Getting Good - From Beginner to Expert

By: Kelly Smith; Photo by: b.a.d photography for Alt Summit

It's not about being the best; it's about getting good. - Keenan Cummings

A good friend of mine loves to sample and critique Chinese cuisine. He clearly sees himself as an expert in the subject and enjoys sharing his knowledge. I never knew the difference, and was more focused on his excitement than anything else. (Stick with me, I have a point.) One day we happened upon a Mexican restaurant which was a novelty because we were in Australia at the time. We went in, and all of a sudden our roles reversed. I was the expert and he was curious about what I thought. It was horrible, the worst Mexican food I had had in years. In my disappointment, I proclaimed that since the owners were clearly authentic - the food should be good. My friend looked me straight in the eyes and said, "just because I am Chinese does not mean I can cook it well."

Just because we read a lot of blogs, digest the content, and critique this and that does not mean that we ourselves can create a blog and expect that it be tasty right off the bat. Authenticity is a great start, but content, styling, voice, and consistency also play important roles. And the truth is, those things take a lot of practice.

Ask any big name blogger to sit down and read their first few posts and chances are they will cringe with embarrassment and pick apart all the rookie missteps. And that is okay. It is okay not to be the best, as long as you are getting good in the process.

Five Tips to Help Your Brand Get Good

Here are five tips to help your brand get good:

  1. Create a business plan or action plan or whatever you want to call it. Basically, just decide what you want and write it down. Make sure to be specific but flexible. It might sound great in your head to say, "I want to become famous and make lots of money blogging", but realistically your goals should sound more like, "I want to develop a well known style, gain an active following, and work towards a book deal."
  2. Identify what you are good at and do it well.
  3. Recognize what skills need improving and either hire them out or take classes to improve yourself.
  4. Find your tribe. That means creating genuine, meaningful relationships with other bloggers.
  5. Allow yourself the grace to make mistakes and improve over time.
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Eden Hensley

Marketing creative, community engagement specialist, technophile, photographer, food and wine enthusiast, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Road to The Good Life, a lifestyle blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants." There you will find personal stories about my life and family weaved in with real-life, achievable entertaining tips, recipes for hearty home cooked meals, and DIY projects for capturing and sharing memories. I believe the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal, preferably a Thai-meal served family style, and teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors and host the Family Dinners at The Station supper club in San Francisco.