There's something inspiring about taking the pencil (must be pencil, preferably a soft lead) to paper. I find a sense of freedom in drafting on an open page in a spiral bound notebook (I don't like using the backs, but I keep all the notebooks, so I save paper, right?)
Anyway, I like writing the old fashion way. Depending on the project, typing it up on the computer seems like too much of a commitment to that first write up, and that can lead to writer's block
. On paper, it's easier to go with the flow; skip around if the conclusion comes to me before the beginning, or if I think of a new point I'd like to squish in there.
The notebook is also more flexible than the laptop (ironic, I know). I can compose a blog post or get started on some web copy as I play a game of poker
. Poker is another long story, reserved for a later post or newsletter. The main point is that I don't play every hand, so I have more time to write than you would think. The notebook also frees up the computer for research, or keyword ideas. My laptop is an ancient being. The less it does at one time the better.
The best part about dealing with notebooks is that I have about 10 of them, from two different countries, in my possession. it's nice to give them a new purpose in life.
Poker and business blogging may seem like an odd pairing, so odd that what could a card game possibly teach content marketers and business bloggers about creating remarkable content and developing thought leadership? A whole lot actually, but here are just four of the biggest lessons that business bloggers and content marketers can take away from the game of poker:
- Poker, like business blogging, takes many forms - When people think of poker, they typically think of Texas Hold 'Em, which is just one rendition of poker. There's also Omaha, seven-card stud, deuce to seven triple draw, five-card draw etc. There's also limit and no limit versions of Omaha and Texas Hold 'Em, and high/low versions of Omaha and Stud. And that's just to name a few. A good poker player is able to do well playing many different varieties of the poker games, not just one. Business blogging is very much the same way. There's no one way to do it, but skills transfer across the different styles, and being good at business blogging means being good across the different versions, not just one. Sure, you may be solid at writing and generating buzz for your how-to articles, but how are your research-driven or your opinion pieces? They are vital to any business blogging strategy, just as performing well in Omaha and five card draw are also important to being a good poker player.
- Limping is a Bad Way to Go About It - Limping is simply calling the big blind pre-flop, or betting the absolute minimum to stay in the hand. Although it could be a good move to control the size of the pot, or to make a play later on the in hand, limping is typically considered a weak move. In business blogging, you have to be willing to take chances, to go the extra mile, to show strength, and to make decisions regarding the story you're going to tell. In business blogging, the equivalent of limping is churning out posts and articles without thought, hoping to get lucky with hits and shares. It's the bare minimum, it's without strategy and direction, and won't earn you a profit in the long run.
- Knowing What Others Have, and What Their Doing, is Incredibly Important - In poker, you have to go beyond you're own two cards (or four, or five, or whatever the case may be). You also need to consider what you're opponents could have, what they're betting, and why they could be betting the way that they are. Same goes for business blogging. You need to pay attention to what your competitors and other industry blogs are doing and writing about. By understanding this, you can boost your own blog by responding to their posts, covering topics that they aren't, or positioning your blog in a way that makes it stand out from the others. In a way, your "outblogging" them, much like the need to outplay your opponents in poker from time to time in order to win.
- Switching Up Your Game From Time to Time Can Make a Difference - When playing poker, you sometimes have to change the moves your making, especially when your opponents are catching on to what you're doing. In business blogging, you have to make changes as well. If a competitor suddenly stops blogging, then that's a good time to be a bit more aggressive and to ramp up your content marketing efforts. If a competitor has started blogging and is taking the practice seriously, then you have to do something different with your blogging, whether that's being more careful with the topics you write about, or conducting other content marketing efforts in order to keep a competitive advantage. Business blogging can be proactive as well as reactive.
Both business blogging and poker are very dynamic. They are never the same day in and day out, and they are very dependent on who's involved and what they are doing. Business blogging is much more than writing posts, just like poker is much more than playing cards. They're both about people, and engaging them in the ways that we want them to be engaged, and in the ways that they want to be engaged.