What Weird Al Yankovic can teach us about blogging

weird_al_featured

Weird Al Yankovic is a blogging muse.

Yes, I realize “Weird Al” and “blogging” are words you usually don’t see together very often. In fact, add the words “peanut butter,” “Canada” and “porcupine,” and you would have quite the game of Mad Libs.

This shouldn’t be so. In fact, it’s my belief Weird Al Yankovic and blogging go hand in hand!

Why?

Because there is much we bloggers can learn from the life, habits and career of Weird Al.

Things like…

1. Weird Al turned a hobby into his profession and livelihood

Weird Al didn’t begin parodying songs with the knowledge it was going to be lucrative.

He didn’t take his first accordion lesson the day before his sixth birthday because he knew of the success awaiting him.

God didn’t speak to Weird Al in a dream and tell him to write a song about bologna and record it in a bathroom. (You know, for the great acoustics.)

No, Weird Al did these things because he loved doing them.

It was a hobby! A hobby he enjoyed. A hobby he probably would have continued doing even if he never made a cent doing it.

The takeaway for bloggers…

Most of us got into blogging because it was something we loved to do.

For some of us, we blog because it’s cathartic. Writing down your thoughts (and sometimes venting your frustrations) is therapeutic.

Some of us blog to connect with others. Engaging and interacting with total strangers is fun. Having someone leave you a comment complimenting your work is fun. Validation is fun.

And some of us got into blogging because, yes, we want to earn a living.

Regardless of why we got into blogging initially, many of us reach the point where we hope to turn it into more than a hobby.

Some of us even hope to turn blogging into our profession and livelihood.

If Weird Al can do it for his hobby, why not us?

2. Weird Al isn’t original, and that’s okay

To this day, Weird Al has critics who ridicule him for being unoriginal.

Never mind the fact what Weird Al does requires a tremendous amount of creativity, there are critics who dismiss him as a hack because, in their minds, all he does is take popular songs and change the lyrics.

Even if you think Weird Al is unoriginal, so what?

Originality is overrated.

In her post titled “The Sin or Originality, Henneke Duistermaat discussed how mimicking the work of others is done all the time.

TV shows like “Parks and Recreation”, “The Office,” “Scrubs” and “Community” all borrowed elements (over-the-top characters, theme episodes, cartoon-like antics, etc.) from 90s-forgotten-gem NewsRadio.

Rock group Stone Temple Pilots combined the influences of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and others into the making of its own distinct sound.

With movies, it’s nearly impossible to watch a thriller and not see the fingerprints of Alfred Hitchcock all over it.

In each of these examples, someone took the work of someone else, put their own spin on it, and made it their own.

Just like Weird Al.

The takeaway for bloggers…

If you try to write on topics no one has ever before discussed, you’re going to have a difficult time as a blogger.

In fact, if you try too hard to be original, you’re probably going to fail as a blogger.

So what should you do?

Read the works of others.

See what’s successful in your particular blogging niche.

Take someone else’s idea and put your own spin on it.

Make it your own.

Make it better.

3. Weird Al is not afraid to think outside the box

Off the top of my head, Weird Al has written songs on the following bizarre topics:

  • Hernias
  • Cross-dressing truck drivers
  • Amish people
  • The Flintstones
  • His hatred of sauerkraut
  • Buying William Shatner’s toupee on eBay

In other words, Weird Al can be “out there” sometimes.

The takeaway for bloggers…

It’s okay to be a little “out there” when you’re picking topics for your blog.

Conventional is boring. Typical is boring. All synonyms for “normal” are boring.

Don’t be boring.

Similarly…

4. Weird Al takes mundane topics and makes them interesting

When he’s not writing on “out there” topics like William Shatner’s toupee, Weird Al is writing about the mundane.

A glance at his catalog and you will see Weird Al has made a career from turning unimpressive topics into hilarity. A few, in no particular order, are:

  • Potatoes
  • Polka
  • The biggest ball of twine in Minnesota
  • Craigslist
  • Germs
  • The grapefruit diet
  • Jeopardy
  • Ducks
  • Lasagna

To prevent you from falling asleep, I’ll stop with those. But I assure you the mundane list goes on and on.

The takeaway for bloggers…

If Weird Al can write a song about the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota, you can make whatever topic you’re writing about interesting and compelling.

Whether it’s food or finance, sewing or sports, blogging or Billy Baldwin; there’s no reason a mundane topic has to feel mundane.

Spruce it up.

Make it come to life.

5. Weird Al knows the importance of good grammar

One of the videos for his latest album, Mandatory Fun, is for a song titled “Word Crimes.”

To those who couldn’t watch it (or didn’t want to), this short video will teach people more about proper grammar than four years of high school and one semester of college.

The takeaway for bloggers…

Don’t write good. Write well.

Your readers will thank you.

6. Weird Al adapts to changing trends…

A big reason Weird Al has been able to make parodies for over three decades is he’s never pigeonholed himself.

In his early days, parodying Michael Jackson, Madonna, and songs about “food” were Weird Al’s bread and butter. He had some of his biggest hits with his parodies of “Bad,” “Beat It,” and “Like a Virgin.” And he wrote so many songs about food he released the aptly-titled “The Food Album” in 1993.

But, you can’t keep parodying Michael Jackson, Madonna, and food forever.

Michael Jackson and Madonna eventually go crazy, get old, or die. And you can only write so many songs about food before even comedian and food-connoisseur Jim Gaffigan tunes you out.

As musical trends changed, Weird Al changed with them.

When “grunge” music hit it big, Weird Al parodied Nirvana.

