Killer Freshman Advice part 2: How to stop meddling and master your three reasons for blogging

by Craig McBreen · 43 comments · Beginning blogger series


You ARE passionate about blogging, right?

You have enough energy built up to launch yourself into the stratosphere and you’re more than ready to make your online presence known right about now.

Am I right?

You might be blogging already, but you’re a bit muddled about your reasons for being here. You could be thinking …

1. How in the world will I help people?

2. What exactly is my purpose online?

3. What makes me so special?

Well, that’s what you should be thinking.

If you plan to go from blossoming to booming, I certainly think you need to provide value, figure out exactly WHY you’re blogging, and show us the incomparable you.

What do you know about blogging, Rook?
You talkin’ to me? Okay, I know, I’m a digital baby, but I also have over 20 years of experience in branding, marketing and design, which counts for something, right?

So before we jump into this let me just say, I’m only six, um, almost seven months into blogging. I am NOT an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know a thing or two about creating a nice, tight cohesive package, from start to finish. Did that sound dirty?

You want your online presence to be spiffy, purposeful and off the hook, no?

So …
1. What are you bringing to the table? (Value)
2. Why are you here? (Purpose)
3. What makes you You? (Uniqueness)

Yo, I’m talkin’ to you.

1. Value: Bring it.
Again, just to be 100% clear, I am no zen-master of blogging, but I do think you need to help people in some way or you’ll simply be spinning your wheels for all of blogging eternity. Unless of course you’re doing this for shits and giggles. If so, enjoy the ride and stop reading.

I’m just a regular guy who has been an introvert and disengaged for most of my life. I finally changed and want to help you get over your fears, embrace uncertainty and discomfort, and in the process become happier and more creative. To break free from constraints and do things you only dreamed about doing.

I want to show my excitement with blogging and help other’s embrace this fantastic and truly liberating domain.

I’ll also write about social media, creativity and marketing, to help small business people, fellow bloggers and individuals not only break out of routine, but be more creative. Motivation infused with some old school marketing and branding advice.

So, how can YOU help?

2. Purpose: That little flame that lights a fire under your ass.
Again, this wet behind the ears, 40-something, blogging tenderfoot says you need a purpose. Did I mention that wheel spinning thing?

Srinivas Rao and David Crandall were kind enough to offer me a bit of advice here. With their help and a bit of illustrative inspiration from Ameena Falchetto I basically decided to “ditch the niche” and “focus on the flavor.”

Did you say Flava?

Yeah Boy! And this helped me laser in on my intention.

Said flavor consists of a group of core topics I will be writing and speaking about:

The Big Three (Boo-yaa!)
– Personal growth and breaking out.
– The power of creativity.
– Social media as a platform of change.

Here’s the boring part:
I will utilize my years of experience in branding and marketing, because that’s what I know and if you get me started I won’t stop talking about it. K?

– I will also highlight other bloggers and out-of-sight people.
– Explain why late bloomers are so awesome.
– And drop in a few tidbits about creating and managing a side hustle.

What is YOUR purpose?

3. Uniqueness: Your Killer Swag.

Did I say I’m NOT an authority? Not even close.

So, if you’re reading this, Mr. Brogan, you have nothing to worry about. I’m the anti-guru, see.

But this rook is a proponent of embracing social media as a Platform for Change. And real change happens when you show us the real you.

So, what makes you special?

Let’s start. First, practice a little acceptance.
Look in the mirror. There you are. Let out the authentic you online. Stuart would be proud.

But please don’t force it. Be yourself and do what feels right.

Those funky, little traits that you see as imperfections are exactly what makes you interesting to others.

The ability to sneeze and fart at the same time does not qualify. Sorry!

Are you a wee bit odd? Well, bravo. Weird is in, so learn to be comfortable in your own skin and just hit it.

Quiet as a mouse? Well, the blogosphere is bang-on for quiet types, because when you are collaborating online, you have a chance to experience privacy AND participation.

Fanatical, overenthusiastic and opinionated? Oh boy, Start typing and see where it takes you.

A wee snide? Well, a little snark will add some much-needed spice to blogtopia.

In a nutshell: Just be yourself, put in the work and see what happens.

Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with shits and giggles.

I’m a former angst-ridden, introverted, reclusive fat boy and I won’t shut up about it. I’m still more introspective than outgoing, but I’m not detached like I was.

I’m over 45. That’s okay. Man, talk about Late Bloomer!

