A long-time West Point legend has it that, if a cadet is failing a class, what he should do is dress in full uniform, and, at the stroke of midnight before the final exam, spin the spurs of the General’s boots for luck.
The General in question is Civil War leader “Uncle John” Sedgwick, class of 1837. There’s a certain amount of risk involved for cadets resorting to this last-ditch attempt to pass: while spinning spurs isn’t against the rules, being out after midnight is. (For the sake of the ritual, authorities apparently look the other way.)
I suppose, to one degree or another, we’re all creatures of tradition, but I have serious doubts concerning the efficacy of spur-spinning for improving final exam grades. Author Daniel Pink apparently agrees: at the freshman convocation for Butler University’s College of Business, Pink chose “Show up!” as his most important success tip for students.
Pink made clear he wasn’t referring to showing up at the stroke of midnight, but to students’ consistently showing up for classes or job duties and doing the work.
The same advice, seems to me, applies to business blogging. As a professional ghost blogger and blogging trainer, I know there is more than one element leading to success in blog marketing:
- Marketing expertise: This includes identifying a niche for your business and pinpointing target buyers.
- Technical expertise: This includes optimizing your website and blogsite, and continually analyzing results.
- Writing expertise: This includes composing blog copy that’s fast-moving, engaging, and personalized – to both your own style and to your target online readers.
Trumping all of these, though, is what I dub “drill sergeant discipline”, which involves the simple but very difficult exercise of “showing up” online. Full dress uniform is not required, but showing up consistently every couple of days with content to feed into the blogosphere is.
Whether it’s passing your final exam at West Point or winning search, the simple secret to success can be told in two words: SHOW UP!