Before I get too far into this post, I want to say that I do not know Michael Hyatt, have never met or spoken with him, and am not trying to sell anything his company might publish or be affiliated with. I’m simply a fan of his writing. This post explains why I read Michael Hyatt, and why you should too.
Michael Hyatt is the Chairman of Thomas Nelson Book Publishers in Nashville, TN (also the city I call home). His company publishes fiction, nonfiction, kids stories, bibles, and many other books. The list of stellar authors with which he has worked is amazing, and a testament to the company’s reputation in the publishing industry. I think it is safe to say he knows good writing when he sees it, which is why I read his blog, MichaelHyatt.com.
The website will tell you his mission is to help people live and lead on purpose. When I first read that statement I thought, “Is this guy kidding? Of course we live on purpose, no one has to tell me to live. I just do it. On purpose.” But after reading his articles that mission became crystal clear. All of the content on MichaelHyatt.com is purposeful content. It is crafted for two specific reasons:
- to make you think about what you do and why you do it; and
- to help you do that thing better.
Something that sets Michael Apart from other pro bloggers is that he does not proclaim himself to be an expert in anything. Instead, reading his articles you get the sense that he is taking a journey with you, rather than speaking at you. His writing focuses on topics like leadership, productivity, and social media, and is infused with a piety not often seen in the business blogosphere.You know that if he is dispensing advice he has already walked the path you are about to travel, and to me, that makes his wisdom so much more genuine.
My background as an engineering nerd naturally draws me to experimentation. For some reason I just can’t let things sit; I need to tinker with them, to find out how they work, and to try to make them work better. I do that with my blog, my business, even my relationships. Michael is the same way in his blog, and it shows through in many of his posts. He is constantly trying new things, and he is gracious enough to let us in on those experiments, whether testing the latest piece of software, a new operating system, cell phone, book, or service. He is not afraid to go out on a ledge, and will write about not only when he succeeds, but also when he discovers there is a better way to do things than the way he is currently doing them. That is what makes his posts some of the most honest you will encounter.
As a blogger looking to improve my craft, MichaelHyatt.com has been invaluable, mainly for two reasons.
- it is a roadmap for blogging success; and
- it is undyingly optimistic.
Looking at his blog today, I see very few articles which generate less than 100 shares on each of the social media platforms, and even fewer with less than 150 comments. Some of his articles have well over 500 shares and comments. But it wasn’t always that way. Just go back to his first post in March of 2005; it received only a few comments, and from what I can tell, it looks like it took about two years for his material to really catch on. By reading some of the older articles, a novice blogger can begin to understand the hard work and dedication it takes to create a really successful platform and a loyal following. In fact, I’ve started reading his articles from the last page forward, just to get a better sense of his thought process and work ethic. While I’ve been freelancing for several years, it’s just recently that I started to get organized with this blog. Some of the concepts I’ve learned in his posts are already paying off with my own blog performance.
Here are a few of the posts from MichaelHyatt.com that I have found particularly helpful:
How to Use Evernote as a Blogger – This is basically anatomy of a blog post 101. He explains the preferred writing software, the template he uses for each article, his thought process, link strategies, writing, re-writing, and publishing.
The 20-To-1 Rule – A theory that you need 20 positive connections with a person before you can effectively market to him or her just once. An interesting read.
5 Reasons Why You Need to Get Better at Saying No! – This is something I wholeheartedly believe in, and it might seem though counter-intuitive, putting this into practice will explode your business. Explode in a good way.
Seven Rules for More Effective Meetings – I heard a story about how Jeffrey Katzenberg (the “K” in Dreamworks SKG) schedules meetings in 15 minute blocks, and you get only one shot. If you’re late to a meeting you don’t get another one, and when the 15 minutes are up, the meeting is over. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but with meeting rules like that, people are put on notice that your time is valuable. Come with a specific task in mind and work quickly through your agenda! Similarly, Michael’s post gives you some tips on how to make the most of your meetings.
The Importance of the Weekly Review – Even if you have a clear understanding of where you want your blog (or your life) to go, and you know the steps to take, you still need to measure how effective you are in accomplishing those goals. The weekly review keeps you on the right path, and if you start to veer off, it helps you find your way back.
Just reading the how-to articles alone is like getting a master’s degree in writing for the web, but perhaps the best feature of Michael’s blog is it’s optimism. He never gives up, he never gives in, and he always approaches things with a positive attitude. I don’t think I’ve come across a single negative post on his site, which is a breath of fresh air. Every article expresses the “you can do it” mentality; a quality I’ve tried to employ in my writing and my life in general.
Reading Michael Hyatt has helped me tremendously as I craft my own articles, and I suspect it will help you too, no matter what your niche.