So, this former, antisocial, anxiety ridden, fat kid is the perfect soul to guide you on a journey. I want to help you. I’m putting my creativity into words that will hopefully make my site somewhat interesting and hopefully, fun. I’ll even try a little self-deprecating humor along the way.

What makes YOU unique?

So, you can take my Freshman advice with a grain of salt, or maybe just give it a go.

This is number two in the series. Number one is all about organization. Get to it!

1. How can you help? Or, what do you offer right now?

2. What’s your purpose in this online village?

3. What’s your killer swag?

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Dorman March 12, 2012 at 1:28 am

So this was number two, huh? I don’t think it smelled too bad…….

I like what you have to say and have some thoughts but will have to get back to you; you sound so organized……..:)
Bill Dorman recently posted..Oh happy days are here againMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 12, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Hi Bill,

Yessir. Looking forward to your thoughts. ;)

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Jens P. Berget March 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

Hey Craig,

I wish I had this list when I started blogging. I just started without any of the three. I just wrote about what anything related to marketing, and it was mostly my thoughts, and not really any help for anyone. At least, that’s what it felt like at the time.

Now, what I want to add, but that’s become a cliche, but I’ll add it anyway, and that’s passion and persistence. I’ve seen many bloggers who’ve done everything right according to my knowledge, but they didn’t see results fast enough. They stopped, because they didn’t do it for the right reason, and because they didn’t get enough comments, or earn enough money or whatever…
Jens P. Berget recently posted..Work Where You BelongMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Hi Jens,

I was lucky enough to find some great people to follow early on, so I could watch and learn.

I agree with you on passion and persistence. You certainly have to enjoy this or you’ll flame out pretty quickly, I think. And persistence: I’d say you could teach people a thing or two about a good work ethic, Jens!

And yes, onward we must march. Putting in the work day after day isn’t so romantic, but there are no overnight successes in this realm. Even those “internet famous” bloggers put in their time.

I’ve always heard if you make it past six months you just might be okay … Now about those results you mentioned … ;)

Thanks for coming by, Jens.

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Hajra March 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

Like Dorman, I’m just here to have fun! ;)

Yes, really, no purpose. I started when I was unemployed. Then it just caught on. And despite a job; blogging stayed on till now. And yes, it got me two writing jobs. So, I don’t know about helping others. It helped me to quite an extent! :)

What do I have to offer; just a lot of kvetch and work on my writing. That is all! :)
Hajra recently posted..Will they call you over for a Bloggers Party?My Profile

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Craig McBreen March 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Hi Hajra,

Well I must say you light up the room when you show up. Dorman just gets carried away and we need to cut him off after a while.

Even though you say you started with no purpose, look what happened? You certainly display your uniqueness online with your clever writing, and even if it involved cutting off a hand or two, it brought you some well-deserved recognition. I’d say that sense of humor is working. :)

So working on your writing and kvetching works for you. I’m just hoping I help one or two folks who are a bit muddled about their reasons for being here. We shall see.

Thanks for coming by and let me know how TM goes!

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Hajra March 13, 2012 at 7:15 am

It is tonight! :) I will definitely get back! :)
Hajra recently posted..Will they call you over for a Bloggers Party?My Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Cool!

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Deeone Higgs March 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Hi Craig,

I’m here to show people like me, who might’ve been told all their lives what wasn’t possible for them, that it is very POSSIBLE. I write about my personal life experiences, and share it ALL for all to see. I also love to inspire, motivate, and empower others into action.

I can’t say that I had all those questions you provided answered when I started my blogging journey. I actually started blogging to cope with the lost of my mother; it has grown into what it is today.

I continue to grow, and want to share with others what it took for me to change my perception of the world, and of myself. I think that there are a lot of people out there that need the voices in their head silenced; just like I did. And I’m here in the online village to share my solutions with them. :)

So I offer the online world, ME… that’s all I have at the moment, but I believe it’s more than enough for them that have received my offerings in the spirit in which I give them. :)
Deeone Higgs recently posted..The 3 Steps of Intuition’s ConfirmationsMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 12:11 am

Hey Deeone,

Love your Purpose and your enthusiasm is infectious. Like your tagline says, “a heavy dose of inspiration, laced with encouraging life lessons,” well, there is plenty of that on your site. If you could bottle that and give it away that would be even better.

I think just the fact that you are so honest online is helpful. There are people out there who can relate and they see how hard you’ve worked to change and now work for change in others. Great to see.

And isn’t it amazing how we transition once we find our voice? It is something how you started and how the entire blog process has been such a journey for you. Sharing that is a big deal and yes, I would agree that there are plenty of people out there who need to learn how to stop that chatter.

