Dorie Clark's Thoughts on Standing Out as a Blogger

How do you build a blog following? This is a question I get asked repeatedly by new bloggers or seasoned bloggers who reach out to me looking to increase their online visibility and expand their reach.

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Each of these individuals has an idea for their blog, but they are seeking a larger audience for their message. Building a blog following is a process that focuses on cultivating positive respectful relationships online and offline.  You have to actively put yourself out there and connect with people. For me, these connections empower me to “rise to my platform & shine” in all areas of my life. The process takes time.

Since my blog is about empowering busy high-achieving professionals to develop the courage to “rise to their platform & shine” and turn their ideas into reality, I had to invite others to share their journeys. After watching Dorie Clark’s TED Talk “Finding Your Breakthrough Idea,” I knew just the person to ask to help me answer: “How do you build a blog following?” I’m so grateful she said “Yes!” You’ll see why after watching her talk.

Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business ReviewTIME, Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum blog. Recognized as a “branding expert” by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, she is also the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), which has been translated into Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French, Polish, and Thai. Just last month, Dorie Clark released the book, Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It.

When I first reached out to Dorie to ask about her advice to new bloggers, she suggested I read one of her articles: “How to Get Started Blogging in Ten Minutes Per Day.” When I read the article, the following paragraph stood out:

“I blogged for years and wrote hundreds of articles before I began to receive a steady stream of corporate speaking invitations, for instance. Celebrated marketer Seth Godin agrees that it takes time to build a blog audience and for it to “pay off” in a traditional sense. “If you say, ‘I’m not going to do anything if it doesn’t pay off in four days,’ now I know why you’re not using a blog, and you’ve just told me a whole bunch about yourself, right?” he told me when I interviewed him for my new book Stand Out. “You told me you want to be picked, meaning having Oprah call or HBO call or someone call, and you want it to pay off right away or you’re not going to do it.” But taking the time to share yourself in a substantive fashion is an investment in your long-term reputation and professional success.”

Building a blog following is a process which requires commitment and a positive belief in yourself.  You continue to write because you believe your message matters, not because you need praise, validation, and acceptance from others.  That honesty comes across in your writing and people begin to trust you. The trust is what keeps people coming back and grows your loyal audience. People come to your site to connect with you. That is why I write on a weekly basis – not for me, but for my readers all over the world.  Seeing other bloggers who have the same passion for authentic blogging is refreshing. That is a stand-out blogger – one who writes for a cause, not only for applause!

(c) Dorie Clark
(c) Dorie Clark

Dorie is a stand-out blogger and leader. Her story has really impacted my life. What really stands out to me through reading her blog posts, listening to her TED talk, and our email exchanges is Dorie’s humility, perseverance, and passion for empowering others to become their personal best. Positive respectful relationships have really had an impact on her personal and professional development and are at the core of everything she does.  Listen to what Dorie has to say:

How important is mentorship in terms of success?

Mentorship is extremely important, because it keeps us from reinventing the wheel. You can move faster and learn more if you’re also learning from others’ past mistakes and successes. But too many of us spend years waiting for “the perfect mentor” to show up: someone just like us, but 15 years older and keenly interested in helping us succeed. Of course that’d be nice, but it doesn’t happen that often. Instead, in my free e-book Mentorship 2.0, I talk about the importance of cultivating a “mentor board of directors,” which can include people from all life stages – older colleagues, peers, and even junior colleagues – who each possess one or two skills you’d like to learn, rather than waiting for someone who is the exact match for what you want to be in life.

How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?

I’ve faced a number of setbacks, such as getting laid off from my first job as a newspaper reporter, and having three book proposals turned down before my first book, Reinventing You, was published. I persisted, in part, because of a principle that Jeffrey Pfeffer of the Stanford Graduate School of Business talks about in his book Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t. He says that if you’re talented and you’re not being properly appreciated in a given context (such as by your boss or at your job), sometimes you have to leave and put yourself into a new context, because statistically, you’re very likely to have your talents recognized – it’s an anomaly that they’re not being appreciated in the present circumstance. Now, the key part is believing you do have the talent and not letting others mess with your head. You have to be certain and committed, because the world is taking its cues from you.

How did you find your support group?

As with the ‘mentor board of directors,’ I have a variety of friends and colleagues whom I’ve developed over time who are great at being a sounding board for different areas of my life. I call some with romantic woes, and others with business issues (the latter is split up into friends who are knowledgeable about book marketing, professional speaking, consulting, etc.).

How valuable is humility in terms of success?

In my new book Stand Out, I talk about the research that my friend Anthony Tjan did on entrepreneurship. He and his colleagues found that 25% of successful entrepreneurs self-identified as ‘lucky’ – which isn’t an admission that they’re lazy or don’t deserve their success. Rather, Tjan found, it’s an attitude that mingles curiosity and humility, so you’re more open to people and experiences because you believe you can learn from them. That, over time, leads to a disproportionate share of opportunities – what outsiders call ‘luck.’ So humility, which fuels luck, is crucial to success.

Thanks, Dorie, for your insight in turning an idea into action and building a following around it! Cultivating positive respectful relationships with oneself and others has really helped you to rise to your platform & shine! You are an amazing leader who empowers us all to believe in ourselves and persevere.

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If you are looking to turn your idea into reality through creating a blog, follow Dorie’s lead by developing positive respectful relationships - online and offline. You may think you don’t know how to do that online – but it is very similar to doing it offline.  Believe you have the talent and go be seen!

Thank you for reading and for your presence at this beach retreat! You Rock!

When you rise to your platform & shine, you give others permission to do the same. We could all learn from hearing your stories and advice on starting and maintaining a blogging community. Add your thoughts in the Comments section below.

See you at the beach!