SOBCon08 Notes Chris Garrett: More Bang from Your Blog

chrisgarrettSpeaker: Chris Garrett

Chris recently co-authored “ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income” with Darren Rowse of All SOBCon08 attendees got a copy. Thanks to Chris, you can follow the SOBCon08 twitter crowd on

About the SOBCon08 notes series . . .

On May 2-4, Liz Strauss hosted SOBCon08: Biz School for Bloggers in Chicago. During the sessions, I typed notes to share with you. To presenters and attendees: please feel free to clarify and comment. I will share notes from each session along with how I’m using the knowledge to improve my reader/customer experience.

Better Blogger Workflow

Learn => create => communicate => promote => full circle, back to learn

Consider promotion as being a discreet thing you do have to think about. Learning is a loop, if you look at it properly, you’ve got to learn from what you do. You have to read every single comment. Even if they say, “you suck” it’s feedback. You’ve got to listen to the feedback, you either listen to it or you don’t.

You have two ears and one month [his grandma’s saying], have to remember to work in that ratio.

Brainstorm Content Ideas

Ideas are the biggest part of being a blogger. Even if you’re referencing what someone else says, put your experience on it. Don’t get in the way, add something. He finds a million ideas just talking to people and writes them down in his moleskin.

Take time out to generate content ideas and write about the topic of today’s post in today’s time. You can repeat ideas over and over again. He repeats ideas all the time-don’t be afraid to repeat as long you add something fresh.

You put some stuff out, but it doesn’t have to be all about you. You’re better off relaxing thinking you did your best. Only censor yourself in terms of would I want my mother to see this? Not everything has to lengthy. It doesn’t have to be huge, just do your best and put real thoughts out there. Questions can be really powerful posts. A really good question is sometimes better than a really in-depth post.

Mind Maps

Idea: put all of your thoughts out of your head onto paper. Start pulling on the threads.

1. Start with your main topic: fruit

2. Think of related ideas: berries, trees, tasty, allergies

3. Extend those ideas: clusters tasty=sorbet, salad, smoothies

You might find you have an ebook, a course or a video series.

Example mind map – uses Mind Manager

Business Processes

Source Bits => Put Bits Together => Deliver Stuff => Happy Customer

Example: Brewery distills twice, good for the environment – what makes it different?

If you actually take care of your customers, tell people and really bang that drum. If you have a story that’s a positive reflection on you, tell it. Used car salesman might say: these are the tricks of the trade. How you do something and the way you tell it, can be a story.

Editorial Calendar

Good way to plan it out. If you blog on multiple blogs or you blog for other people, then you need to know when as well as what. Do I need to promote it? Come up with the idea, put it together and work out what happened and what to do next. Helps you keep clear on whose job is what. He chooses the days he gets the most impact from Analytics: Tuesday and Friday are best for the business audience.

Example: Bill on Tuesday, middle Wednesday – poll, Jane on Thursday, link bait every other Friday

Invent Ideas and write them down wherever you are.

Break out your creativity with puzzles, crayons to get out of your head and get more creative. We freeze up and the creativity dries up.

Blogger Efficiency

Try to have 4-5 posts that are complete that are not published. They don’t have to be long or world-changing, should be evergreen. If you work alone, find someone you can collaborate with in case you get sick or too busy. It helps to have a friendly person to turn to.

It’s more efficient to think about what we do: write, update. Good to know before hand who’s on your team and what to do before the blog breaks. Efficiency is about the stuff that you know will need to be done in case your blog breaks. Hire a professional editor to clean up what you write. Think about what you do and don’t do well.

5 Minute Blog Post

Starts with the end point – what do I want them to take away? What’s the rationale? How can I introduce it? A post about . . . works for him, not “10 great ways to . . . ”


Who for? What? So-What? Focus on so-what, people need to take what you’re saying and get a benefit.

Punchy Blog Posts

Make it attractive and skimable. Say what you mean, don’t beat around the bush. Don’t be perfect. If it’s perfect, you’re deluding yourself and you’re not leaving any room for comments.

Blog Content Continuum

Table [didn’t get all details]


Taming the Feed Beast

Chris prioritizes his feeds into three groups:

Crucial – clients


Non-essential and just for fun – puts Seth Godin in here, doesn’t need to read him everyday. Chris auditions feeds to see if they’re worth reading.

Easier Blog Content

Rubber-ducking – tell the duck about the post and ask what he thinks. [Funny how I came back home and was sad and a bit surprised to see that our rubber duck was no longer by the tub. He moved when we renovated our bathroom and our kids switched to showers.] Draft an email to a friend and not send it – you’ve gone from your head to your screen. Could dictate, video, draw – get the point across.


Time as well as niche- use two hours for writing.

What kind of blogger are you?

Who are you? Rock star, funny, superhero, Homer – you just do your best, that’s all you have to do. People want to read you.

Ready. Fire, Aim. Reload.

Nobody is perfect, but we can always improve.

Blogging Tools


Skitch – mac screen capture


Blog Bridge – feed manager

“Simplicity is the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means.” Dr. Koichi Kawana


Reflections and Implementation

This is the fifth post in the series. For the first time, I pulled out my binder to look up notes. Chris, like most of the speakers, gave us some excellent exercises and resources.

I’ll have to take a day away to go through and complete them. To me, you get more bang from your conference experience when you implement what you learned. It’s great to meet people and make new connections and even better if you work on learning and upgrading your businesses together. What stands out for you in Chris’ presentation?

I used Chris’ rubber-ducking approach on Sunday when two friends asked me why I went to SOBCon. I’ve known these people for several years. They know me as “[choose one or all three names]’s mom.”

They don’t get marketing and public relations. Why should they? She’s a credit card manager and he’s a psychology professor. Putting what I do into every day language was a test I hadn’t taken in too long. Explaining ideas in a way that people get them is a challenge and one you need to take if you want other people to tell your story for you.

Today Chris has a post on how bloggers can sell services. It’s about writing white papers to get business. I know this approach works to generate leads and position you as a subject matter expert.

I love the quote Chris used to close his presentation: “Simplicity is the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means.” Dr. Koichi Kawana

How can you simplify what you do to get the maximum effect with minimum effort?

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