7 Immutable Publishing Rules to Keep in Mind and then Crush!

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The short form is here. Twitter, Facebook status updates, TXT, mobile, shorter attention spans. All of these things contribute to the death of the long form, or POST. While I love Twitter and the other channels of the “statusphere” I think I sometimes do my best work up in the 500 WORD range. Your opinions may vary.

Here are a few rules of the trade that I find breakable and I often make efforts to subvert them actively.

  1. Make your posts short.
  2. Always put up your posts mid-morning to maximize exposure.
  3. Write about what you know.
  4. Never, ever go “negative.”
  5. Don’t do too much self-promotion of your blog.
  6. The blog is a dying publishing form.
  7. Always keep your goal in mind.

That said, please do keep the above rules in mind as you sally forth and blog your hearts out. And here are the short versions of my corollary ideas.

1. Short posts often lead nowhere. One or two paragraphs of summary information with a “What do you think?” at the end… Well, I consider that post spam. Or post-baiting. You can do it. But don’t be surprised if nobody forwards, tweets, or “best of” links you. Dig in. Be articulate and verbose. Know how to edit, yes, but don’t be afraid to WRITE.

2. Post’m when you finish’m. And then promote them a couple ways and a couple of times during the day. If you have some followers who are not in your time zone, they missed your tweet anyway. So tweet again. Sure you might lose some “followers” but that’s not always a bad thing. Be afraid to be invisible. Be terrified of being bland.

3. How do you know what you know if all you ever write about is what you think you know? Write about anything that makes you passionate. If you later come back to it and think, “What the heck was I talking about” unpublish it. Or better yet, UPDATE it with your own self-revealing comment. “I have no idea where I was going with this post.”

4. Nobody cross-promotes boring prose or posts. Don’t necessarily pick a fight, but when someone is trolling (being a virtual ass online) or speaking out in defense of something you find indefensible (Hummer love, for example) well pull out the guns and go for it. Don’t be an ass or troll yourself. Stick to the facts. Back up your conjectures. And if you are wrong, or change your mind, share that too. But to only write positive posts, would make for some pretty bland reading most of the time.

5. Promote yourself. If you’re really good maybe one other person will care about what you write. And remember that Europe and Asia are waking up as you are burning the midnight oil. You might as well tweet to them if you have’m. You can tell if it’s working by looking at the stats in the 1 – 2 minutes following a tweet promo.

6. Blogs are the free self-publishing of this century. And there are plenty of blogs that run their course in about 10 posts. But don’t give up when you run out of ideas. Good blogs, blogs with WRITERS and POETS are hard to find. But when you do, BOOM, you will understand why blogging exploded in the first place. (6.a Never pay for themes, never pay for hosting, use WordPress and FREE WordPress plugins.)

7. Go beyond the goal. Look further into the future. You might keep your goal in mind within a single post. But expand your goals always. By reaching or stretching beyond what you think you know, what you think you understand, you may find a new voice that you didn’t plan on.

Bonus rule: Forget everything I just wrote.

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
@jmacofearth & Facebook & LinkedIn & The Whole Parent

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Please check out some of my books on AMAZON.