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One of my favorite shows growing up was the Wonder Years. Young Kevin Arnold and his gang of Paul and Winnie never failed to provide both entertainment and enduring life lessons as they navigated the perilous world of school, adolescence and growing up in the sixties. Kevin’s crusty dad, doting mom, butthead brother, and hippie sister always managed to somehow provide him with a valuable nugget of wisdom by the end of each episode.
Perhaps my favorite part of the show, ironically, wasn’t even the show or the characters at all.
It was the intro song. Joe Cocker’s soulful rendition of the Beatles original always touched me and left me feeling a little sentimental, even at age 12, about the good old days (life was so much easier when I was…8).
The title of the theme song perfectly captures what I want Band of Bloggers to be when it kicks off this Thursday.
In a sentence, a feature that…”with a little help from my friends”, can encourage and equip us all to grow in our success as bloggers, writers, influencers and most importantly, as people.
Access and Allies
We’re fortunate to live in this day and age. I know people pine for yesteryear and the good ol’ days. A time when things were simpler, houses cheaper, and good jobs were easy to find. But I’ve got to tell you, I think today is pretty stinkin’ awesome.
Not only do we have access to an incredible amount of information that allows us to become experts in pretty much anything we want, if we’re willing to put in the time and effort, we also have INSANE access to people!
As I was writing this, I tweeted two GIANTS in the blogging world, Tim Ferriss, and Ramit Sethi. I didn’t need to get their addresses, or even track down their emails. I just reached out and sent them a message (now whether they get back to me is a different story, but you’d be surprised who responds when you take a chance and make the first move).
This type of accessibility allows us to gain not only knowledge, but more importantly, wisdom. And it’s this wisdom, which I believe is simply knowledge applied, that has the power to change people’s lives.
Band of Bloggers: Hopes and Dreams
It’s my hope that Band of Bloggers will accomplish three things:
1. Access to Wisdom
I want to open up access to the incredible wealth of wisdom that the blogging community has. And I don’t want it to only be about blogging.
Too often I think bloggers can get “blogged down” (pun definitely intended); the only things they think about are writing, promoting, traffic, followers, products, SEO, etc. Not only is this not healthy for you personally, it’s not good for your blog.
Some of the best posts I’ve read aren’t the ones in which someone has crunched hundreds of numbers to prove a mathematical point (although those can be great!). No, many of the best pieces are those when someone has shared their heart with their readers, where they’ve opened up and been vulnerable and really let people see a different part of themselves from what everyone already knows.
That’s why in Band of Bloggers, I’m going to ask a variety of questions.
I’m definitely interested in the wisdom that the blogging world has to share specifically about blogging. That’s why we’ll explore what advice bloggers should take and which they should ignore. We’ll talk about how to grow traffic and things like which apps/plugins are their favorite.
But I’m more interested in digging deeper beneath the surface of their UX interface (I just learned what UX is and wanted to work it into this post). I want to REALLY get to know the people in this community and to let all of you get to know them too.
Which is why I’m also going to ask bloggers to tell us about a time they were really scared to do something and how they handled it. We’ll find out what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved their life in the last 5 years.
These are questions that can’t be Googled.
Google is great…for knowledge. People are great for wisdom.
And I want to give people a platform to share their wisdom with us.
2. Community Colleagues
I want to build community.
The online world can be difficult, especially when you’re just starting out. Not only are you overwhelmed with the number of things you need to do (or feel you need to do when you compare yourself to others in an unhealthy way), and the information available, at times you can feel all alone in the process.
Yes, there are Facebook and Slack groups, Twitter chats, and Pinterest group boards you can be a part of.
But let’s be real. That’s not true community.
I’ve been a part of them, and they’re great. You chat with people, share your content, and ask questions. You can get to know people somewhat, but it’s often only on the surface.
That’s not to say that the people are shallow. Not at all. It’s just that the nature of how we connect leads the interactions to mostly be about the exchange of knowledge. I have a question, you have an answer. I share my content, you comment on it.
Sometimes things move deeper, but it’s tough between the constraints of character limits and busyness. We all live crazy lives and we’re trying to be as efficient as possible. But this doesn’t leave much time to get beneath the surface to what makes people really tick. To find out what scares them, what they’re learning, how a past failure has set them up for success.
To me, these are questions that have REALLY interesting answers, answers that can help us all learn and grow, not only in our side hustle blogging careers, but as people, spouses, parents, and friends. And as we hear from our community, it’s my hope that we’ll form a tighter-knit group of people who can really help each other out, not just in blogging, but in life.
3. Building an Audience and Wisdom
In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, I should mention my third goal.
I really want to build both my audience and my wisdom.
I’ve worked hard in the last 6 months to build my following by investing in relationships with a number of writers and bloggers. Many of them are going to be appearing in the feature in the coming months. I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to provide high-value content for their audience, and to let my followers get to know the incredible group of people I’ve met since I started blogging.
Selfishly, I know that the people that I interact with on a daily basis have an immense amount of wisdom and knowledge to share. Like I said, because of the busyness of life and the nature of online conversations, they rarely get the chance to share who they REALLY are.
Sure you get snippets, but so much of that is drowned out by the noise or the assumptions people make when they read a 140 (or 280) character response.
Band of Bloggers will provide an opportunity for all of us, myself included, to learn from some very wise people. And, it’ll distill the incredible amount of information we’re bombarded with each day into an AWESOME (I admit I’m slightly biased), short, easy to digest monthly (maybe weekly in the future) feature. Jam-packed with wisdom and actionable nuggets to crush your life and your blog, you won’t want to miss it.
Bringing It All Together
In the incredible HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, a diverse group of ragtag, rough around the edges soldiers develop character and camaraderie as they face unprecedented obstacles together during WWII.
This is not that.
It’s not even in the same neighborhood as blogging.
Not even close.
My hope though, is that as we all face the ups and downs of growing as writers and bloggers, through all the successes and setbacks we’ll face along the way, and more importantly, as we grow as people, that we’d be able to learn from each other and share our hard-won wisdom with the group. This is what I want to grow.
This is Band of Bloggers.
Who would you like to see on Band of Bloggers? Would you be interested in participating? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @method_money or my Facebook page Method To Your Money. You can also find me on Pinterest. Want more great ideas about mastering your money? Sign up to receive my weekly emails detailing how to keep more of your hard earned cash!