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5 Lessons Steve Jobs Could Teach You About Creating a Popular Blog

Posted By Guest Blogger 24th of May 2012 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This guest post is by Greg Digneo of Sales Leads in 30 Days.

“What can I learn from the business life of Steve Jobs that will help me grow my blog?”

We’ve all asked ourselves the question. Because the public nature of blogging goes against his strict privacy policy, this isn’t an easy question to answer. But it’s one that I couldn’t get out of my head.

There has to be something to learn from a guy who revolutionized multiple industries and created two iconic companies. Look beyond his temperamental management style and the black turtlenecks, and analyze the way he built companies and gave presentations.  You will find several principles that you can apply to your own business.

Below are five lessons that Steve Jobs could teach us about creating popular a blog.

“Make a dent in the universe”—Steve Jobs

In Walter Isaacson’s book Steve Jobs, Pepsi CEO John Scully recounts Jobs’s pitch to come work for Apple.

Scully remarks: “Steve’s head dropped as he stared at his feet. After a weighty, uncomfortable pause, he issued a challenge that would haunt me for days. ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?’”

Apple products aren’t created to make money in an industry. They are created to redefine the way the industry does business. The Apple II gave birth to the PC industry. The iPod and iTunes combination remade the music industry. And the iPhone redefined the way a phone is made.

Likewise, the most popular blogs in the world create a “dent” in their niche.

Ask yourself this: if someone were to read every article you’ve written, how would their life improve one year from now?

Once you answer that question, you will create a higher sense of purpose, and stand out from the countless blogs in your niche.

For instance, one of my favorite blogs is Pam Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation. There are millions of entrepreneurship, marketing, and career blogs on the web, but Pam packages her expertise to create the higher purpose of “helping frustrated employees in corporate jobs break out and start their own businesses.”

So, go ahead and be bold. Find your blog’s purpose. And put a dent in the universe.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—Leonardo DaVinci

Apple products are famous for being simple and intuitive to use. As Steve Job’s said in Walter Isaacson’s book: “The way we’re running the company, the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: Let’s make it simple. Really simple.”

The iPhone has only one button on its face. The iPod has only a scroll wheel. You don’t need an instruction manual to operate either of these devices.

When Derek Halpern launched his blog Social Triggers, he took this advice to heart.  When you visit his blog, there are only two things you can do:

  1. Read his content.
  2. Enter your email address and sign up for his newsletter.

And the results speak for themselves. In a little over one year, Derek has taken Social Triggers from brand new to over 12,000 subscribers.

Yet so many blogs do just the opposite. They have navigation bars with too many options. The design of the blog is often cluttered, leaving the reader feeling lost and overwhelmed.

Do you want the reader to download your ebook? Connect with you on social media? Subscribe to your RSS? Make your blog more intuitive and pick the one thing you want your readers to do.

Be “amazingly zippy”

As Carmine Gallo says in his book Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: “Jobs is one of the few business leaders who could confidently call a product ‘amazingly zippy.’”

He used these types of words to communicate complex products and features to the masses. For instance, when describing the buttons on the screen of the iMac, he said they “look so good you’ll want to lick them.” (Fortune magazine 4 January 2000). He could have described them as having the perfect dimensions, the perfect color, and the perfect gloss, but he knew that his primary audience wouldn’t care.

As bloggers, we often communicate highly complex ideas, and our job is to speak in a language that our audiences can understand. It can be easy to get caught in the echo chamber and forget that most readers who visit your blog have very little knowledge of your niche.

Here’s a simple way to ensure that you create content the majority of your readers will understand. After every post you write, ask yourself this: “Will my mom get it?” If your mom can’t understand it, then there is a good chance that you will alienate large segments of your audience.

“Today, I want to tell you three stories from my life”—Steve Jobs

So began Jobs’s famous Stanford Commencement address.

Steve Jobs was a masterful story teller. Every keynote he gave was a triumph of good over evil. The audience had a problem and Apple was going to save the day.

Before he introduced the iPhone, Jobs explained why current smartphone products were so bad, and how Apple would come to the rescue. For instance, the keys were permanently fixed into the plastic case of the phone. But that wouldn’t happen to the iPhone. The iPhone’s keys were built directly into the software, allowing each application to have the perfect user interface.

By telling stories, Jobs allowed his audience to become a part of the presentation. Bloggers can use this same tactic.

You can use case studies and customers to show how they have succeeded by using your products and implementing your ideas. And there is a simple formula you can use to create an engaging case study:

  • First, you describe in vivid detail your customer’s life before buying the product.
  • Then you explain exactly how your customer implemented your product or idea.
  • Finally, you show how much better your customer’s life is after you’ve saved the day.

Stay hungry, stay foolish

In the 1960’s Jobs read the Whole Earth Catalog, which he described as the Google in paperback.  He said “It was idealistic and full of tools that you could use.”

On the back cover of the final issue from the mid 1970s, were the words “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” Jobs’ Stanford Commencement speech concluded with him urging the graduates to do the same.

Part of being a blogger is to have an insatiable curiosity. You scour the web and books for new theories, new ideas, and new innovations that pertain to your niche. Then you take these new concepts and apply them to what we already know.

And you know what? Sometimes it gets messy. Your mistakes are made in public for the entire world to see.

