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My Rules for Publishing (2017 Edition)

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

Back in 2015, I wrote a post called My Rules for Publishing, which was got pretty popular (in the circles I hang out in at least). I figured it was time for an update. My updates are in red.

  1. The blog is the most perfect publishing format ever made for reaching the greatest number of people. The blog is the hub. It's the house where you put your ideas. It may be shared (or re-packaged) in many places, but the blog is home. The best way to come up with great ideas is to come up with a lot of ideas. The blog is the testing ground for ideas.
  2. It’s never too late to start a high quality blog. There’s very few of them.
  3. Email is even better than blogging for attracting keeping high quality readers and keeping them.
  4. The best email publications have a product or service attached with a point of view that gives them direction.
  5. The death of Google Reader made email a must for any blogger.
  6. Blogging helps determine what to create when you’re not blogging.
  7. Publishing is less about money now and more about creating connection that will help you determine your next gig or idea.
  8. The number of readers is never as important as the quality of readers.
  9. Smart advertisers know about the importance of quality readers. In lieu of smart advertisers, be your own advertiser.
  10. Being your own advertiser is always preferable.
  11. Books are about clarifying your message. They are not about money or reaching new readers.
  12. Write what you know. Better yet, write what you know and explain how you know it. The point of view creates the story.
  13. More posts are better than less. A mix of post types and lengths keep the readers’ interest. Not everyone reads the same, but in general my readers prefer short posts. For personal sites, there are no rules about post length or type, because there are no rules at all. For professional/commerce sites, long posts with original content tend to resonate more and get shared more.
  14. Get to the point.
  15. There’s nothing wrong with link blogging. In fact, if you’re being honest, every blog post is a linked post at heart. People respond to honesty.
  16. Keep adding to this list.
  17. Most online courses are poorly edited books for at least ten times the price. A few are helpful enough to warrant the investment. Create one of those few courses, but only if your audience responds to that kind of learning better than books.
  18. Own the experience. Never use products or services that take away your control of your audience's experience.
  19. Physical products are a great, long-term way to get a message across due to their scarcity when compared to digital products. But they are unforgiving and financially risky in the short term.
  20. Always start small.
  21. Let your audience determine your products and services. Listen.
  22. Video is where audiences will be made/found at large scale for the near future. But it always starts with words. A blog post becomes a podcast becomes a video. Figure out what your audience prefers. Figure out what you prefer. Do them all if you want.
  23. "Different is better than better." - Sally Hogshead. This is how the smallest creator defeats the largest corporations at their own game.
  24. More good can come from one dedicated reader/listener/viewer than 100,000 skimmers. Don't hold back. Don't censor yourself to please the masses.
  25. Don't even start thinking about project management until you've got a handle on time management. It's how anything gets done.
  26. "Document. Don't Create." - Gary Vaynerchuk. Creating content out of thin air is what gets you in trouble. Your blog posts, podcasts and video are best when they're a byproduct of your creations.
  27. Connect. There's nothing more important in publishing than connecting with people. It will improve your career, your health...your life. This is the best investment you'll ever make.