When the rapper Coolio was having his fifteen minutes of fame with “Gangsta’s Paradise,” Weird Al gave us “Amish Paradise.”

When the Star Wars prequels were all the rage, Weird Al channeled Don McLean and wrote “The Saga Begins.”

And it’s not just musical trends. Weird Al adapts to changing trends…

…as well as new technologies

Weird Al came to prominence during the early years of MTV and cassette tapes.

Through the years he’s seen compact discs replace cassettes and iPods replace compact discs.

He’s seen YouTube and social media enter people’s lives and change the way artists promote their work and interact with their fans.

He’s seen Napster come and go, and he’s seen the digital market via iTunes and Amazon reinvent the way people buy music.

And he’s adapted through all of it.

The takeaway for bloggers…

Adapt!

Many a blogger (yours truly included) was slow to accept Twitter and Google Plus when they first hit the scene.

Some bloggers continue to emphasize RSS subscribers and Twitter followers, even though study after study says your mailing list should be your #1 priority.

Some bloggers rely solely on Google Adsense to monetize their blogs, even though affiliates and selling your own product often returns more revenue.

Some bloggers still use MySpace.

If your blog doesn’t adapt, it’s going to eventually die. It will be remembered only when it’s being mocked.

Just like MySpace.

7. Weird Al keeps it clean

Some of Weird Al’s parodies are based on songs which were vulgar, violent, or worse (i.e. Miley Cyrus).

However, Weird Al’s song are clean and family friendly. There are very few musicians children, teenagers, and parents could listen to together. Weird Al is one of them.

While this may diminish his “cool” factor in the eyes of some, it allows Weird Al to cast a wider audience net.

The takeaway for bloggers…

Depending on your niche, keeping it clean on your blog will make promotion and monetization much easier.

Some people won’t share a post which isn’t family friendly. I’m one of these individuals. If it’s not something I would want my mom, wife, or future children to read; I’m not going to share it.

Advertisers are far more likely to want to advertise on your site if they know your site isn’t alienating a faction of their demographic.

Cast a wide net and keep things clean.

8. Weird Al recruits his friends

Michael Jackson was reportedly such a fan, in 1988 he allowed Yankovic to film his “Fat” music video on the same set built for Jackson’s “Bad” — the song and video Weird Al was parodying.

Through the years, celebrities such as Drew Carey, Jack Black, Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Robert Goulet, Florence Henderson, and Seth Green have worked on Weird Al’s music videos.

Granted, this list doesn’t include any Brad Pitts, Kevin Costners or Dwayne Johnsons, but it goes to show you don’t need superstars to promote your content. Friends with any measure of influence can help you get the word out.

The takeaway for bloggers…

You don’t need a Darren Rowse or Jon Morrow to link to your content in order for it to be successful.

Would it help? Sure. It would help the same way Lebron James starring in one of Weird Al’s music videos would help Yankovic earn more views on YouTube.

Obtaining a link from someone of such ilk isn’t easy.

What is easy? Getting the readers you already have to promote your content.

Or how about making connections with bloggers a level or two higher than you are right now? Engage with them. Befriend them. Share their content and leave them insightful comments.

And while you’re engaging with them, learn from them. They’re more popular than you for a reason, after all.

Kevin DuncanRemember:

In both height and Twitter followers, a half dozen Seth Greens equal one Dwayne Johnson.” [tweet this]

Never forget that.

9. Weird Al reads… a lot

While interviewing him for Rolling Stone, writer Andy Greene noticed a large collection of books in Weird Al’s home. These books included:

  • The Complete Paintings and Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci
  • Selected Poems by Walt Whitman
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • SoulPancake: Chew on Life’s Big Questions (written by the actor who played Dwight Schrute on TV’s “The Office”)

The takeaway for bloggers…

The best writers are also readers.

If you want to improve your blog and your blog writing, start by reading the blogs of others.

Beyond gaining inspiration for ideas, you’ll be able to see how other bloggers write. And you’ll be able to ask yourself questions like:

“How would I have introduced this post?”

“How could he/she have made this paragraph cleaner?”

“Is this a good ‘call to action’ for this post? How could I make it better?”

Want to be a better blogger? Read as much as Weird Al reads.

10. Weird Al edits… a lot

All of Weird Al’s lyrics go through numerous rewrites and revisions.

He’ll even write alternate lyrics to give himself options.

“Is this one better…or is this one better? Better 1? Or better 2?”

By the time any of his fans hear a song of his, Weird Al has edited and revised the lyrics over and over.

The takeaway for bloggers…

Don’t publish your first draft.

Don’t publish your second draft.

Before publishing, go through your content with a machete. If it doesn’t belong, cut it out.

If a sentence can be worded better, reword it.

In the blogging process, “editing” is the step most bloggers often overlook.

Don’t be most bloggers.

11. Weird Al knows how to promote

As hard as he worked to make the album, Weird Al worked just as hard (if not harder) promoting it.

Beyond the typical pre-release interviews and such, two days before his album (Mandatory Fun) was released Weird Al tweeted the following:

And he did just that.

For eight consecutive days — two days before his album release, the day of its release, and five days after — Weird Al premiered eight different music videos.

It was impossible (impossible!) to get on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform during this period without seeing a Weird-Al-related status from your friend, cousin, or uncle.

Weird Al was everywhere.

And ten days after the aforementioned tweet, Weird Al had the following to show for his efforts:

Thirty-one years after releasing his debut, Weird Al had the #1 album for the first time in his career.

The takeaway for bloggers…

For starters: persistence pays off.

Secondly, promoting your content is just as important (if not more so) for the success of your blog as the creation of content.

