Blogging Lesson: You have to be focused

This blogging lesson comes courtesy of Season 7 Episode #2 of The Next Food Network Star from the 2nd elimination

Blogging Lesson#2 : You have to be focused.

After Juba’s elimination, the next phase of the competition was to prepare a meal for a panel of Food Network stars. It’s this challenge that leads to the elimination of Katy Clark.

On the show, Katy is identified as a “fitness and lifestyle coach” – however – in her biography on the Food Network Site – it reads “This energetic mother of three runs a food and fitness company.”  Meanwhile on her website, she offers the following array of services:

  • Chef Instructor
  • Fitness Expert
  • Catering
  • Motivational Speaker

When the judges speak to her about needing to be “focused” – she responds that “she can’t be pinned in” to cooking day in and day out.

Your Blogging Lesson from the Secpmd Elimination of the 2nd Episode: You’ve got to pick and passion and stay focused.

Katy is not alone in nurturing a wide array of seemingly “unconnected” passions.  Many high achieving people have a wide array of interests.  If you’re nurturing a wide variety of passions – rest assure that this diversity will be an asset to your blog.  Your varied interests and activities will add much needed “spice” to your blog posts.  The key is to weave these passions and activities into a single cohesive thread – created with your great blog name in mind.

For example, let’s take a fictional blogger who is a master chef who also loves to snorkel in the coast waters near his home.  He’s named his blog “The Adventurous Chef”

This fictional blogger may start with a strong focus.  He creates a category called “seafood recipes” and begins creating blog posts about the amazing selection of fresh seafood available and how to properly prepare it.

After only a few blog posts – our blogger plans a trip to the Bahamas to go snorkeling.  Suddenly – he’s not writing about seafood but rather begins blogging about snorkeling.  He blogs about his desire to find the right equipment to capture his underwater adventures.  This series of posts are followed by posts chronicling his adventure.  His latest posts feature some amazing underwater camera work including a video of the chef’s close encounter with what appears to be a Great White Shark.

Unfortunately for our blogger – such a dramatic leap in subject matter will not only confuse the human readers of his blog –  it will confuse the mindless robots which index and categorize the web.

Instead of taking a dramatic leap – our chef blogger needs to either find a way to weave his adventures into his blog’s topic – or start another blog about his snorkeling adventures.

With the blog name “The Adventurous Chef” – one would assume that tales of his “adventures” should be a part of his blog posts – and they should be!  However, while the information about his latest adventure is truly worthy of sharing with his audience – he must be careful in how he shares it. Simply creating a new set of blog posts – especially in a new blog – can spell disaster for his blog’s “focus”.

Instead of creating blog posts about snorkeling equipment and the finer points of shooting underwater video – our chef needs to keep his focus on the FOOD aspect of his blog.  The amazing shark video he shot should be used to draw attention to his post on shark fin soup.   Whether he decides to share a recipe in that post – or share his alarm at the environmental price of such a dish – he would still be staying “on topic” as far as his blog is concerned.

It’s not unusual to have a wide array of interests – but it’s important to remain true to the focus of your blog – a focus you decided upon when you named your blog.

In Katy’s case – she was auditioning for the Food Network.  The Food Network’s focus is very defined – it’s focused on FOOD.  It’s in the network’s name – and it’s a recurring theme in the shows they air.  (Unllike MTV which rarely offers the “music videos” promised in it’s name.)

When it comes to cooking – there’s the “main ingredient” and then there are the “additions” like herbs and spices – not to mention preparation – which results in a palate pleasing dish.  Katy just needed to focus on her passion for FOOD and to allow the other passions in her life act as “spice” to her passion for food.

Blogging Lesson: Focus is an essential ingredient to make your blog successful.  Learn to weave your other passions and activities into your blog’s theme so it is unique but remains focused.

Blogging Lesson : You must be an expert

What you can learn about blogging by watching Season 7 Episode #1 of The Next Food Network Star :

Blogging Lesson : You must be an expert

In the first episode of The Next Food Network Star – contestants were asked to perform a 3 minute promo for the show they hoped to have on Food Network if they win.  Here’s a clip from the episode in case you missed it:

Howie entered this competition as a radio personality who decided to “pretend” he could cook.  He openly acknowledged that he wasn’t a “food guy” but he was a successful local radio personality and wanted to make the leap from radio star to Food Network Star.

Howie was the first to be eliminated – despite the fact that he was probably the most “camera ready” of the bunch.  Why?  Because without any food “expertise” – Food Network Viewers would have quickly seen through Howie’s charming facade and changed the channel.

Howie didn’t love food – Howie didn’t know food.  Howie’s only relationship with food was eating on a daily basis and that wasn’t good enough to get past the first cuts on the show.

Your Blogging Lesson From the First Episode: Blog About Something You Know

There’s something about blogging that “reveals” a lot about the person writing the blog post.  This is why it is CRITICAL for you – the blogger – to be an expert on the subject about which you’re blogging.  Don’t try to blog about a subject like food just because you want to be a blogging star.   Instead – choose a subject you know and know well.  If you don’t – your lack of expertise will become quickly become apparent to your readers.

There’s a level of “transparency” in blogging which is very similar to the “transparency” of being a Food Network Star.  A successful blogger – like a Food Network Star – must possess a certain level of expertise.  Without this expertise –   your audience just like the Food Network Audience – will quickly “see through” your mask.

Take for example the recent college graduate who decide to begin blogging about business.  There’s nothing wrong with our young blogger writing about his journey through the world of business.  However, our young blogger is in DEEP trouble if he chooses to write about “making money blogging” if in fact he’s never earned a single cent from his blog.  The internet is littered with just such bloggers – who recommend hosting services they’ve never used just to earn a commission and who spew the thoughts of others instead of their own.

There’s something about blogging which unknowingly reveals the expertise of the author.  If you want to blog about starting a business – it’s fine to write about your personal journey.  The problem arises when you try to write about issues outside of your experience.

It’s really quite simple.  If you’ve never hired an employee – don’t create a blog post about how to hire great employees.   If your business has grown to the point of hiring a new employee – then blog about that process – and let readers come along for the ride as you interview, screen and eventually make the job offer.

Your blogging lesson is blog about something you know.  If you don’t know – but are learning – that’s a fine premise for a blog –  as long as you’re open about it.

You must know more about your chosen topic than your readers do.  Howie didn’t posses a level of expertise that would surpass the average Food Network viewer so he was eliminated.

Blogging Lesson: Expertise is an essential ingredient you need to make your blog successful.