Those of us in the trenches know that we’re going to ruffle feathers. We know that there are times we’re going to be wrong. Often, we need to take one step back before we can move two steps forward. To build a popular blog, you must constantly indulge your curiosity and keep pushing forward.

And one more thing…

Finally, I want to recall one of the stories from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs.

Steve Jobs had an argument with one of his engineers about the boot up time for the Macintosh operating system. To quickly resolve the argument, he asked the engineer, “If it could save a person’s life, would you find a way to shave ten seconds off the boot time?” The engineer responded that he probably could, and wound up reducing the boot time of the operating system by 28 seconds.

Now I turn the question to you: “If it could save a person’s life, would you find a way to implement these lessons and improve your blog?” I’m serious.

Your marketing blog can save a business and a livelihood. Your personal finance blog can save a family from going under. Your fitness blog can save a life (literally).

So what are you waiting for? Get started. Right now.

Greg Digneo teaches businesses how to get more traffic and increase online sales in 30 days.  Click here to download his free ebook How to Generate 100 Sales Leads in 30 Days.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Great food for thought. Reading this makes me sad to think that Steve is no longer here. I love the idea of asking yourself how your readers lives will improve if they read your blog every day. I find the more clear I am on my purpose, the easier it is for me to write and come up with ideas.

  2. 12,000? We’re around 30,000 now :-D

    • You’ve gotta slow down, man. How are people going to reference you correctly when you’re growing your list like Apple grew it’s earnings under Steve Jobs? Congrats though. That’s honestly amazing for the time you did it in.

    • Sorry Derek, I guess it’s been a few weeks since I last saw/heard your stats! :)

  3. Just finished Issacson’s book. These are some great ways to apply the ideas. The world could do with a few more Steve Jobs in it.

  4. Wow. This was really good. Thanks. A lot of times the “this is what you can learn from Steve” messages are a little flat. I really enjoyed this one on the inspirational side as well as the tactical “this is how you implement it” side. Thanks.

  5. By actually writing this blog post Greg Digneo has already changed my life. I would further like to reminisce a little about the man Steve Jobs. I remember his Stanford speech and how it made me gaze just like the keen live audience members. He at one point used death to get the audience to seize the moment by asking them to only fear fear itself and imagine every day as their last. This is the greatest motivation to those who are still stuttering about starting their own blogs. Good job Problogger.

  6. Cesar Diaz says: 05/24/2012 at 3:30 am

    Great link bait headline. A number and Steve Jobs all in one headline. Good work on that. The content, stale and repeated.

  7. Steve Jobs was the most important person of the world who gave us the opportunity to have a smartphones in out hand. He could not only teach us about Blogging but many other things.

  8. Great article. I especially liked “make a dent in the world.” It pays to think big. Why are we doing what we do unless it’s to change the world in some way or another.

  9. When I receive emails from my personal finance blog thanking me for making a difference in their lives, that means more than any successful monetization strategy.

    Derek has a lot of great advice, and I completely redesigned my site after reading it. (Give the reader fewer options. No, your site doesn’t need a search bar.) Three sharing options: Twitter, Facebook, G+ – that’s it for me.

    • John,

      Derek has taught me almost everything I know about blogging. But let’s just keep that between us! Shhhh! ;)

      I agree, being thanked for your hard work is extremely rewarding!


  10. inspiring post greg. keep it super simple and make lives better – I think you hit it. I can’t add much more.

  11. Thanks, great post! I write about fashion. In the words of Bruno, “Fashion saves a lot more lives than doctors.” LOL

  12. Certainly Steve Jobs was a great person to follow and I think if you keep it simple that’s great but on some pointing of time you need inspiration from great personalities to grow yourself.

    Thanks for sharing awesome person tips!

  13. Margaux Parker says: 05/25/2012 at 8:48 am

    Wonderful post! I like you leveraging with the wisdom of Steve Jobs, simply genius! I am a blogger for Social Gratitude (www.socialgratitude.com) and I learned so much from this. And yes I look up to Steve Jobs :)

  14. Great. I want my blog to save writers. And you’ve given me an idea for my next post. “Writing Flash Fiction: Keep It Simple”.

  15. Great book… great post! After working for Apple for years, I can honestly tell you that there’s no other company like it on the planet. Steve put together an amazing team, but it wouldn’t have been possible without him.

  16. Greg, Good information here. Especially the last bit. One thing I have been doing related to this is going through the pages that are returning 404 errors and either reworking or re-directing them to improve reader experience. Though I really enjoy web stuff, it sure is lots of work but then if you enjoy it so much, is it really work?

  17. Bobby says: 05/28/2012 at 7:05 am

    Do you want to make easy money right from your home? I did and now I’m making a lot of money by not even leaving my house! It’s totally free and you WILL get a paycheck every month! Sign up today to learn more about it. :) http://www.cashcrate.com/3604233

  18. Well, when you put it (particularly, the section on Steve Jobs’ argument with his engineer about the boot up time) like that, it’s hard for bloggers to not want to implement these lessons….and on top of that, you have me thinking of that song by The Fray, and I don’t even listen to that band very often, lol.

  19. Good stuff. Enjoyed reading it and will try to apply some of this to my next blog post. Hopefully it will unleash the writers block. Thanx

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