I’d say just keep doing what you’ve been doing. We all need inspiration and you, Sir are a motivator.

Thanks again!

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Jack@TheJackB March 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm

What is my killer swag? Well you have to join the fan club and learn the secret handshake before I can answer that one for you.
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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 12:16 am

Hey Jack,

I’d love to join the fan club, if I could only get by the line of JackB groupies waiting at the door.

I’d say you have killer swag and some major street cred, and then you have another fan base you could build from your Dear Abbey fame.

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Alicia Jay March 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Hey Craig!

When I first started blogging I was much like Jens. I just kind of talked about stuff related to my topic but I can’t say that it was great, epic info that really helped anyone. I’ve had my online business for over a year now and more recently have taken a decidedly new path with my blogging. I want to help other women like me who decided to start their own online service-based business and are doing so without help. Most of the help we need to get started out there isn’t free so I’m trying to give as much free, quality info about getting started as I can. I know there are other women who are doing this online thing just like me and I want to be there for them. Now, if I could just be more consistent with my blogging…
Alicia Jay recently posted..5 Ways That Dropbox Makes Your Life EasierMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 12:24 am

Hi Alicia,

One of the reasons I held off was because I saw so many great examples and honestly wanted to be like each and every one, but obviously couldn’t do that. So, it was back to searching and learning.

It’s great that you’ve found your purpose and can offer help based on real experience. As far as consistency with blogging, I’ve found that forcing yourself to write (not post) everyday is a huge help. Sometimes it’s a giant struggle, but more often than not the words do flow. Sure a ton ends up in the can, but it has become much easier over the past few months.

I really appreciate you dropping by and good luck with your new direction!

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Jason Fonceca March 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Craig, dude, you ooze personality and high-value remarks. Thanks for being you :)

Srini’s brilliant, and I’m glad you’re connected with him, and I’m glad you wear the late-bloomer label as a badge of honor :) It is :D

And speaking of being you — get psyched for Ryze’s How To ‘Be Real’ Blueprint!
Jason Fonceca recently posted..19 Examples Of Celebrities Who Think SuccessMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 2:05 am

Hi Jason,

Flattery will get you everywhere ;) Seriously, I’m just an average guy working to find my voice in the wilderness here, but thanks, man! Appreciate the kind words.

Srini is great and has been a huge help in many ways, so yes, I’m very glad to know him.

I’m finding plenty of late bloomers out there, so I’m in good company.

Exciting things happening over at your place! Keep us up-to-date.

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Ralph Dopping March 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Hey Jason, how do you know Craig oozes? TMI? I thought it was clear to everyone that toom much information was NOT good.

Craig, for a guy that’s been blogging for less than a year you have progressed pretty far. I applaud that, whole heartedly and I am quickly learning – from you! Thanks for that. For me, the niche is where I really want to be. The reason is exactly what you said above; I have over 20+ years experience (in Architecture + Design pour moi – a little francios from CDN) and I really have an interest in helping people in my field in a fun and interesting way.

So, I would say fun, humorous and enlightening writing is always the best medicine just as Readers Digest used to say Laughter is the Best Medicine. Keep up the humour in your delivery. It works and can make any dry subject (like list building) so much more engaging……really?

I hope my gravatar works now. Damn green sickly guy is getting annoying……..
Ralph Dopping recently posted..How Entrances relate to the Leadership structure of a TeamMy Profile

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Jason Fonceca March 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Hi Ralph, I know because I’m the doctor who stitched him up! :P

P.S. Are you Canadian too, and do you speak français?
Jason Fonceca recently posted..19 Examples Of Celebrities Who Think SuccessMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Hey Jason,

But now I have a giant scab I keep picking at ;) Sorry for the visual.

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Jason Fonceca March 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

No squeamishness here chief, I’m a success-surgeon!
Jason Fonceca recently posted..19 Examples Of Celebrities Who Think SuccessMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

“Success-surgeon!” from you and Techno-peasant” from Ralph ;)

I’m writing these down.

Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hi Ralph,

Ha ha, yes TMI! “Oozes” made me think of scab-picking ;)

Well, thanks, and glad someone is learning from the kind-of-novice here ;) It’s not bad that you dropped a little Francios in either, as the joint needs a little classing-up.

Based on your writing, you will easily be helping people in a fun and interesting way. Keep on bringin’ it. :)

I’ll try and keep up the humour and maybe even leave the “u” in for my amusement. We all know list building equals fun and engaging.

