What I Have Learned in Four Years of Blogging

I began blogging in April 2004. (I actually began writing articles and posting them on my Web site in 1998, but that was before we used the term “blogging.”) Since that time, I have posted 344 entries. At an average of 800 words per post (which, for me, is conservative), that is 275,200 words—almost four 256-page books.

A Keyboard with the Word Blog - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jallfree, Image #2641009

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jallfree

During this time, I have learned a good deal about blogging. I’m sure I still have a long way to go, but I thought I would summarize what I have learned so far:

  1. Blogging helps me clarify my own thinking. This is probably the primary benefit of blogging for me. Sometimes I am not sure what I think about a topic until I have written on it. Writing helps me untangle my thoughts.
  2. Blogging has given me first-hand experience with emerging technologies. I have listened to many CEOs pontificate on this or that technology. But they are not speaking from personal experience—and it shows. When you actually use a technology, your learning and insights go to a higher level.
  3. Blogging has provided me with a mechanism for instant feedback. I love the fact that people can comment on what I have written. Whether the comments are good or bad, they help sharpen my thinking. As James Surowiecki said in The Wisdom of Crowds, the “many are smarter than the few.”
  4. Blogging has given others a “peek behind the curtain.” The publishing process is a mystery to most people. So is the life of most CEOs. Blogging pulls back the curtain and gives people a behind-the-scenes peek. Based on the emails I receive, this is consistently what most readers like about my blog.
  5. Blogging has given me a way to engage my employees. This is really the reason I started blogging. I wanted a way to transmit what I was learning to my colleagues. At first, I was going to do this on an internal blog. Then I decided to open it to the public. Regardless, when I am writing, I have my employees in mind first.
  6. Blogging has helped me bypass traditional media when necessary. I didn’t really understand this at the outset, but it has proven very helpful. When the media fail to get the story right, I can quickly address it and provide my side of the story. This has been particularly helpful when we make big decisions that cause people to speculate. A blog post can stop a rumor dead in its tracks.
  7. Blogging has made our company more visible. I currently have more than 25,000 readers a week. I have received scores of emails from people who had never heard of Thomas Nelson before stumbling onto my blog. Also, my blog has given me a way to “put a face on the company” and, I think, make it more personal.
Question: So, those are a few of things I have learned. If you are a blogger, what have you learned? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.samluce.com samluce

    Michael,

    Really love your stuff. I find your posts thought provoking yet you always seem to add practical steps for people to apply what they have just been inspired by. Thanks for making your blog public you, your company and must of all of us who read it are better for it.

    sam

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  • http://www.thegiftofmondays.com/ colleen laquay urbaniuk

    the best part of blogging to me is that you can write something today that will still encourage someone days, weeks and months from now.  somehow, through the details put in a search engine (and of course the grace of God) a person can find hope, light or the courage to go on at any time of day or night.  i love that part.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that, too. Thanks.

  • rachaelebner

    I’m looking forward to starting my own blog this week! I just started following yours last week after my friend sent me the link for your Life Plan article and eBook. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. Welcome!

  • http://blog.rumorsofglory.com/ Lucille Zimmerman

    Blogging has made me succinct writer. It helps me distill my thoughts into essential words and forces me to clarify my thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    I too have been blogging before I discovered the term “blogging.” I wrote articles online and would share them vie email to friends. I discovered blogger.com in early 2005– right before I had my son. I had just quit my job because of a high-risk pregnancy and I was at home resting. Instead of “just resting” I began writing more. 

    I love blogging. I have two on my website right now for women– one where I write devotionals for moms and business women and another for single women where I discuss relevant topics from a Christian woman’s perspective. That’s my most active one.

    Blogging does everything you mentioned for me too. I love engaging with my audience about facts of life. It’s so wonderful to get comments and even prayer request from many viewers.

    It also helps keep me accountable too. It’s a great way for me to stay in the bible, since my aim is to encourage women from a godly angle. I love it!

