Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

10 Blogging Tips. My 1,000th Post on This Blog 34

Last night I was halfway through a draft post patting myself on the back, illustrated with champagne glasses, when my youngest daughter, Megan, called from San Francisco, where she lives now. That’s @MeganBerry to you, blogger and social media expert,  marketing manager of Klout.com. So I asked her this: “What do I do with my 1,000th post?”

stacked stones“Do something that matters,” Megan answered. “Do something special.”  She talked about favorites, lessons, advice, and reflections.

So, about 12 hours later, this is it, number 1,000. Gulp.

I started in 2006, but did only a dozen posts in the first year. I really started in April 2007, with reflections on family business, a personal note about passing the torch to a second generation. I changed jobs then – my choice – from owner-entrepreneur-president to blogger president of Palo Alto Software.

My personal favorite posts are on the sidebar here to the right. My favorite search is the one for fundamentals, particularly the series of 5 posts on planning fundamentals. My favorite categories come straight from the blog title: planning, startups, and stories: that’s specifically the categories planning fundamentals, true stories, and starting a business. And I also really like advice, reflections, and business mistakes. But I like most of my posts here. You kind of have to, to keep doing it.

Here are 10 blogging lessons I’ve learned:

  1. Imitation isn’t just flattery, it’s learning. When I said I wasn’t a blogger, Sabrina Parsons said “you will be. Just start reading blogs.” So I did. And I imitate a lot of other bloggers I like to read. So many that I can’t name them all here; but my thanks to Guy, John, Pam, Anita, Ann, Steve, Seth, Matthew, Ramon, and so many others. Every blog on my blogroll here to the right.
  2. Titles make a huge difference. That’s not just blogging. It’s been true for a long time. My son Paul, CTO at Huffington Post, teamed up with his younger sister Megan to teach me titles. And Ironically, what they taught me was a lot of what I learned at UPI plus the power of questions, and lists of 5 and 10.
  3. Short and simple: short sentences, short posts. Short thoughts? I like one-word sentences, and one-sentence paragraphs. And short posts, in theory: despite how much I admire Seth Godin’s short posts, I try, and usually fail.   
  4. Break grammar rules. Carefully. Rarely. Like right here. There’s no verb in either of the previous two sentences, so this post would have gotten me an F in Brother Salvatore’s 12th grade English class. 30-some years later, I’m glad he gave me that F on a 10-page paper for using “it’s” instead of “its” once. That lesson was worth it. But jeez!
  5. Pictures add meaning. Thanks to John Jantsch for that one. And to Shutterstock for supplying me with the bulk of the pictures I’ve used on this blog for the last year. And don’t ask me to explain the illustration on this one. I didn’t want champagne glasses or cakes and candles.
  6. Write Often, and keep writing. Find your pace. Honor consistency. Once a month doesn’t feel like a blog, but three good posts weekly is better than two good and three not so good. Break your routine occasionally for mental health. I write a lot and like it.  I’ve done 1,000 posts here in three years. Plus 700 on Up and Running, and another 200 or so on Small Business Trends, Huffington Post, Amex Open, Industry Word, and Planning Demystified. Plus some guest posts on others. It’s easier to maintain momentum than overcome inertia.
  7. Love the comments. Thank you. Not you spammers. But even you critics with annoying comments. Especially you critics with smart well written disagreements. Not the dumb generic praise intended only for your own SEO benefit, which I delete.  But I love the comments, they make it live.
  8. Love Twitter. Twitter has done wonders for my blogging, my daily work flow, and my growing satisfaction with web 2.0 or social media or whatever you call it. If you don’t get twitter, it’s not clutter, it’s not what they had for lunch, it’s blog posts and links and what’s going on in the world, as shared by people you like, now. My 18-point Twitter Primer feels as valid today as when I posted it.
  9. Tell the damn truth. You can’t fake it for long. Keeping track of all your various personae is exhausting. Write as yourself, or maybe (just maybe) who you really want to be. I know this is a lame old quote, but I heard it first from Chris Guilleabeau and I like it: “I have to be myself. All the other people are already taken.”
  10. Tell don’t sell. Lots of us blog for business. Much as I sincerely love the books and software I’ve done, I don’t blog about them here. Sure, the sidebar sells, I hope, but my posts don’t. 

Here’s advice, in honor of this being post number 1,000:

  1. Anything anybody can believe is an image of truth (paraphrasing William Blake).
  2. Time is the scarcest resource. Time, not money.
  3. Your relationships with the people you love are WAY more important than proving that you were right.