Too many bloggers write a post, share it on Twitter and Facebook, and then sit back and wait for the traffic to come their way.

When it doesn’t happen they shrug, write an even better post, and repeat their earlier steps for promotion.

True, some will decide to mix things up. They’ll start commenting on other blogs. Maybe they’ll share the post on Google Plus and Pinterest, too.

But the ratio of content creation to promotion remains relatively the same for most bloggers.

90/10. 80/20. Maybe 70/30.

Do you think Weird Al spent nine times more hours creating his album than he did promoting it?

The total amount of effort and research put into the promotion of Mandatory Fun must be staggering.

And you think a thirty-second Tweet is going to cut it?

If you’re not putting as much time and effort into promoting your content as you do creating it, your blog isn’t going to keep up with the bloggers who do.

Wrapping it up

Behind almost every success story, there are lessons to be learned.

Tips we can incorporate. Strategies we can duplicate. Epiphanies we can process.

Yes, Weird Al writes funny songs for a living. It doesn’t mean he can’t teach or inspire us.

If Weird Al can join the ranks of the rich and famous by writing songs about food, you can find success writing about whatever it is you write about.

It’s hard work, but you can do it.

Just like Weird Al did it.

Did this post help you? Does Weird Al’s story inspire you to be a better blogger? Let me know in a comment below!

Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInBuffer this page

Comments

  1. says

    I think Weird Al is a wonderful individual who expresses himself in the most ornate way. This inspires creativity and a fervor to add more levity to life.

    • says

      Hi Mari,

      Welcome to my blog! Thanks for commenting.

      Agreed! Weird Al’s creativity has always impressed me. And who doesn’t need more levity in their lives? We all tend to take things too seriously. :-)

      I appreciate you taking the time to stop by, read, and leave me a comment. I’ll have to return the favor later today and check out your blog!

      Hope you have a wonderful day, Mari.

  2. says

    Hi Kevin (and Al),

    You continue to inspire me… to become a better blogger!

    I personally struggle with #3 and #4. I’m a practical, get-to-the-point kind of girl.Which doesn’t always gel with writing amusing or surprising articles. Also I find if I force that kind of stuff then I stop sounding like me.

    Sometimes it’s best to write as yourself and you’ll attract like-minded people into your world.

    I 100% agree with your point about promotion. I spend about 80% of my time promoting and 20% writing. A lot of that promotion time is simply connecting with people online (in groups, on blogs, etc.)

    Thanks for another entertaining and informative post!
    Sally
    Sally recently posted: How I Made My First Sale With A Low Budget Sales FunnelMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Sally,

      Thanks! I’m glad you’re inspired. :-)

      You make a great point, and I should consider adding “#12. Weird Al knows how to be himself” at the end of the post. I do believe thinking outside the box (at times) and adding interest (all the time) are blogging musts, but you have to be yourself.

      If you try to write like someone else, or sound like someone else, it’s probably going to be obvious to people. And it will certainly be obvious to you!

      So, for someone like you, Sally (practical, get-to-the-point), I would say: don’t stop being practical! Don’t stop getting right to the point. Keep doing what you’re doing, but on the lookout for ways you can add interest here or there.

      Personally, I think you already do a great job at this. The intro to your recent “How I Made My First Sale…” post did a wonderful job capturing the reader’s attention and transitioning them into the meat of your content. :-)

      So you spend 80% of your time promoting? Impressive!

      Thanks again, Sally. Hope you have a great day!

  3. says

    Hi Kevin
    Greetings on writing another very unique and impressive post with case study of any awesome creative genius.

    All the points you linked with Weird Al can do miracles in blogging if someone follows them in their true spirit.

    You are very right; we should not try to be crazy while giving something unique. This approach can lead us to a state where blogging can become a heck of the task for us.

    Getting inspired by others ideas and put your own voice into it is the best strategy to create value at your blog.

    Thanks a lot for sharing another wonderful post with quite unique way of educating your blog readers.
    Mi Muba recently posted: A true story of a flop blogger to define blogging correctlyMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Mi Muba,

      Greetings! Thank you for visiting and commenting.

      I love finding the stories behind successful people. There’s so much great information behind their stories… information we all can use to become successful in our own fields!

      Thanks again for stopping by, Mi Muba. Hope you have a great day!

  4. says

    Kevin,

    This post is really inspiring on many fronts. First off, kudos for the great comparison to weird Al … that’s awesome. But I like how you broke it down into different aspects.

    Originality is something that I would have thought would help people stand out, but you’re the 6th person that said differently. Maybe the way I was looking at originality was to come up with a different way to present a post rather than write about an original topic.

    But don’t you think that there’s a double standard there? You said “If you try to write on topics no one has ever before discussed, you’re going to have a difficult time as a blogger.

    In fact, if you try too hard to be original, you’re probably going to fail as a blogger.”

    But there was a point in time when SEO wasn’t out there nor was Social Media, and some blogger had to take that leap to write about it. I think that depending on whatever it is, there’s a 50/50 chance. What are your thoughts on that?

    Adapt is an important tip. I still see so many bloggers that when I visit their sites, they have calendars and other things on their site but they have no social media buttons. The web is constantly changing and you’re right, you do have to always adapt. This is something that I’m learning everyday.

    “You don’t need a Darren Rowse or Jon Morrow to link to your content in order for it to be successful.” You don’t need them but like you said, it would be a nice boost. But you’re correct. Just by engaging with bloggers that are 1 or 2 levels above you in terms of authority can help you out so much. Those relationships are important and you have to constantly build them.

    Lastly, editing is so important. I’ve been contemplating getting outsourcing a copyeditor to help me out because when you write something, sometimes, you can check it over 4 – 5 times and still miss something.

