Stephen Covey: A Blog-Related Tribute
World-renowned businessman, professor and motivational speaker, Dr. Stephen R. Covey died on July 16, 2012. At the core of Dr. Covey’s teachings is his self-help, business text, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Considered one of the top twenty-five most influential business books of the twentieth century, it’s sold over 25 million copies.
In honoring Dr. Covey’s life, let’s examine his core seven principles and how they can be applied to the art of blogging to make you a more effective blogger.
Here are the main principles Dr. Covey outlined in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, plus Actionable Blogging tips on how to apply them effectively to ensure that you maximize the impact of your blog, regardless of whether it’s brand new or has been going for a long time.
- Habit 1: Be Proactive. Dr. Covey believed that people had the potential to change. In other words, you must choose to be responsible for your actions and the course of your life. You are in charge of your own life. Focus your energies on the positive in terms of what you do and say to make a difference.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Determine why you’re creating a blog. It’s not a place to log your thoughts whenever the spirit moves you. A blog implies a responsibility to your readers and the community that grows around it. Like other forms of social media, a blog isn’t about you but rather it’s about the greater community.
- Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind. Decide what you want to do with your life and what you want to achieve. Dr. Covey taught me the need to envision where you’re going. Create an action plan based on your personal targets.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Blogs like other forms of marketing need a set of goals aligned with your business or personal objectives. Further, from these goals flow the specific metrics to track your blog’s success.
- Habit 3: Put first things first. Determine your priorities to help you reach your goals. These flow from your choice of what you want to achieve. Dr. Covey taught the need to manage your time based on what’s important to you personally.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Like your life, your blog requires setting priorities to ensure that it stays on track to succeed at achieving your objectives. To this end, planning is needed in the form of an integrated blog marketing strategy. (Don’t overlook the SEO power of a blog either!)
- Habit 4: Think win-win. Take a collaborative approach to any situation. For Dr. Covey, there were three critical elements involved: integrity being true to your values, maturity to take into consideration the feelings of others and abundance to allow everyone to have enough.
Actionable Blogging Tip: At the heart of blogging is the sense of sharing your best advice to the greater public to help others based on your knowledge in a targeted area. The core idea of blogging and, on a larger platform, social media is to offer your knowledge to a broader audience. To this end, it’s useful to build a blog audience that looks forward to each new post. This also means that you shouldn’t use your blog to shill. However, if you do need to promote products, here’s what you need to know to sell on social media platforms.)
- Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Start by taking the time to truly listen to others before jumping in to get your point across. Consider what the individual is trying to say, not how your experience relates to the incident at hand. Hear what the person is saying to be respectful and caring.
Actionable Blogging Tip: At their heart, many blogs are started to communicate an individual’s perspective on an important issue to him or her. Yet, as its readership increases, the blog’s “ownership” is transferred to its community. This requires bloggers to listen more carefully to the issues upon which their readers are focused and to contribute useful content on those topics. This is best accomplished through the use of blog comments.
- Habit 6: Synergize. Effective teamwork yields better results through collaboration. In other words, the collaborative whole is greater than the sum of the individual efforts.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Where possible and appropriate, build a blog team to help support the blog and its growth. Often a strong, content oriented blog requires more effort than one person can supply. Think in terms of content creation, creative, copyediting, related social media and technology (Here’s a detailed outline for building a content creation team). Determine how you can support your team.
- Habit 7: Sharpen the saw. Create a strong balance between your work and lifestyle since you are the most important possession you have. Think in terms of sustainable, long-term, effectiveness.
Actionable Blogging Tip: To improve your blog, get out from behind your computer screen. Go out and be in the real world. Engage with others and see what’s happening in the world. Let these inputs inform your writing.
Dr. Covey’s seven habits outlined the underpinnings of blogging and more broadly social media before their existence. If we as bloggers practice these habits, we have the potential through the power of our blogs to extend ourselves and achieve things that are bigger than any one blogger individually.
What other habits do you think bloggers need to cultivate to take their blog to the next level? What is the rationale for your recommendation and why?
Our sincere wishes go out to Dr. Covey’s family and friends at this sad time. We’re all a little better able to live the life we choose thanks to Dr. Covey.
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Here are some related blogging articles to help you improve your blog.
- 3 Secrets to Being an A-List Blogger
- 21 Blog Tactics Every Blog Needs
- Why your blog is guaranteed to fail.
Photo credit: https://www.stephencovey.com/