Sickly green guy is still there, but thanks so much for your great comments. Always appreciate you coming by!

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Al Smith March 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Another great post Craig. Just be true to yourself. Value, Purpose and Uniqueness. Wow. You put it in the nutshell, my friend. “Just be yourself, put in the work and see what happens” Love it. Hope to talk soon. Keep on bringin it.

Al
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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Hi Al,

Thank you and glad you liked the message. I’ll keep bringin’ it and look forward to talking to you soon.

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Bill Dorman March 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I struggled early because I saw people who were very focused on their mission and purpose and felt like maybe I’m being left behind and not progressing like others thought I would. But I just could not get my arms around getting into a niche, like my business, and keeping it entertaining and interesting and not always be ‘teaching’.

I feel much more comfortable coming at it from the every man’s non-tech perspective and sharing the WTF’s that not only I experience but I’m sure other’s do as well. This is where I feel I bring value so people don’t think they are out there on this social island all by themselves.

It is sustainable? Hopefully so; will it make me a lot of money? Doubtful, but it will allow me to wear the Burger King social crown as long as I want to.

My day job is as busy and profitable as I want to make it; I love what I do, especially the relationships that truly value what you bring to the table.

I’m still ‘learning’ social because I want to be relevant and I find it fun. I’m ok with having fun as a motivator right now.

Social has given me confidence through the blog and actually letting it all hang out. If nothing else, the confidence has carried over to real life as well. I don’t see a downside to that at all.

Finally, I have been able to meet some really great people; including you, you fuzzy headed, pasty chubby kid from B’more. That’s priceless to me; I feel my time has been well spent, money in the bank.

That’s my story sir and I’m sticking with it.
Bill Dorman recently posted..Life through the tint of blogger gogglesMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Hey Bill,

However you put it, I think you have found a formula that works for you. My advice was for people just starting or thinking about it who are really struggling … like I was ;)

Nothing wrong with some good “every man” entertainment and you certainly provide that. It’s obvious from your comments that your posts resonate with many.

About sustainability: If anyone can do it, you can. Maybe you can wear the Burger King social crown and start earning some cash when you have throngs of fans lining up. We shall see.

If you’re not having fun, this could be a very bad place to be, as it is so consuming, but like you, I’m still lovin’ it.

I completely agree with the benefits of social media in the offline world. I believe it does make you more confident and helps in many ways beyond the blogosphere.

Very glad I know you too, Sir! Even if you call me funny names and have weatherman hair.

Talk to you soon.

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Bill Dorman March 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

So, what are you saying; I was so intent on making this about me I missed your whole message that this was for beginners? Wow, I never thought you’d call me out like that, you have always been one of the gentile ones………….:).

Ok, now that I’ve actually read the damn thing I guess it makes sense.

The biggest challenge for me (yes, back to me) was the commitment; even at once a week it rolls around pretty quickly. Therefore, you better have at least some purpose and direction or I can assure you it will be like the NFL….not for long………

How’s that? It was only half about me this time……..
Bill Dorman recently posted..Life through the tint of blogger gogglesMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Well ……

Glad you read it all ;) Wait a minute, don’t you post twice a week now? Just tryin’ to keep up with The Dormans.

If you truly are spinning your wheels, yes it will be NFL.

Anyway, that was perfect.

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Ralph March 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hey Jason, I am still too much of a techno-peasant. Can’t seem to figure out how to respond in line from my not-so-smartphone. Groan. Hopefully you get this. YES. Canadian. Nice to meetchoo. Now there’s two others (you and Kaarina). Sorry to mislead on the french tho – only a petit peu – and not well at that.
Ralph recently posted..How Entrances relate to the Leadership structure of a TeamMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

“Techno-peasant” I like that? Can I use it without you charging royalties? We got it from the ditzy smartphone. French does impress, doesn’t it?

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Jason Fonceca March 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Birds of a feather, flock.

T-dot represent!
Jason Fonceca recently posted..19 Examples Of Celebrities Who Think SuccessMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm

T-dot peeps in the house, but nobody from Jet City. :)

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Ralph March 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Craig, the tecno-peasant is yours. I don’t even need credit. Fire at will. Yo Jason, Tdot represent for sure.
Ralph recently posted..How Entrances relate to the Leadership structure of a TeamMy Profile

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Craig McBreen March 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I do love that one!

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Jason Fonceca March 15, 2012 at 4:03 am

awesome thread :)

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Craig McBreen March 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Fun times :)

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