    Great post Kevin. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Have a great week.

    – Andrew
    Andrew M. Warner recently posted: How To Repel Visitors Like Magnets By Making These 5 Dumb Blogging MistakesMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Andrew,

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found it inspiring.

      Great question. Personally, I think we should be original in the way we present a topic. In this sense, I think originality is great. For example, how many blogs have you seen touting Weird Al Yankovic as a blogging muse? And yet, if you strip all the Weird Al components from this post, what’s left are tips which have been discussed ad nauseum on the web. :-)

      So, for how we present topics to readers, I’m all for originality. Grab a topic, put a different spin on it, make it your own.

      As for original topics, this is where it’s tricky. In my quote I said: “In fact, if you try too hard to be original, you’re probably going to fail as a blogger.” (emphasis mine)

      I believe this.

      I believe if you try to write too many original topics, you’re going to get discourged. There’s only so many original topics, after all! When will the next “SEO” and “Social Media” hit? And when it does hit, whatever it is, are you going to be the very first one to talk about it? Probably not.

      If I have the chance to be the first to write on a topic, you better believe I’m going to jump at it. So should you. So should everyone who’s reading this.

      But I don’t believe it’s the best use of a blogger’s time to think of original topics no one’s written before. I believe bloggers who try this find themselves sitting around for long periods not writing anything.

      Of course, as Dennis Miller would say: That’s just my opinion. I could be wrong. :-)

      What do you think, Andrew?

      • says

        Very well answered.

        I also believe that if you try to write too many original topics, you’re going to get discouraged. If not discouraged, then you’ll just be wasting time that could be spent writing a great topic on something you already know – while putting a different spin on it. Similar to what you did here.

        I speak from experience because sometime last year, I spent 4 days trying to figure out how I was going to write a topic about something that wasn’t talked about before – but I ended up not writing it at all and really just wasting my time.

        But maybe that’s just me and not everyone else.

        Regardless, great post and spin on how it was written.

        – Andrew
        Andrew M. Warner recently posted: How To Repel Visitors Like Magnets By Making These 5 Dumb Blogging MistakesMy Profile

        • says

          Hey Andrew,

          Yeah, I’ve been there, too. There have been several times as a blogger where I kept waiting for an original “oh my goodness this will take the web by storm” topic, but all I did was spin my wheels. I’d think, think, and think, but nothing would happen. And I would end up not writing anything for several days or a week because of it! :-)

          So, it’s not just you. I’ve been there, too.

          Thanks, Andrew!

  5. says

    Indeed so many lessons to be learned from him :)
    I just got to know about him from this post.

    Reading a Lot
    I would say for writing a single page, you should read at least 10 pages of the same topic.
    Reading is indeed very important and it helps a lot.

    Editing
    Mr.Duncan got a lot experience in teaching English to his sentence and he will agree with me on one thing. You cannot write a perfect Blog Post without editing and proofreading
    That’s why I always keep scissor and a glue with me when I am writing.So I can cut the sentence shorter and mend the broken flows in my writing.

    Promoting Content
    Of course you would have to promote your content. There is a lot of content out there on the Internet, many bloggers are already promoting their content.So how people are going to find your content if you don’t make it reachable?
    Saying that I agree with another point.Which is presence pays off

    Show people and make them aware of your presence in this blogosphere or else you are going nowhere.

    Thanks for writing this article Mr.Duncan :)
    YourFriend recently posted: 9 Things I love about Blogging and Which keep me GoingMy Profile

  6. says

    Kevin,
    You’re either one of the world’s leading experts on Weird Al or you did some serious research for this post. As someone who lives pretty close to Lancaster, PA Amish Paradise is always the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of him.

    I think he’s a really good example for your point about originality. Having a successful blog doesn’t require doing something that no one else is doing.

    • says

      Hey Marc,

      My wife asked me the same question. “Did you already know all that stuff about Weird Al, or did you research it?”

      A bit of both! Haha.

      I’m no expert by any means, but when I listed song topics of his I was doing it from memory. Most of the background info took research, though. Good thing Weird Al is everywhere these does. It made finding info on him easy. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Marc! Have a good one…

  7. says

    Hi Kevin, this was another great post. There’s a lot to learn from Weird Al. I love how you made the connections between him and blogging. He is quite a remarkable guy. Thanks for these great lessons.
    I’m saving this one for reference.
    Keep up the great work, Kevin.

    • says

      Hi Onyeka,

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it and learned a bit from it.

      It’s fun thinking of random people (Winston Churchill, John Grisham, Weird Al) and figuring out how they can help me be a better blogger. It’s a fun exercise! And when I think of an especially interesting one, I like to share it here on the blog. :-)

      Thanks, Onyeka! You keep up the great work, too. Hope you have a great day.

  8. says

    Hi Kevin,

    This is post is brilliant and Weird Al is brilliant. He’s so clever; even as a kid I thought of him as a genius, because….even though he’s doing parodies, I can’t think of anyone who comes close to doing them like he does.

    His presentation, flair, humor and flat out fun factor is through the roof. The man has it. Great to see too that he hit #1 31 years after the fact.

    It’s funny Kevin; I see Weird Al’s billboard chart topping success, and recall Napoleon Hill’s astounding success with Think and Grow Rich, some 25 years after starting the book, and I laugh at myself.

    I am super small scale compared to these guys – in this moment – yet I’ve been impatient in the past about seeing success, or tangible results. Then I wake up, look around, and think….darn….I’ve engineered a neat lifestyle for myself as a blogger, in like, 5 years. Not bad. Many stuffing successes were still on the dole after 5, or even 10 years. We all move forward at a different rate, for sure.

