One of the big mistakes novice bloggers make is that they think they need to make a big splash at the outset. This often involves making some sort of bold call on the markets or taking on some already established figure. However the best bloggers take an altogether different tack. They focus on the long run and simply try and provide information and insight.
This point was driven home by a couple of posts. The first by Seth Godin was brought to our attention by Josh Brown. Godin talks about the difference between short term and long term capitalism. Noting how easy it is these days to focus on the short term. Godin writes:
One of the worst things you can call a business person, I think, is a short-term capitalist. He selfishly takes for now and fails to contribute in return.
Change the word capitalist for blogger and I think it speaks well to how the best bloggers approach their craft. Likewise Barry Ritholtz pitched today’s David Brooks article about “the question-driven life.” In conclusion Brooks writes:
The late Richard Holbrooke used to give the essential piece of advice for a question-driven life: Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.
The above description pretty much describes what good bloggers do. They know something, minimize self-promotion and offer it around to the rest of the world. The beauty of the blogosphere is that you can do this in any number of different ways. Grizzled veterans can accomplish this by providing some historical perspective. Novice bloggers can do this by characterizing their own learning process in real-time.
The point is that blogging, like investing and business in general, should be a long term endeavor in which the blogger puts out useful information in the hope that it comes back many times over. It usually does.