Blogging Advice from Dad

12 Things Your Dad (Should Have) Taught You

Father and childFathers play a big role in our lives, especially when we’re young and they seem larger than life.

On Father’s Day we take time to honor our dads who have instilled in us life lessons, many of which apply to blogging.

Here are twelve blogging lessons I learned from my father.

  1. Have a plan. While life has a way of throwing its curve balls, you need to know where you’re going. If you don’t have an idea of what you want to accomplish, it’s difficult to do. To this end, you need set objectives for your blog.
  2. Manage your priorities. As every kid knows, you can’t always do what you want. You can’t play soccer, go to piano lessons and have a play date at the same time. You need to know what’s most important to you. Of course, as every dad will tell you, don’t forget your homework. As a blogger, juggling your priorities is even more difficult since there’s a lot to get done.
  3. Know the value of a buck. As an accountant by training, my dad drilled into us that we had to keep our eye on the bottom line, specifically understand where our money came from and where it went. For most bloggers this translates to managing your costs since it can take time for your blog to generate revenue.
  4. Always tell the truth. You are only as good as your word in my father’s view. As a blogger in today’s social media ecosystem, it’s critical to be open and transparent. If you’re not, a member of your audience will call you out for your misrepresentation.
  5. Play nice. Whether we were on the playground or at a family event, my dad encouraged my siblings and me to get along with other people. As a blogger this means pay it forward and help others without expecting something in return. Also, don’t be a social media troll.
  6. Don’t forget where you came from. During college, I called my dad because I was going home with a friend who had a very different background. My dad’s advice was “Be yourself.” Since then, I’ve learned that each of us has her own personal and family history and stories. Play to your strengths as a blogger and don’t try to be someone else.
  7. Work hard. Whether it was schoolwork or other activity, my father believed in the importance of hard work. In my family, grades were milestones. If one of us got a bad grade, we talked about how we could do better. This has important implications for blogging that isn’t just about creating content. You need to track how your blog is performing. (Here’s a list of sixty-five blog metrics to help you.)
  8. Act like a grown up in public. My father was a big believer in respecting others. As a blogger, this translates to understanding the power of your blog. Don’t get involved in petty squabbles.
  9. Remember it’s not just about you. My father believed that you learn a lot more by listening than you do by talking. As a blogger, this is particularly important. You need to pay attention to the issues that your readers find interesting. Listen to the conversation, especially on your blog. Bear in mind that it’s not a one-way promotional channel.
  10. Take lots of photographs. As an amateur photographer, my dad had a darkroom in an unfinished part of our basement. He believed that the cost of the film (in the pre-digital image days) was small compared to the memories. My dad knew that the key to great images was taking a lot of shots and choosing the best one or two. Taking photographs is useful for bloggers in two ways: It trains your eye to frame stories and it provides unique images for your posts.
  11. Learn from your mistakes. Face it you’re going to make errors at some point. Take a lesson from dad, learn what to do better the next time. Accept that you’re going to make mistakes as a blogger. Be willing to admit when you’ve been wrong and to learn from them. 
  12. Watch your language. My father is a big believer is the power of strong communications skills. He’d grill us for hours in preparation for the SATs. For bloggers, this means editing your content to eliminate any flabby words. Skip the ten-dollar words and use a vocabulary that your audience understands.

When it comes to blogging, father knows best. Think about how you can use the lessons your dad taught you to improve your blog and help achieve your personal goals.

What did you learn from your father that has helped your blogging efforts?

Happy Father’s Day,

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Hat tip: This post is dedicated to my dad who to my surprise continues to teach me new things every day.

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