    We all tend to do this from time to time. Even if we aren’t famous now, we are often farther along at a quicker rate than some of the most successful people on earth, in their niches.

    I recall it took MLM guru and personal development jedi knight Randy Gage like 5 years to make his first $3000, if I recall correctly. 5 years. Crazy. Keep going fellow bloggers. You’re probably farther along than most folks if you’ve persisted, using smart strategies, for 2, 3 or 5 years, and the sky is the limit.

    Love it Kevin.

    Tweeting now.

    Thanks dude, and make it a fun day!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted: 11 Reasons Why You Should Create a ProductMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Ryan,

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

      He really is quite clever. I didn’t appreciate him as much when I was a teenager, but as I got older I realize how creative he was!

      You’re right. It’s easy to look at where we are now and forget how far we’ve come. I come across great, great blogs all the time which receive barely any comments. And it’s unwarranted, because the blogs themselves are great. They just aren’t getting traction yet.

      And it reminds me, as you said, of how far our blogs have come along in a relatively short amount of time. I know I take it for granted sometimes, and I really shouldn’t. I keep looking ahead rather than enjoying where I am now.

      Hopefully Weird Al is enjoying his “now.” Because it’s been 35 years in the making!

      Have a good one, Ryan!

  9. says

    Hey Kevin,

    This is so funny but I was on Brittany’s blog earlier this week and she shared this video and I thought it was brilliant. I had to tell you that first since I had a feeling while reading it that you would be including it as well.

    I never cared for Weird Al myself, I thought he was just too corny for my tastes. Same thing with Tiny Tim, just two really odd and weird guys but people loved them. I admire someone who just doesn’t give a flying you know what about what they do and they do it because they just have so much darn fun. I think that’s what life should be about anyway right! Just enjoy yourself and have fun.

    Now I’m not sure that if you wrote about something “different” that you would fail. For instance if I start doing something and see that I’m having a lot of results from it yet no one is doing it then I can see where my following would jump on that bandwagon as well. Maybe if you’re brand new and no one knows who you are that might be an issue. I get that.

    I also know that I use to have the hardest time with writing posts because everywhere I looked people were writing about the same thing. Then I was told that I should put my own spin on it and write from a place that I understood it or from my own experiences. I then kind of had that aha moment ya know because I don’t learn the same way everyone else does so the way I shared that information people might actually learn it form me where they weren’t from anyone else.

    I do know that at times following what everyone else does isn’t in our best interests. I was talking with a client last night about this same thing. I was taught certain things early on that I didn’t feel comfortable doing, just my gut instinct. I’m glad I didn’t because the people who were teaching me ended up having some accounts shut down because of what they were teaching.

    I think we have to do what we believe feels right but of course will bring us great results. It’s just a trial and error type thing at times.

    Great post Kevin whether I like Weird Al or not! You did a fabulous job with this one and I hope you’re having an even better week.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted: Revealed: Why You Need Blog Commenting RulesMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Adrienne,

      I haven’t seen all the new videos he released, but of the ones I’ve seen “Word Crimes” is definitely my favorite. Funny and educational! :-)

      So you’re not a Weird Al fan? Kudos for reading my post anyway! Haha. I appreciate it.

      Yeah, I think your popularity definitely plays a hand as far as how far and where your audience will follow you. Someone like Darren Rowse can write on any “new” topic and people would jump on the bandwagon. Me? My readers would wave bye to me and say: “Farewell, Kevin… let us know if you ever get back to writing things that make us chuckle.”

      I’m just not nearly popular enough to get away with it, in other words. :-)

      Definitely. As one of your readers, it’s clear to me you took the “put my own spin on it and write from a place that I understood it or from my own experiences” advice to heart. And it’s served you quite well!

      Thanks, Adrienne! I’m glad you enjoyed the post (Weird Al parts notwithstanding). Haha.

      Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

  10. says

    I love everything about this post!
    Oh man, I remember hiding under a tree at recess with my WalkMan listening to the latest Weird Al cassette…. yep… I was that kid….

    It is so inspiring when someone is able to turn their incredibly niche hobby into their career.

    Now if only I could become a parody white rapper *one day*

    • says

      Hey Kashlee,

      Haha. Wow, you were a big Weird Al fan then! My wife and I watched a few of his videos yesterday. “The Saga Begins” is one of my favorites. He’s got a pretty nice voice!

      Glad you loved the post. And don’t give up on your dream of becoming a parody white rapper. You can do it! (Maybe. Probably not. Who knows.) :-)

  11. says

    It sounds like Werid Al should have been a blogger!!!

    It can be kind of a struggle thinking up new content, because lets face it…the internet is full over everything already. Do any of us really have new ideas? The difference is being able to put a new spin on those ideas, and demonstrated that perfectly with this post. Has anyone ever related Weird Al to lessons learned for blogging before? I highly doubt it!

    Step outside the box, do something different and be consistent and then start seeing the rewards.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post :-)
    Catherine Holt recently posted: 8 Important Blog Pages To ConsiderMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Catherine,

      Thank you for yet another great comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Well, it’s my hope no one has previously tried relating Weird Al to blogging lessons before. Maybe this will the start of a new trend, though! :-)

      Hope you have a great day, Catherine!

  12. says

    Hi Kevin,
    What an inspiring post you have made here. Enjoy it a lot. I like the way you think about originality. In crowded niche, bloggers could be failed just to find “original” thing, this is because it’s overrated. With all creativity in, we can develop many interesting new concept from one source. Your post here is the perfect sample of that.

