How can you expect to get better at anything if you’re not doing anything to make yourself better?
Aside from your parents (maybe), no one is going sit you down and tell you the secret to success. You have to go out and find it on your own, and the best way to do so is by learning from those who have already done it. You wouldn’t take parenting advice from someone who doesn’t have a kid would you?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you want what someone else has, do what they do. All of the books below are written by people who have achieved something I want to achieve and if you’re reading this post, you probably want to achieve it too. I’ve got 3 books all bloggers need to read today.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
A common theme throughout this book was having good values. Your values determine how you measure your worth and level of success. Money, fame, recognition, family, community, health… those are values. Now you need to ask yourself what yours are.
Some bloggers measure their worth based on how many followers they have or how much money they make, and when they’re not gaining followers or making money they feel unfulfilled. And then there are bloggers who measure their success based on how many people they help. You can probably guess which one is the better value to have…
Nothing good comes from bad values, so you want to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing? Who is it serving?
Something else Mark stressed is that you’re wrong about most things and you don’t know anything. Yep. You read that right. You don’t know a thing and neither do I. You only know so much until someone comes along and tells you something else. You don’t know what you don’t know, you know? Each passing day means we’re a little less wrong and we know a little more but we’re still wrong about something and I’ve never realized that before this book.
Another crucial lesson for bloggers in this book was the art of saying no. Saying no is sometimes even more empowering than saying yes and it’s something bloggers should familiarize themselves with. Money is tempting, free gifts are tempting, attending events is also tempting but if it doesn’t make sense for you and your blog, you have to be able to say no.
You create boundaries by saying no. By remaining exclusive with the brands you work and products you endorse, you establish a demand for your services (aka more brands will want to work with you because you only work with a select few). And when there’s a demand for you, you can turn your blog into a business.
To learn more, and I highly recommend you do, read the book… now! (Get it HERE.)
The Brand Gap
The Brand Gap is a huge resource for bloggers looking to build a brand. It’s one thing to have a blog, it’s another to have an entire brand. Though this book doesn’t solely focus on bloggers, it focuses on brand building which ultimately is what you’re doing when you create a blog with hopes of turning it into a business.
Something I found extremely useful was “the hand test”. The hand test is when you can put your hand over your brand’s logo and identify it as your own. You can do this with any brand or blog.
For example, let’s say you just created a shoppable collage for your blog. You put your hand over your logo or any text saying it’s yours, and you see if the branding (the colors, the fonts, the overall design) is similar to past graphics you’ve had and on brand with your general vibe. If the answer is yes, then you’re in good shape but if each of your graphics looks completely different from one another then you may have to re-evaluate your branding.
Some other key points the author touched on was that a strong brand is born when strategy and creativity meet (talent and strategy), the zig-zag theory (which we’re all familiar with by now), and your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what they say it is. They is your customer, consumer, reader, visitor, etc.
I don’t want to be too much of a spoiler so pick up the book and find out for yourself. It’s a super quick read too, you just need a few hours and you’re done. (Get it HERE.)
Contagious is based on the STEPPS theory. STEPPS stands for Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical value, and Storytelling. If you’re a blogger these STEPPS are total game changers. You can have a successful blog by using just one or a combination of a few of the STEPPS. But if you encompass all of them on your blog, you are guaranteed success. Yep. I promise you you’ll eventually blog full-time if you follow the STEPPS.
Contagious breaks down each of the STEPPS in an easily digestible way plus examples. I love a biz book with examples because it helps me apply things to my own life.
It may seem easy enough, but it’s not, which is probably why only 4% of bloggers actually “make it”. It’s no easy feat. That’s not to sound discouraging, it’s just a statistic. You are in control of your fate, but you have to be willing to put in the work.
Most bloggers don’t have the patience, talent, or strategy to follow through with half of the things they read or learn which again, is why only 4% do. I only recommend this book to bloggers who are serious about growing their blogs or businesses and who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary for it to happen.
I have this book highlighted from front to back because there are so many good gems in it. But if you’re still debating whether Contagious is right for you, stop. I don’t want to be too much of a #spoileralert so just buy the book and see how transformative it really is. (Get it HERE.)
If you’ve read any of these books, tell me about it! Also feel free to ask any questions you have about blogging, branding, or business in the comments below for a special shout out in our Monthly Blog Tip Q&A series!