Dear reader: thank you. 

(image credit: Arsgera/Shutterstock)

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  • http://tylerwardisbored.com Tyler Ward Is-Bored

    I liked this post but I do not agree that shorter is always better, especially for business blogs. I found great value in Paul Graham’s blog and some of his posts were Bibles. I love Seth Godin’s blog but sometimes I want to get lost in something…

    Either way, thank you for sharing this as I was certainly overlooking some of these tips in my new blog.

  • anne stephaniuk

    Great accomplishment! Thanks so much for the advice. I’m not here often but have read yours posts occasionally. I’ll bookmark you now.

    Appreciate the tips. I feel motivated to finally start my own blog… finally.

    Looking forward to more posts. Great writing and helpful videos.

  • http://www.tornado-marketing.com Adrianne Machina

    Congratulations Tim! Achieving 1000 high-caliber posts is quite the milestone. You tell the damn truth and we like it!

    Adrianne Machina

    • http://timberry.com Tim Berry

      Adrianne, thank you. And it’s great to see you here. And please do keep up the good work at Tornado Marketing too!

  • http://nopests.com Westchester Pest Control

    Great tips, thank! Congrats on reaching 1000!

  • http://www.egosoletrader.com Martin Lindeskog

    Tim,

    I have to count the books mentioned on my blog. It could take some time. Talking about books, please read my post, Business Plan. You will recognize these books.

    I will send you an email regarding the podcast interview.

  • http://scottgould.me Scott Gould

    Hi Tim

    Congrats on 1,000!

    I like this list. I appreciate it because you’re not going for the usual affiliate bull-crap and all.

    This is about *people*.

    The thing I love on my blog is that I get more comments that retweets – practically all the time. Admittedly, I get about 10 retweets a post but I get about 15 – 20 comments and the discussion is so rich.

    My favourite point of yours? “Tell the truth”

    I’d tired of bloggers making it out like they are super human!

    Best,
    Scott

  • http://egosoletrader.com Martin Lindeskog

    Tim,

    Congratulations to your milestone! I started to blog in 2002 and I have now published 2555 posts (including some great posts by guest bloggers) on my EGO blog.

    Talk to you soon again! I look forward to have you as a guest on my new podcast on Blog Talk Radio.

    All the Best,

    Martin

    • http://timberry.com Tim Berry

      Thanks Martin, and you should be duly proud, 2,555 posts is a whole lot of work. How many books are in there? And yes, still looking forward to the podcast. Tim.

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  • http://azblogtips.com Tinh

    1,000th post seems a great milestone for any blogger and I have just posted 6 articles only and it will take me 3 years to reach your goal now. Thanks and wish you all the best!

  • http://www.sitedoublers.com/ John Hyde

    Yep tell the truth. It’s easier than inventing something.

    A new angle on this: be yourself. Be your authentic self. It’s so much easier than inventing a persona and having to get “in character” each time.

  • http://www.marketingprofs.com Ann Handley

    Tim: Congrats! I absolutely love this post…. Love it. Love you. You’re amazing.

  • http://www.bradmouth.com Brad White

    Great Post. I just launched my website a month or so ago, and I’m glad to see that my writers and I are doing some things right, i.e. pictures, length (a battle) and replying to all comments.

    Would love to hear any other advice you might have for gaining readership at a website modeled after the Onion and Gawker.

    here’s to the next 1K!

  • http://www.TheFranchiseKingBlog.com Joel Libava

    Tim,

    Congrats! If it wasn’t for your writing, I don’t think we would have ever been able to connect.

    You do great things for small business. Great things.

    The Franchise King®

  • http://www.TheFranchiseKingBlog.com Joel Libava

    Tim,

    Congrats! If it wasn’t for your writing, I don’t think we would have ever been able to connect.

    You do great things for small business. Great things.

    The Franchise King®

  • http://www.TheFranchiseKingBlog.com Joel Libava

    Tim,

    Congrats! If it wasn’t for your writing, I don’t think we would have ever been able to connect.

    You do great things for small business. Great things.

    The Franchise King®

  • http://www.TheFranchiseKingBlog.com Joel Libava

    Tim,

    Congrats! If it wasn’t for your writing, I don’t think we would have ever been able to connect.

    You do great things for small business. Great things.

    The Franchise King®

  • http://www.TheFranchiseKingBlog.com Joel Libava

    Tim,

    Congrats! If it wasn’t for your writing, I don’t think we would have ever been able to connect.

    You do great things for small business. Great things.