    Thanks. Wish you enjoy the weekend
    Okto recently posted: How Fresh Content Can Influence RankingsMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Oktko,

      Welcome back!

      Yes, that’s my take anyway. Don’t spend time thinking of original topics, spend your time developing a new, interesting spin on topics people might have already heard about, but not in the way you’re writing about them! It’s worked for me and many, many others. :-)

      Appreciate it, Okto. Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

  13. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Your post is though provoking; while I love to teach and share with people the things that I know and hopefully want to positively impact people with ( first as a writer and motivational speaker, here in Nigeria); I later discover that I can harness this skill into money making venture by creating and running a blog…and today, I’m happy with my decision.

    In your point 2, phrase shown in bracket ( In fact, if you try too hard to be original, you’re probably going to fail as a blogger.); I want to disagree with you on this concept.

    The way blogging is going, its trends, and the dynamic issues with unstable SEO tsunami, being and going original is the sure and long lasting way to be successful .

    Thanks for sharing.

    James
    Dare recently posted: High CTR adsense ready website design templatesMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Dare,

      Welcome to my blog! I was on your site just yesterday, but I didn’t get to leave you any comments. You have a lot of interesting insights. :-)

      You’re not wrong. You and I probably just have different definitions when we think of original topics.

      I aim to be original in the way I present a topic to my readers (by how I write it, by the stories I interject, etc), but I don’t worry if the topic itself is original or not. Because, like I mentioned, it’s hard and rare to find an honest-to-goodness original topic no one has discussed before! Haha.

      But if a blogger talks about the same topic and presents it in the same exact way as thousands of other bloggers? Yeah, that’s bad. I agree.

      The dynamic, always-changing issues you mention regarding SEO is probably an area where originality is still possible, you’re right. But, coming up with a new, original take (that’s also good advice) isn’t in the cards for all bloggers.

      For example, I’m not enough of a SEO expert to feel confident in writing an original tip/trick. I could write it, sure, but I couldn’t say with certainly what I’d be sharing with my readers was good advice.

      And in the age we’re in where Google will punish sites who do things improperly, I really wouldn’t want to lead people astray. :-)

      I may alter my approach with this one day. After all, as readers have pointed out before, I don’t always follow the advice in my own posts! Haha.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Dare.

      Hope you have a great day.

  14. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Another out-of-the-box and inspirational post from you, thank you. :)

    I can definitely relate to several of the points you have artistically touched upon, especially points #5 #9 and #11.

    I never was the brightest kid at school and it showed. I was in bottom set for English all the way through school. But I fully understand the importance of improving our writing skills and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do at the moment!

    After all, creating great content is the underlying core of our business model as bloggers. If we can’t engage readers though our words, there’s no hope for us.

    So, I’ve been searching the internet for trainings on how to become a better writer, unsuccessfully. It’s becoming clear that the only way to write better is with lots of practice and lots more reading. And like you say, other blogs and books are a great starting point.

    Are you reading any books right now Kevin? I’m open to recommendations :)

    And I’ll be honest with you, I’m still finding my feet with the whole blog promotion vs blog post creation thing. I’ve realized that we should be spending at least DOUBLE the time promoting our posts, than we do writing them. Now I just need to figure out what works best for me as an individual and be more consistent with my efforts.

    Thanks once again for sharing your insights with us. Have a lovely weekend!

    Kerry Russell
    Kerry Russell recently posted: 3 Tools Smart Marketers Use To Simplify Their Blog Commenting StrategyMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Kerry,

      Not sure how I missed this comment of yours. I replied to Suzie’s comment, which came after yours, six days ago! Sorry about that.

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Well, I can’t speak for your writing when you were in school, but I think you do a fine job writing today, Kerry. :-)

      Besides, even though I was “good” in English, my writing has still improved by leaps and bounds since I began blogging. It doesn’t matter how we were… it matters how we are now. Have we improved, or haven’t we? :-)

      Book recommendations… Well, the two books I’ve most recently read wouldn’t be very helpful in regards to writing. Haha. But I’ve only heard good things from Stephen King’s “On Writing.” I’m going to read it one of these days.

      I read a lot of blogs, though. It’s through blogs and knowledgeable bloggers where I learn and grow. And while I could list many (and I would be happy to do so, if you email me and ask), the best blog “writers” I have found are Henneke from Enchanting Marketing and Glen Long from Boost Blog Traffic.

      You’re probably already familiar with them, but if not I highly recommend them.

      As for blog promotion, don’t worry. I’m finding my way, too! It’s a process. It’s always a process. :-)

      Thanks again for stopping by, Kerry. Hope the rest of your weekend is a great one!

    • says

      Hi Suzie,

      Thanks! I’m glad the post resonated with you.

      You’ve never heard of Weird Al before?? Wow. Then this post must have really been educational and full of new info. :-)

      Hope you’re having a wonderful week! Thanks again for stopping by.

  15. says

    Wow, this is my best read of the day for today, thank you!

    I think my weakest point is promotion, I’m not quite sure how to go about it yet… I’m actually sometimes surprised people find their way to my website and read my posts!

    Until I read your post, I had thought that another weakness I had was the time it took me to write a single post – anything up to 2 hours/ca. 800 words. I’m changing my view now a bit – the reason it takes so long is that I do exactly what you describe in #10 – I edit my posts before publishing. Not once or twice. Lots. But from what you are saying, it seems like a good thing.

    Thanks for a very interesting post, I’ve just followed you on Twitter :)
    Beata recently posted: Experiences Matter, Not Material ThingsMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Beata,

      Welcome to my blog!

      Thanks! So kind of you to say. I’m very happy you enjoyed the post and got something out of it.

