results.
I did this with one post, and it ended up generating 1000+ social shares and links from sites like SEJ and Adpushup.”
18) Glen Long – BoostBlogTraffic.com
“The mistake I see a lot of new bloggers making is spending a lot of time writing content for their blogs before they even have an audience.
It doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody’s reading it.
New bloggers should focus on building their audience. Don’t spend much time writing content for your own blog until you have attracted 500 – 1,000 email subscribers. Use guest blogging to build your list.
Write guest posts for popular sites that attract the types of people you’re trying to reach and use a simple landing page to capture their email addresses.
Offer a simple freebie to improve conversions.”
19) Lisa Irby – 2CreateAWebsite.com
“Before you even launch your site, spend time zeroing in on gaps and holes that exist in a niche.
By the time you launch, you should know exactly WHO you are going to help, HOW you’re going to help them and WHAT types of products they would buy.
Many people launch sites today without much awareness of their competition and it becomes an uphill, never-ending journey into the land of redundancy and unoriginal content.
But when you know exactly who your core audience is and what your competition is NOT doing, you can keep your content laser-focused and enjoy the best conversions.”
20) Vincent Ng – MCNGMarketing.com
“The one thing to succeed in this day and age to be able to achieve blogging success is to ensure that you write content that helps solves your readers’ problems.
Sometimes these problems may be small, other times they may be large, but if you genuinely can help them out, then it will help your blog grow.
When I write about Pinterest, I remind myself who I’m writing for, and why they would be interested in reading what I have to write.
My job isn’t to write about Pinterest, my job is to help marketers, bloggers and small business owners grow their business.
If you truly want to know how to make a blog successful, I highly recommend reading Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes.”
21) Aaron Lee – PostPlanner.com
“One tip new bloggers must focus to achieve blogging success from day one is, simply be themselves.
The mistake new bloggers make is they to follow their idols too much.
Some even try to write like their idols. When they do that, they are taking away the spark that that they have in them. The writing becomes dull.
I learned that I didn’t need to be professional or even use big words. All I had to do was simply be myself. When that happened, I enjoyed blogging more.
That was how I continue write for over 4 years. That was how I stood out. Remember, be you and you’ll be the best you that you can be. Don’t be the best copycat.”
22) Christian Karasiewicz – ChristianKOnline.com
“For bloggers to achieve results, they need to focus on the quality and not the quantity of of the content that they produce.
There isn’t enough time to write about every blog post idea you come up with.
Pick an area to focus on and write a quality piece. These are typically longer pieces of content, but go more in-depth on the topic. If you’re not sure if you are headed in the right direction, ask your audience.”
23) Chris Garret – ChrisG.com
“If I had to choose one thing and only one thing to focus on it would be showing up with your unique value.
Demonstrating (with evidence) how you can help your prospects achieve their goal, outcome or solution that is most important to them.
The reason I think that is the priority is without it nobody will care because they will not understand why they should listen to you versus all the other choices they have in an increasingly noisy environment.”
24) Ted Rubin – TedRubin.com
“Syndicate, syndicate, syndicate… share your content via all social channels always including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, which also makes it easy for others to share.
And don’t be afraid to do it more than once periodically sharing old posts via your social channels, especially those that were well received.
Also let others freely repost your content with a link back to the original post… and make sure the images you use are pinnable for Pinterest and share them via Instagram with a link to the post.
Welcome to the ‘Age of Influence,’ where ANYONE can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference.”
25) Ian Cleary – RazorSocial.com
“What’s the ONE Thing a New Blogger Must Focus on to Achieve Blogging Success in this day and age?
Think of a good reason to write about influential people in their niche on their blog. For example, do interviews or group posts.
When you share content about key influencers they are likely to share out that content to their audience and this exposes you to a lot more people.
When you interview them they get a chance to get to know you and you build a relationship with them.
You want to build relationships and you want your content exposed to a relevant audience and this works for both of these!”
26) Ashley Faulkes – MadLemmings.com
“There are so many things you could be doing when you first start out blogging. Social media, blogging so many times a week, setting up an email list.
But there is only one thing that has really moved the needle for me since I started out as a babe in the woods blogging. Networking.
The online world is much like the offline world, where the old saying: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, rings truer than ever.
Ever wonder how people get guest posting opportunities you can’t get?
Or how they get mentioned on social media by the big guns and you don’t?
Sure, sometimes hard work or luck can play a role, but I have seen my network (aka friends) play a bigger role than you can imagine. So what does this mean for you, in terms of practical tips you can use now:
- start networking with others in your niche
- comment on their blog posts
- share their stuff
- interact with them on social media
- when you know them better, maybe even on email
And eventually you will grow far faster than you could on your own!”
27) Martin Shervington – PlusYourBusiness.com
“Every blogger should be considering this question: What do I want to be know an authority in?
An authority is evidenced now by one simple criteria – does Google Search say you are an authority?
If you are top 5 for your chosen niche, then you are an authority. Start with this in mind and every blog you create will align to this end.
Keep blogging, keep going deeper and displaying your knowledge of that niche.”
28) Wade Harman – WadeHarman.com
“The ONE thing I think a new blogger needs to focus on early in their career is the relationship process.
That in itself opens up a brand new set of “things” and steps that must be conquered as well, but when a new blogger can engage and congregate with the people in their target market it’s priceless.
Building a relationship with your blog readers is the most important thing that anyone can be doing for their blog.
It takes time and patience to understand which people are there to give AND take and which people are there only to take.
