Becoming a Top 10 Blogger

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
January 15, 2008

Climbing to the Top 10 Percent in Your Field

Are you in the Top 10 percent in your industry? Is your company a top ten company or is it further down in the list? Are you one of the best in your line of work? When people you work with are looking for answers to their problems, do they search for you? If they find you, do you help them with their problem or do you send them off to find someone else?

In most cases the top 10 percent are well rewarded for their abilities. It is certainly true in sports. But, how do you become a member of that 10 percent group? What is it they have that you lack? Do they know more? Do they work harder? Are they more determined? Do they have goals or a better education? What is it?

Here are my thoughts on the Top 10 percent. In many cases they do know more. They are more likely to study books in their field of interest. If they are in finance they are probably reading the Wall Street Journal and other financial books. They are studying the companies they want to buy. They are asking questions of people that will know the answers, not just their companions.

You Have to Know More

I am a computer programmer by trade. There is always something new to learn in this industry. Every three years Microsoft comes out with a new IDE for Visual Studio. They just released Visual Studio 2008. The leaders in the field have picked up their copy and are beginning to analyze the changes, upgrades and new FCL. They are testing with little programs to know how each new artifact works.

Other programmers are reading trade articles on programming techniques, architecture and best practices. To be a top programmer you must continually be improving your skillset. If you don't you won't be a member of the top 10 percent. You have to continually take classes and get certified in new technologies and software.

But, every field is like that. You might tell me that you don't remember details as well as those other people. You have to work harder at capturing the data. Then do it. My wife and I are completely different. I can read a book fairly rapidly. Then for about a week or two I will be fairly conversant on the topics in the book. But, then by the end of the month, my memory of the subject matter begins to lag.

Now my wife, Mary, she takes a while to absorb the information. She has to ask questions. She mulls about it for little bit. She trys it out in different ways. She will have to read chapters 3 times to really understand the material. When she finally masters the book, then she seems to never forget it. The first two weeks I am her resource. Then for the next 5 years she is my resource.

It doesn't matter what your specialty is. You need more information than the next person on the totem pole. You have to take the time to learn more. When you may ask? I don't have time. Then make time. Tomorrow, wake up an hour early and start reading. Don't put it off until you have more time. You will never have time. There is always something requiring your attention. There are the bills to be paid. There is dust on the coffee tables.

Imagine what you would know if you were to spend an hour a day studying in your field. Would you know more? Do you think you would make better decisions? Would it take you less time to solve problems? Yes, Yes and Yes. It is easy. You Can do it.

Become More Determined

When you are reaching for your goals and trying to be a top ten achiever do you ever give up? Do you try for a little while and then get distracted by another shiny bling or the cool idea of the month? How can you become more determined?

You become more determined by having goals. When you wake up every morning and see your goal for the month staring at you, then you are less distracted. You want to pick up the newspaper and hide behind today's gossip. You see that nagging goal hanging next to your computer is tugging on your shirt sleeve. Hey let's get to work. You don't have time for that today. Or at least wait until you finish writing your blog. Do you want more traffic? Is traffic to your website going to come racing from the sports pages?

It is much easier to stay focused when you have something you are reaching for in your life. I always exercise more when I have a race coming up in the near future or I have a desire to lose weight for a vacation trip or cruise. The same thing with business goals. That goal will focus your attention on doing the needed tasks at hand.

How many times a week are the top bloggers writing? Daily? Then you need to write daily. Are there articles crappy or full of researched goodness? They are well researched and full of relevant information. That is what your articles need. If you want to win the race you have to run with the big boys.

Become Excellent

The next important trait of the top ten percent is the trait of excellence. They pay attention to the details. They test before the page is submitted to the blog. They review their copy and check their grammar. They review the content to make sure the article makes sense. Have you ever typed for an hour with your best work flowing from your brain into the computer effortlessly? Then taken a break. When the break is over you read your article and say "YUCK". None of this even makes sense.

Many people can type into their computer the perfect words. I think the author Issac Asimov could finish a short story that was in perfect saleable condition over night. But, the rest of us need to write. Rest. Then re-read and then re-write. It does not flow perfectly onto our virtual page. And that's okay. You don't have to be perfect on the first draft.

You do however have to proof your work and go back and rework sentences, comments, grammar and even the words you use. Get a book known as a Flip Dictionary. It will allow you to use words in new ways and to get your meaning across with less words. Check your spelling, and check the details of your articles. Do the links even work?

Make Time to Recharge Your Batteries

You have to stay fresh. You can't spend that much time on details and not be worn out. Once a week take a break. If you can't break for the whole day, try for 3 hours. Sometimes a quiet hour by yourself or with a loved one is enough to get you through another week of excellence.

There you have it. Your 4 keys to take you to the top of your industry. How many of you will say, "that was a nice article?" Instead I encourage you to shake the old ways off your body and take action. I made a comment on a previous article in response to what someone else said.

Imagine there is a room full of treasure. The door is locked. If I hand you the key then you can unlock the door and capture the treasure for yourself. But, if you just stand there with the key in your pocket. Or, you have the key but you have to read the newspaper. Or, you place the key in the desk drawer because you don't won't to lose the key. None of those things will help you grab the treasure for yourself. Only action can win you the goal.

I encourage you to take action. Become a part of the top ten percent. The rewards are outstanding.

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