      Yeah, promotion was the part of blogging I was slowest to embrace. I’ve been blogging since March of 2005 and I don’t think I started promoting until something in 2008! And, truth be told, I’m still learning my way with it. :-)

      Taking time to write posts is definitely not a weakness, especially if editing is the reason! Editing is your friend. :-)

      I’ve followed you back on Twitter! It’s so fun to get new readers. Hope to see you again soon!

      Have a wonderful evening, Beata.

  16. says

    Hello Kevin,

    To be honest with you, this is my first time hearing of Al Weird but from the looks of things it appears he was a great musician who knew what ought to be done at the right time.

    If there is one thing which distinguishes between successful personalities and those who aren’t had to do with the fact that they read a lot and it is a great thing knowing Alfred Matthew Yankovic(I just checked wikipedia) was a great reader as well.

    Thanks for this and do have a great week.
    Emmanuel recently posted: Why there is now a Donate Button on Kabenlah.com?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Emmanuel,

      Welcome to my blog! So you were new to Weird Al, too? He’s definitely unique. Hope you enjoyed the info on him. :-)

      Agreed. Reading is so important when you’re a writer. It inspires you, and you pick up new tricks along the way!

      I’m so happy you stopped by my blog. Thank you for leaving me your comment. Hope you come back!

    • says

      Irwin!

      Welcome back. It’s been a while! :-)

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” is one of my favorite Weird Al songs, too. I showed my wife the music video for it just a few days ago.

      Glad to have you back on the blog. Hope you’re well!

  17. says

    Awesome Kevin!

    A lot of times you hear this term “think outside the box” thrown around quite a bit. And sometimes it truly applies and sometime not so much! In your particularly case, the term is definitely spot on!

    I’ve seen your comments left on some of my coaches blogs before, but this particular time, after seeing your enticing headline about (of all subjects) The “King of parodies” himself, weird Al.

    This had to be looked into. In order to discover the hidden lessons that you allude to.

    And boy was it ever worth it! You offer an incredible insight and totally unique perspective.

    Your article offers so many fantastic, creative ways of approaching what appears to be, totally unrelated abstract subjects and merging them together so seamlessly!

    This post was simply outstanding. And you also revealed just how hard weird Al works and has continued to do so, for the past three decades!

    Talk about consistency. Great job Kevin! I thoroughly enjoyed this post! And I learned quite a bit as well!
    Mark recently posted: How To Increase Sales In Retail! (Without Going Broke While You Do So!)My Profile

    • says

      Hey Mark,

      Welcome to my blog! I’m glad my title captivating your attention and caused you to take a look. :-)

      (Who are you blog coaches? I bet I could guess a few!)

      Thank you! That’s very kind of you to say. I’m glad you found the post informative and inspirational. I do try to think outside the box. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes it doesn’t. Haha.

      It was great having you stop by and leave your wonderful comment. Hope you’ll return, Mark. Have a great evening!

  18. says

    What’s good Kevin?

    Who knew Weird Al and blogging could make such a useful teaching topic.

    I think many of the points lend them self well to point 11 “Weird Al Knows How to Promote”

    By being unique, always reinventing and staying on trend and just having a different approach to what’s trending helps get the word out about him and his content.

    Same for many bloggers, so much has been said about certain topics, beaten like a dead horse etc, having a Weird Al approach can elevate you to different levels.

    Great stuff! Love your blog, glad I found it!

    • says

      Hi Lee,

      Welcome to my blog! Sorry for not responding to your comment sooner.

      Yes, Weird Al was a definitely unusual choice for blogging inspiration, but as I thought about it he made lots of sense. How could someone who has endured and excelled for 30 years not be inspirational? :-)

      I’m glad you found my blog, too! Appreciate you stopping by and commenting. Hope you’ll return!

  19. says

    Hi Kevin. Just finished reading all the comments that you could create into a blog post too!

    Going down memory lane now when I loved the Michael Jackson parody version of Beat It. :)

    And yes, he is a clever and intelligent person to create lyrics that one can listen to with family – I’ll never forget George Michael’s song (won’t name it here) which was banned – lucky me I got the 45 rpm before that and also saw the video at 2 am in the morning on MTV – my parents would have been scandalized! LOL

    Good research, Kevin. Jolly Good!
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted: Your social media profile job search jeopardyMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Vatsala,

      Yes, this post certainly has received a lot of comments. This is partly why I’m just now getting around to responding to yours! Sorry about that.

      My wife had never seen or heard Weird Al’s “Beat It” until a couple weeks ago. And I hadn’t watched it in, gosh, years. It was a good one.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Vatsala. I wish all my topics were as interesting as Weird Al!

  20. says

    Hii Kevin Sir……How are you?? Hope everything’s well. This is the second time that I am visiting your blog. Couldn’t help myself as I am so hooked by your posts. I completely agree with all your above points. Yes, for bloggers, writing is really therapeutic. Whenever I feel low, I sit with a pen and a paper and just write down anything that comes to my mind. No matter even if it’s an utter crap. And in terms of originality, it’s a real challenge for novice bloggers to come up with something out of the box. But I do try to pen down materials that I find important, with my own personal stroke. However the best thing about your articles are that they are so exhaustive and so much to know from them. Whatever you write on, I try my best to follow it. I’m looking forward that someday you’d visit my blog and give me a piece of your mind. Hope to see you soon. Thankx again for such a beautiful post. Good Luck !!!
    Sanjay Pal recently posted: How To Become A BloggerMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Sanjay,

      Good to see you here again. I’m doing quite well. How are you?

