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Overheard on #Blogchat: Mentors (@bobbyrettew)

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: Open Mic! (any topic goes)

Something that’s been extremely important to me in my blogging career is getting to know other bloggers. I’ve met some of the smartest people in the world through blogging and social media. So, this tweet during #blogchat really hit home for me, because it’s one of my favorite methods of education:

@bobbyrettew: The one thing that helps me with my blog is find a blogging mentor! One that challenges your writing and delivery!

Let me tell you story: When I first started blogging, I wrote a post that made me really proud. I posted it, the first entry on a shiny new blog, and then excitedly told everyone I knew to go read it. And they did. I guess. They said they did. But after an entire day, I didn’t have a single comment on the post. I thought I had done everything right. Where were my readers? My fans? My gobs of money?

After another day or two, I spoke up, asking one of the other people writing on the same blog network what I was doing wrong. He gave me some interesting advice: “You wrote something you love, and it was wonderful. But next time, try writing something for your readers.” I did, and I had more success. Education from a mentor like him was more valuable than any writing course I ever took or blogging book I’ve ever read.

Of course, I can tell you a million other stories of people giving me awesome advice to help me improve blogging. The point of this story is not that I got awesome advice, but my initial inability to see any problem at all with my own blog. Having mentors is awesome because they give you a brand new perspective.

It’s important to remember that mentors aren’t just experts or long-time bloggers in your niche. Those people can certainly make great mentors, but you can also learn a lot from even those who hae just recently started blogging – or even readers who don’t blog at all. That’s part of the reason I love #blogchat – even though I’ve been a blogger for several years now, I learn a lot from the new bloggers who come to the chat every week. Fresh perspectives are always good!

I think some of the “big bloggers” get that wrong sometime. They have a lot of valuable advice to give people, but when is the last time they asked a question or took something away from a conversation with a new blogger? Maybe that’s our fault, too – even if you’re new, don’t be afraid to speak up. You may not feel comfortable giving advice, but you can speak about your experiences, brainstorm new ideas, or talk about what you want as a reader.

In the blogging world, we should all have AND be mentors. My challenge to you is this: every time you have a conversation about blogging with other bloggers or social media experts, give one piece of advice and take away one piece of advice. In the end, it makes the entire community stronger!


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