15 Years On, Five Ways Blogging Changed My Life Forever

blogging changed my life

This week marks the fifteenth anniversary of my blog. Crazy, right? I realize that nobody cares about an anniversary like this … I don’t even care, honestly … but I thought I would use the milestone as a teachable moment because blogging changed my life. And here is the main lesson of the milestone:

To stand out in this world, you have to be known. To be known, you have to show up consistently. Consistency is more important than genius.

Unfortunately, this is where most people fail. They stop and start, or perhaps they never start at all.

100 percent human contentIn my Personal Branding Master Class, I show a slide depicting my personal income attributed to “being known.” My income grew steadily over time (except 2020!) because the more I am known, the bigger my audience, the greater the opportunities, the higher the book sales, and the more valuable the speaking and consulting engagements. This progress can only come through consistently showing up with helpful content.

Creating meaningful content is hard work, and at low times, I wonder if it’s worth it. While I’m working on a blog post, my friends might be reading, hiking, or cooking a great meal. Blogging is a sacrifice.

But when I emerge from this introspection, I return to the same conclusion: Everything started from the blog, and every business benefit comes from the thought leadership I’ve built from this space. In fact, without a doubt, blogging changed my life forever, in these five ways:

1. Deep emotional connection

A few years ago, I received an email from a blog reader: “I’ve been reading your blog for three years. It led me to buy your latest book, and it is the best business book I’ve read in the last ten years.”

It was signed by the CMO of a Fortune 100 company. Two years later, he hired me for a consulting project to transform his content marketing department.

Let’s dissect what happened:

  • A stranger built an affinity for me through my blog.
  • Over time, the affinity became trust … a strong enough bond for him to hire me, even though I had never met him.
  • To earn his business, I didn’t have to apply for the job or bid against competitors. I was simply awarded the work, and I named my price.

If I didn’t have a blog, how much would I have had to spend on advertising to have a success story like that?

Brand marketing is about building an emotional connection that differentiates you from the competition. What a wonderful world we live in where a guy like me has the opportunity to build relationships — and a business — through my content. You can do it, too.

2. The introvert’s revenge

I hate networking. I am the worst networker in the world. I’m an introvert who loves a quiet dinner with friends, but put me in a room with a lot of people, and I want to crawl into a hole.

I know that sounds weird coming from a person who delivers keynote speeches in front of thousands of people, but it is different. I come alive on a stage because I can teach and entertain, and I’m really good at it. But shaking hands all night at a cocktail reception is my idea of torture.  I am a mingler misfit.

But through a blog, I can build business friendships with people every day without actually meeting them!

3. The fuel for a legacy

When my blog hit its tenth anniversary, I wrote that my biggest accomplishment was that over all those hundreds of posts, I never humiliated myself. My record still stands!

I have not made a major stumble because blogging forces me to clarify my ideas. Before I put something into the world, I think it through deeply. Is it thorough? Have I considered all sides? Am I being kind and showing up in a way I can be proud of?

These clarified blog concepts are later used in my speeches and books. The seeds of my legacy are planted here.

4. Personal reward

When I was in the corporate world, I would get an annual performance review (if I was lucky!).

Although I generally had an idea of how I was doing, there always seemed to be a zinger in there. Nobody gets a perfect performance review, right?

The cool thing about blogging is that I get a performance every week. Here is a comment posted on LinkedIn recently by Jim Hunt.

years of blogging

Isn’t that awesome? It makes my heart soar. I just can’t believe how lucky I am to have an audience of people who appreciate my work.

That’s the fuel that keeps me going. When I create a blog post, a podcast episode, or a book, I have only one mantra in my head: “I will never let you down.”

5. Personal healing

In the first chapter of my book KNOWN, I wrote about the darkest time of my life. This was so difficult for me to reveal, but I did it to show the reader that when I started my personal branding journey, I was a mess. I was below zero. I wanted to encourage people — If I can do it, you can too.

In those dark days, the stress of my life was killing me. When I went to see a doctor, my blood pressure was so high she would not let me leave her office. She was afraid I was about to have a stroke or worse.

The doctor demanded that I monitor my blood pressure every hour of the day. And this is when I witnessed something miraculous. There was one hour every day when my blood pressure was normal. It was when I was blogging.

There is a zen about blogging that sends you to a different place of focus and peace, even when the world is terrible.

Even more importantly, when I started posting my ideas online, I received feedback from people who didn’t know what I was going through. It was so nice to connect with people who didn’t know of my suffering. I was so tired of being sad.

Perhaps it is too dramatic to say that blogging saved my life, but mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially, I am transformed from creating these words on a screen.

Thank you, friend

I will never forget the moment 15 years ago when I received the very first comment on this blog. It was a moment of awe. Somebody read my work and spent their precious time commenting on it.

I have never forgotten that feeling. I re-live that sense of awe every day when I get feedback on my work.

Whether you have followed me for 15 years or this is our first meeting, thank you for being here. I’m just getting started, and I will never let you down.

Need a keynote speaker? Mark Schaefer is the most trusted voice in marketing. Your conference guests will buzz about his insights long after your event! Mark is the author of some of the world’s bestselling marketing books, a college educator, and an advisor to many of the world’s largest brands. Contact Mark to have him bring a fun, meaningful, and memorable presentation to your company event or conference.

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Illustration courtesy MidJourney

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