You will find a various mixture while you are getting your new blog settled, but if you will create a goal to make at least 3 new connections per week you’re on the right track.
Notice I said “connections” and not relationships. The relationship comes later. Much later. After you have cultivated trust and committed yourself to helping and being a servant to these people.
This is why so many bloggers fall by the wayside because they don’t have a community of supporters built around them.
The beauty of it is, anyone can do it. Anyone can build a great relationship over time.
Show people that you’re ready to take the next step in your blogging career by showing them the real you. Not the you that you think people want to see.
That won’t work. It has to be all you or none of you. That’s the way it works.
Craft some time to build those relationships with perfect strangers in your niche. You will soon find out that you have more in common with them than you thought.
My ONE thing is relationships.”
29) Sue Anne Dunlevie – SuccessfulBlogging.com
“I believe your focus, as a beginning blogger, should be getting traffic to your site. And the best way to do that is to leverage guest posting.
When you are new, you need more “eyeballs” on your site. Bringing those eyeballs from other, more popular, sites is the best way to drive targeted traffic.
You get a backlink, you make a relationship with the blog owner and you get your ideal customer reading your website – a trifecta of winning!”
30) Matthew Barby – MatthewBarby.com
“Data. Data is everything to a blogger so you need to spend as much time as possible in working on building your list of subscribers.
When it comes to building a loyal group of followers to your content, email is a critical channel.
Not only that, but it’s one of the top converting channels for monetization.”
You know when you dissect an amazing book, but you’d love to hear what like-minded individuals took from it? Well I can’t thank the experts enough for sharing their valuable perspective on this matter.
Here’s My Take on Growth for your Blog
Gary Keller also refers to something called “The Domino Effect” which essentially means taking your long-term goal and lining up all the things that stand between you and it. Once you’ve lined up those things, you knock them over like dominoes.
It’s such a simple concept, but putting it all in perspective and making it happen is a far more difficult task.
“Find the lead domino, and whack away until it falls”
Finding your ONE Thing starts with the 80/20 principle, also known as Pareto’s Principle. It states that “the minority of our effort leads to the majority of our results.”
While most numbers won’t fall into 80/20 I think we can all see how this relates to blogging. Before we draw those lines though, let’s dig a little deeper into this concept.
“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” [click to tweet]
Some of the examples used by the book include concepts like the following:
- 20% of your customers account for 80% of your profits
- 20% of habits result in 80% of your success
- 20% of your investment accounts for 80% of your return
Again, not an exact math, but the concept rings true. When you outline the small pieces of the whole, then narrow those down to one, you have your answer to the question.
Once you’ve established your ONE Thing, you need to give it total attention.
[Tweet “”Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority””]
We like to think of ourselves as multi-taskers, but what’s really happening when we do two things at once, is that our focus is divided between them, and neither receives the attention it deserves.
In reality, multitasking is one of the biggest lies you’ve heard countless times in your life.
How Does All This Apply to Blogging?
I know I may sound like a motivational speaker thus far here, but I truly believe in the power that this concept imparts on us as bloggers.
[Tweet “”The ONE thing shows up time and time again in lives of the successful because it’s a fundamental truth””]
If you stop and think about all the various things you do on a daily basis to keep your blog successful and updated, it’s probably a lot of things. Trust me, I would know.
What if you could simplify your life?
What if you could cut out the extra tasks that don’t need that everyday attention and instead focus on the minorities that are contributing to your majority?
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?
It’s not, and that’s why I decided to approach other experts in the Blogging industry and ask them what they think is the ONE Thing a new bloggers must focus on to achieve blogging success in this day and age?
[Tweet “”No one succeeds alone. No one””]
Gary Keller said in his interview with Forbes Magazine that finding your ONE Thing is about “Asking yourself what’s the one thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else is easier or unnecessary?”
“Equality in things on your list, is a lie”
He said that your ONE Thing is the thing you need to do now to take that next step.
It pushes you to take the next step forward and knock over that next domino.
Blogging is about finding your ONE Thing and pursuing it towards success.
When you’ve accomplished it, you move on to the next step and you find that next ONE Thing to pursue.
Remember, your success is an ongoing journey that is defined by a series of single steps.
We’re all here to help each other, especially those who are taking their first steps into the wide world of blogging.
Confidence is yours to find, but once you find that courage to take the first step, come back here to this page to find the best advice the internet has to offer for new bloggers.
Matt Banner’s ONE Thing for New Bloggers
I guess this is the part where I give you my ONE Thing for new bloggers out there.
The ONE Thing new bloggers need for success is a fiery passion for what they do.
Genuine passion elicits all the needed ammunition you need to conquer what it takes to grow a successful blog.
When you place your hands on the keyboard and you write a post about your topic or niche, you should feel chills run down your spine.
Your fingers should move so fast that your mind has a hard time keeping up with them (this happens to me almost daily).
Chose something that makes you get up in the morning.
Choose something that you love about the world and blog about that.
Find that ONE Thing that makes you happy and pour your heart out to bring it to others – That’s the secret ingredient to success in my book. That’s growth hacking techniques at it’s finest.
As always, I want to hear from you as well.
Tell me what you took away from this article, which ONE Thing you liked the best, and what the ONE Thing is in your life that can bring you the success you want and deserve in the world of blogging.
Thanks as always for reading and feel free to reach out to me by emailing Matt (at) On Blast Blog (dot) com if you need any advice.
“The majority of what you want will come from the minority of what you do”
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