How to Build a Great Blog, by Choice

How to build a great blogSuccess is less about being lucky, but more about what you do to take advantage of the luck you get. This is one of the many insightful findings Jim Collins and his team of researchers discovered about great companies in the book, Great By Choice. Turns out, much of what it takes to build a great company applies equally well to building a great blog. Learn what it takes to build a great blog, by choice.

Elements of Greatness

Collins and his research partners defined success as companies who beat their industry competitors on average by a factor of 10. Their research showed that all of these companies shared three essential behaviors: fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia. Let's apply these concepts to blogging as way of understanding them:

  • Fanatic Discipline - This habit is all about having a purpose for your blog and being utterly relentless in your pursuit of this goal. If you want to have the best blog on a given topic, you need to be mono-maniacal in your consistent approach to publishing great content in that area. It also means having discipline in setting up goals to measure against your objectives, and then measuring your output against these goals.
  • Empirical Creativity - Demonstrating this behavior entails not looking just to best practice examples or case studies for what to do with your blog, but moreso to evidence, direct observation and practical experiments in tandem with bold creative initiatives to define what works for you. Test things out constantly, and double down on the stuff that works.
  • Productive Paranoia - Being great means never getting too comfortable. Productive paranoia is about staying hyper vigiliant and attuned to new tastes and threats in your industry. It also means having safety measures built in. Don't rely on just one source of traffic, and build relationships with your audience to future-proof your readership.

Great By Choice focused on the greatness of companies such as Southwest Airlines, Microsoft (during the Bill Gates era), and Progressive Insurance. And while none of these companies relied on a blogging to achieve greatness, the same might not be true for the companies of the future.

Instituting the habits of fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia into your blogging will help bring your blog from so-so to greatness, and in the process it might just do the same for your business.

Have you read Great By Choice? Either way, what do you think of the elements of greatness as described in this post?

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