How much do you have to know to blog successfully?

The answer to that is, it depends.

For those who are thinking about becoming bloggers, as in the case of attendees at our recent Open Forum on Blogging, I’d like to provide a quick overview to keep things in perspective.

The simple view

If you are going to reach out and touch people and get them to experience intense emotions from reading your work, you only have to know how to write, operate a web browser, and upload pictures.

Your writing and your passion will get you more attention than you can possibly imagine. On your pictures, your mileage will vary. Cute and humorous pictures get passed around the blogosphere in hours. Artfully crafted images get well-deserved admiration, but rarely make news.

Millions of people do this every day on LiveJournal, Xanga, and Blogger. Now they are even doing it with video on YouTube.

The point I am tryimg to make is that it is your writing that counts and it is your passion which makes this writing irresistible. Pictures are just a plus.

Making money or achieving some other goal

UPDATE: Welcome, friends of the Manolo!

Now, if you wish to move beyond writing about your cat, your love life, or your ideas about life, you start needing a vision and tools to help you achieve that vision. The power of blogging has barely been identified, but the limited view we have of it is already mind-boggling.

Blogs don’t sell, they persuade. They help build relationships that let selling occur as a natural phenomenon between friends. This is as far from Dale Carnegie as you can get. Blogging is real and open communication and it is sheer magic.

When done well, it looks so easy that traditional marketing and sales types have a hard time figuring out what is going on.

It takes a thorough understanding of branding and an intimate understanding of the sales cycle to come up with a weblog that chatters along about tailoring details and famous people and sells $4000 suits as fast as they can be made. But that is what Thomas Mahon’s English Cut does with style and grace.

There is a weblog which talks about yachts and it is a fantastic source of information about chartering, buying, or building yachts. It is Fenderkicker by BCR Yachts, a yachting sales and charter company in Antibes, Cote d’Azur, France.

Then there is Manolo’s Shoe Blog that talks about shoes and celebrities and is one of the most entertaining reads in the blogosphere. Shoe sales must skyrocket whenever Manolo mentions his latest favorites.

Not content with shoes, The Manolo, as he refers to himself, has created Manolo for the Brides, Manolo’s Food Blog, and a host of others. All are entertaining reads and completely unlike any magazine column you have ever seen.

These blogs are wildly different, but they all involve us and entertain us and the sales persuasion message develops naturally after a relationship is established.

There is much that can be learned about branding and the viral nature of blogs, but all of this information is at your fingertips. No need to take a course at the local University, just start reading blogs about marketing, branding, and online business and you will have the information you need with real-life examples to watch as they evolve.

What should you do?

My advice to new bloggers is, start blogging with a platform that does the heavy lifting and lets you concentrate on writing. Start with a basic mission statement of what you want to accomplish. Use that to guide you in your writing. Write posts every week, daily if possible, and keep increasing your knowledge of how blogs work and what builds traffic.

After you have been blogging a few months, you will be amazed at the changes that occur in your life. Blogging opens doors to opportunities and new friendships. It is definitely worth investigating.

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