  • http://www.reformed-health.com Mischelle007

    I have been blogging for about a year to help promote an inspirational novella that my seventeen  year old daughter wrote as a fund raiser for college. The book is called ICU.

    In addition, I just started a new blog called reformed-health.com because I can see that there are so many Christians who are suffering needless ill health.

    http://www.icubook.wordpress.com promotes ICU

    http://www.reformed-health.com promotes health from a biblical perspective

  • http://barrypearman.blogspot.com/ Barry Pearman

    I have only been blogging for the short time of about 6 months but I have found that blogging has enabled me to get some of my thoughts and ideas out there to a wider audience.

    I have a passion for helping people with Major Mental Illnesses. The Blog has enabled some of them to have a voice. So blogging has been very empowering. 

    Blogging is a place where you are given the right to speak and be heard.

    Thanks for the great posts Michael.

  • http://twitter.com/stickymex Steve Morgan

    I have found that blogging helps me slow down and metabolize what I am reading and thinking about.  I blog mostly about five things that are the focus of my personal mission:  Live well. Love deeply. Learn continuously.  Lead courageously. Leave a legacy.  So this helps me also keep on track with my life mission.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1419226621 Eva Pauline Scott

    I started blogging as a way to focus on something other than my home business. Now it gives me a way to reach goals and make them public as well. I agree that it helps clarify my thinking, and it also helps me to clarify the way I present my ideas in other places besides my blog.

    Your blog has been very helpful with ideas in so many areas besides just writing. Thanks!

  • Lori Stanley Roeleveld

    I expected blogging to connect me with people I don’t know but have been surprised at how it’s connected me with coworkers and local  acquaintances. The conversations that begin with people on my blog as they read my posts are often continued in person when they come to me with a deeper interest in my faith. In fact, a series of posts I did about why it’s hard for some Christians to talk about homosexuality, opened a fruitful dialog with a gay coworker that played out online and in person. What started, admittedly, as a vehicle for “building my writer’s platform,” has turned into a place where I can transparently express my quirky perspective on faith, an outlet for my creative energy, and a surprising door-opening vehicle for this remedial evangelist.

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    Blogging is a great way to write about anything and everything.  It allows us to connect with people we would likely not have encountered.  Thanks again for all that you do!

  • http://missmolliesmusings.blogspot.com/ Mollie Lyon

    Being fairly new to blogging, just under a year, I find the clarification is a major part. I started the process to keep the family stories alive as much as possible after my mother, the true historian, passed away. I find it is also my writing  journey.  And a lot of fun that brings joy to my readers.

  • Kathleen Trissel

    I’ll say one thing I haven’t learned, and that is how to navigate traffic to a blog or how to have it come up on a search engine. I know it’s a technology issue, but I can’t get past this. I wonder if there’s a Dummies resource for this.

  • Sean Heritage

    I love learning from, with, and through you on a daily  basis.  Thanks for the knowledge you share and the inspiration you give so many!

  • Mark Leach

    Just today I was wondering how many words would it take for an average length book. Thank you for providing the answer based on how many words you’ve blogged and how many books it would fill. Having written 87 posts for my blog, averaging around 800 words, seems like I already have a book!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep. You do.

      • Mark Leach

        I’ll have to first do the Get Published Now program. Thanks.

  • http://OneBoldMove.com/ Frank Gustafson

    Just started my blog a few weeks ago. I am looking forward to the journey. So far I have learned that this takes some discipline. When I get started… I am in heaven… getting “started” is the challenge. Thanks for the great example Mr H… following your “Platform” system.

  • http://momentsandinvitations.com/ Dana Butler

    Michael, I’m another lurker, tentatively poking my head out here today. I’m actually in the midst of writing a series: “What I’ve Learned in 1 Year of {serious} Blogging.” Since you asked, just thought I’d share: http://danalbutler.com/what-ive-learned-in-1-year-of-blogging-the-series/

    So appreciate your blog. I learn so much here.