You've successfully subscribed to Above the Fold by Writing Inbound
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Above the Fold by Writing Inbound
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.
The secret of successful blogging.

The secret of successful blogging.

Mike Doane

Austin Kleon's advice on using the internet to stand out, share your work, and get people asking for more.

If you want to build a world-class blog, follow this simple advice.

What's the secret to a successful blog?

This question has eluded marketers, writers, and everyone else trying to stand out on the internet for decades.

In his 2012 bestselling book on doing work that matters, Austin Kleon attempts to answer the question in the simplest way possible.

Here are three tips for running a successful blog from Kleon's breakout hit Steal Like an Artist.

Share your passions

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it made the marketer millions.

Rule number one is to wonder at something and invite people to wonder with you.

If everybody’s wondering about apples, go wonder about oranges. The more open you are about sharing your passions, the closer people will feel to your work.

— Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

Ryan Holiday wonders how ancient philosophy can help us become more successful today. It's helped him sell millions of books.

Patagonia wonders how nature makes life so much better. It's helped them sell millions in outdoor clothing.

Deep Space Sparkle wonders what happens when art teachers have access to better resources. This question has sold thousands of membership subscriptions to their platform.

You see, when we wonder at something, people are compelled to wonder with us. And if people wonder enough, they'll wonder why they haven't bought something from us yet.

Give away your secrets

I've met many business owners who hold their cards too close to their chest.

They don't share their secrets. They think they might give too many ideas to their competitors.

Kleon advises against this.

People love it when you give your secrets away, and sometimes, if you’re smart about it, they’ll reward you by buying the things you’re selling.

— Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

Think of Wordpress.

They had a crazy idea to give their content management system away for free.

Now Wordpress powers over a third of the internet. And lots of people pay for it too.

Forget about your competitors.

The best companies care only about their customers. If you give your customers something that solves their problems, they'll reward you in the long run.

Keep people guessing

That doesn't mean you should give EVERYTHING away.

People are intrigued by mystery.

You don’t have to share everything—in fact, sometimes it’s much better if you don’t. Show just a little bit of what you’re working on.

— Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

Wordpress gives away their software, but hosting and managing updates can be a pain. That's why they do it for you and charge a premium.

Many sites that blog about cooking great food include their special blend of spices in the recipe. But you better bet they're not telling you the secret ingredient.

Think about how your product fits in people's lives. What problem are you trying to solve?

Tell them the solution, no strings attached.

Then tell them how your product or service can improve their lives that much more. Sure, they can do it without you, but they'll be missing out.

That's the secret of successful marketing.

Give customers what they want, then give them a little more.

— Mike Doane