The old saying “Practice makes perfect” was never the same once coach Vince Lombardi had pointed out that, no, it’s only perfect practice that can help players achieve perfection.
Psychology professor K. Anders Ericsson, who has spent twenty-five years analyzing high-flying professionals, draws a somewhat different conclusion. Elite performers in any field, he says, engage in deliberate practice, an effortful activity designed to improve performance.
For example, Ericsson says, most medical diagnosticians see a patient once or twice and then move on, repeating this process thousands of times over many years. The most successful diagnosticians, by contrast, spend time following up on their patients to compare what the physician was thinking at the time of diagnosis with the actual patient outcome. “Just because you’ve been walking for 55 years doesn’t mean you’re getting better at it,” observes Ericsson.
While practice may need to be perfect to win football games or deliberate to excel in medical diagnostics, plain old practice can play a very important role in business blogging. Momentum in the online rankings race comes from frequency of posting blogs and from building up longevity by consistently posting content on the Web over long periods of time.
In Quamat’s The Go To How To Blogging Guide, the authors note that many start out blogging with the best of intentions, but then find themselves unable to keep up the discipline. Tennis coach Spencer Fields might have been talking about business bloggers instead of college tennis stars when he summed up the problem: “Often they start out strong, but fizzle toward the end.”
Playing a game where the rules are constantly changing poses special challenges – the answer to the question “What do search engines want?” might be different next week than it was yesterday. On one thing, though, most mavens appear in agreement: One secret to winning search is consistent posting of relevant content on the Web.
Given the multiple demands on most business owners’ time, the level of “deliberate practice” it takes to win online search rankings might fall, in many cases, to professional ghost bloggers like Say It For You!