    The Franchise King®

    • http://timberry.com Tim Berry

      Joel, Bob, Michael, Joshua, Roger, Maria, thank you all, I really appreciate it. Tim.

  • http://www.polygraphics.com Bob P

    Re #9: Tell the Truth
    I like the Mark Twain quote “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”. truth telling makes your life *much* easier.

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  • http://www.jerichotechnology.com Michael Stewart

    Congratulations, Tim:

    Your accomplishment, and more importantly, your humility, grace and dedication are a tribute not just to you, but also to the culture blogging has generated in this country and around the world. What a magnificent era we are living in. Like-minded, unselfish and caring people are able to reach out, share their ideas, have an impact on the world, and do all of this for the cost of a little time and intellectual energy. The next time you are feeling tired of the daily grind, remember the countless lives and businesses you have improved. My hat goes off to you, and I look forward to following your fine work into the future.

    Michael R. H. Stewart
    President
    Jericho Technology, Inc.
    Phone: (623) 207-1413
    URL: http://www.jerichotechnology.com
    Email: michaelstewart@jerichotechnology.com
    Skype: michaelrstewart2010
    Twitter: @jerichotech
    LinkedIn: michaelrhstewart
    Facebook: Jericho-Technology-Inc

  • http://www.joshuadorkin.com Joshua Dorkin

    Congrats on 1,000 posts. It is a HUGE achievement to be able to sustain a blog for that long. Keep up the good work.

  • http://blog.publishedandprofitable.com Roger C. Parker

    Dear Tim:
    Congratulations on your 1,000th.

    I, too, am looking forward to your next 1,000.

    Your consistency of relevance and style sets the standard.

    Roger

  • http://www.themiddleshelf.com Maria Helm

    I’m a regular reader and I must say that your blog is one of my favorites. Thanks for all the posts – all 1,000 of them – and congratulations!

  • http://CampusEntrepreneurship.wordpress.com David Miller

    Congratulations Tim. Your writing helps me and countless others. Thank you for that. Like the rest, I look forward to the next 1,000. And maybe a book? — your path from journalist in mexico (if I remember correctly) to software entrepreneur/planning guru to web 2.0 content king? no doubt it would be a great read.

    • http://timberry.com Tim Berry

      Thanks David, and wow, with the way you put it here, I need to get you to ghostwrite it. Tim.

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  • http://dishbytrish.com Trish

    Great post! Thanks for the advice, Tim! Congrats on your 1000th!

  • http://timberry.com Tim Berry

    Jay, Robert, CWebb, Max, Joseph, and Bob: thanks, I really appreciate it. And Jay, by the way, thanks for several good additions lately, in the comments to this and other posts.

  • Bob Lee

    Congatulations Tim on 1,000 post. I had been reading your blog about an year, and making me think about not only business but family and life in general. Keep up the wonderful blog. Great usuage of pictures especially your last blog. One stone at a time but at the end you see the tower.
    I will keep your advice.
    “Time is the scarcest resource. Time, not money”

  • http://business901.com Joseph T. Dager

    Thanks for sharing. There is a certain warmth in your writing that seems very genuine. Long time admirer and reader. Can’t wait for the next 1,000.

  • Max

    Thank you Tim.
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and you were one of the sources of inspiration for my own blogging activity.
    Just keep on!

  • CWebb

    Congrats on 1,000! I’m getting so much from these, just had to say thanks! As a new entrepreneur, I am on the lookout for solid info that doesn’t take hours of time to absorb or understand. Your advice hits the mark for me. I’m using some of the tools to do a financial plan. My business strategy was easy to write, but the financial plan is not fully my strength. I’m using the formats and info from your blog to create my first attempt at the plan. Keep going!

  • http://allalliancenews.com Robert Jones

    Congratulations on a major milestone, Tim. Looking forward to the next 1,000 posts.

    If I could add one item to your list, it would be something you already illustrate perfectly: Show you care. I love your posts because you’re not afraid to expose your heart when you write. You’re lavish (and specific) with praise. You’re committed to what you believe in. You’re not afraid to say when you’re pissed off.

    It all adds up to a blog with passion. I can see that you’re invested in what you write, and that makes me invest as a reader.

  • http://simplewebguys.com JayTurn

    Congratulations Tim. I have only been following you for a short time and sometimes feel like your personal stalker when it comes to the comments. I just want to say, I haven’t read all 1000 of your posts but the ones that I’ve read have always been thought provoking and interesting.

    P.S No.9 is my favorite… I think we should call the 21st Century the period of transparency.

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