      Writing when you’re feeling low is a great idea. I do it, too. It’s cathartic.

      I appreciate your kind words about my writing and my posts. Thank you, Sanjay. I have visited your blog. You and your partners have written quite a few posts since you launched in June! Congrats.

      Know what I think would be great for your blog? Adding an “About” page. You have a “Contact” page so readers can reach you, which is great, but it’s also good to have an About page. Readers want to know what the site is about and who is behind it. It helps to build trust. :-)

      Other than, just keep reading, learning, and writing. You’ll do great. :-)

      Thanks again, Sanjay. Hope you have a wonderful evening!

  21. says

    Hi Kevin,

    The story of Weird Al is both entertaining, interesting, challenging and of course controversial.

    This is my first time on your blog, and being a newbie blogger, most especially when it comes to networking with like minded fellows. I’m literally blown away by the huge numbers of commentators and interactive engagement on your blog.

    Anyway, I’m a qualified pain management specialist, and in our medical field, it is sometimes important to think outside the box ( though still following due diligence) in treating some patients.

    In the context of me trying to become a blogger, at least, trying to make my blog popular; two words caught my attention on your blog and that is ” The best writers are also readers.
    If you want to improve your blog and your blog writing, start by reading the blogs of others’.

    I think this is the nugget I need to becoming a successful medical blogger.

    Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post.

    John

    • says

      Hi John,

      It’s so good to have you here on my blog. Thank you for stopping by!

      So you’re a new blogger? Let me welcome you to the wonderful (and sometimes scary) world of blogging. :-)

      I’ve been blogging for not quite 10 years, but this blog (Be A Better Blogger) is not quite 3 months old. So, I can relate to your struggles to get a new blog off the ground and noticed.

      I know it may seem like my blog has “made it” due to its comments and reader engagement, but I’m trying to move uphill, too. All bloggers are. It’s the one thing we all have in common, regardless of our niche. We’re all trying to get bigger, better, and more popular.

      You’ll do great. Just keep reading and learning. And, most importantly, don’t give up if you get discouraged. The bloggers who “made it” are all bloggers who persevered.

      Hope to see a lot more of you here on the blog, John. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  22. says

    Hi Kevin, I found this post inspiring as he started out as a hobby too.
    I’m not sure all bloggers keep it clean – I’m part of Triberr and notice one in particular who uses the f work in most titles. I don’t share those knowing it may offend many reading my Twitter stream. Keeping it clean is a great idea!
    Being creative and not afraid of new technologies is key for bloggers if they really want to grow their blogs.
    Thanks for giving us more to think about and sharing it with us!
    Lisa recently posted: What Do You Need to Inspire You as Inspire to Thrive Turns 3?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      Welcome to my blog! Good to have you here.

      I’m glad you found the post, and Weird Al’s story, inspiring. :-)

      I certainly wish all bloggers kept it clean. I’d like it, at least!

      You’re welcome, Lisa. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I’ll have to check out your blog soon.

      Hope you come back!

  23. says

    Hey Kevin,

    I love the tips here and the way you incorporated Weird Al’s success to each point. Don’t judge me but I have never heard of Weird Al until this post :)

    Thinking outside of the box can lead to huge benefits if done correctly. This post is a great example. There is so much information being consumed every second and keeping things unique can get you some attention. This leads me to my next point…

    I find that reading a lot helps me tons. At the same time it can almost stall progress. I believe information overload is a real thing and if we don’t come up with a system that works for us that a lot of the helpful information we read will go to waste once we move on to the next post.

    Excellent post yet again Kevin!
    Steven J Wilson recently posted: Infographic: How To Respond To Negative Comments On Social Media and Blog PostMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Steven,

      Welcome back!

      You’ve never heard of Weird Al before this post? Wow. I would say I’m surprised, but you’re not the first reader to make such an admission!

      Yes, information overload is a very real thing. People will read and read and read, but never do Sometimes you just have to act.

      I liked the system you use, which you talked about in an interview several weeks back. That’s a great system, and it ensures you’re always doing something productive for your blog!

      Thanks, Steven. Glad to see you commenting again!

  24. says

    I’m curious. Where is your attribution for the Weird Al photographs in this post and the slideshare on the topic? I notice you usually give attribution for pictures you use. I wonder if there is some reason like he’s a public figure and so all his pictures are in the public domain.
    Tom Resing recently posted: Surface Pro 3 Stylus Drawing TestMy Profile

    • says

      Hi again, Tom!

      Great question, and you’re the first person to ask me about it.

      Yes, on all my posts (unless it’s an image with no copyright conditions and no citation is required), I include the “Creative Commons” citations at the end.

      Except for this Weird Al post (and except for the Weird Al SlideShare; if you noticed… my other “Be Memorable” SlideShare includes image citations).

      The reason?

      I could not find any information on the original owners of the image!

      I looked, and looked, and looked. But each of the images I use (see the SlideShare, especially) can be found on lots of other sites. And none of those sites felt the need to kindly point me to the owner.

      What I should have done is included a citation along the lines of: “Ownership of the images lacking citations could not be determined. Please contact me if you are the owner.”

      Thoughts, Tom? Have you seen other bloggers handle this situation differently?

Trackbacks

Share a Comment

I'm happy you have decided to leave me a comment! Please note the three checkboxes below. One proves you aren't a spammer. One allows you to quickly sign up for my newletter. And one allows you to use CommentLuv and highlight one of your ten most-recent blog posts.

Also, by default you will be notified whenever someone replies to your comment. If you want to receive no emails, or if you would like to receive an email whenever any new comment is posted, simply change the option below.

Have fun and keep it clean!




CommentLuv badge