The Secret in Taking Your Blog to the Next Level

(I would like to share with you my talk last Saturday in the iBlog 5th Philippine Blogging Summit. My 4-year old son Aidan attending his first iBlog in the photo above.) 

Blogging is
often misunderstood. Some classify bloggers according to the types of
activities they do – those who concentrate on their hobbies and passions, those
who focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and those who provide
helpful information online. There are also those who attempt to categorize
bloggers depending on their popularity – from a newbie to a Class A blogger. 

I don’t believe
in such classifications. We need to look at bloggers in terms of their
evolution. If you want to take your blog to the next level, you need to look at
which stage you are in that evolution and what skills or mindset you need to
have to go to the next level.

I believe that
all bloggers are inherently good and have noble intentions for their readers.
Blogging is a reflection of your personality. If you are good, then the blog will reflect it accordingly. You can think about your blog as
your virtual soul. It is influenced by your environment, the people you network
with, and the quality of concepts that you believe in.

Here is a proposal
on how we should look at bloggers in terms of their evolution…

The Artist Level

Everyone starts
with blogging about his or her personal life. In this stage, you write for yourself,
and the writing is all about your personal expression of your life and love. The
best term for this type of blog is it is an online journal. At the start, you
would probably keep it private and sometimes share it with your own personal
network. You are happy with just seeing your thoughts and ideas immortalized in
a blog post.

At this level,
writing naturally is a skill that you want to develop. This is the skill of jotting
down your thoughts exactly as how you would say them to yourself or to other
people. Some refer to this as conversational writing, and this is the primary
way of writing for an online audience.

To take it to
the next level, you need to find your passion.
That passion could be a
hobby or sports activity that you love. It could also be an advocacy that you
believe in and want to actively support.

The Advocate Level

Most people
don’t know what they are passionate about. In the absence of a passion, they
normally look for what’s in and what other people are gravitating to right now.
But once you find your passion, your blog revolves around it 80% of the time.
Because it is something you believe in and hold dear to your heart, you will
fight for it and you can blog about it forever.

At this point,
you can develop readership and a loyal following. You start to write for them
instead of for yourself. Connecting with a network of people who share the same
passion is very important. You begin to create communities around your passion
to achieve a common objective. Building trust and credibility is very important
at this stage.

Here, blog
marketing is a skill that you want to develop. This is the skill of creating a relationship
with your readers and harnessing the power of word-of-mouth. You realize that
not all keywords are created equal. Learning the skill of SEO can help you
focus on the right keywords that you would like to target for your blog.

To take it to
the next level, you need to be an entrepreneur.
You have to learn the
different business models online and look at your blog as a publishing venture.
Some purist bloggers would say that you don’t put ads on your blog because it
would destroy its credibility. Some pro-bloggers would say that you can earn
from your blog by giving FREE information sponsored by ads, just like in a
magazine or TV station.

The next level is when you decide to quit your day job and pursue blogging full time. 

The Entrepreneurial Level

An Entrepreneur
is someone who monetizes his passion. Your blog becomes your personal brand
online. You start building it like an asset that you can leverage for all your
entrepreneurial endeavors. You focus on delivering value to your readers.

At this level,
authenticity is very important. You need to be transparent and disclose things,
especially if you get a freebie in exchange for a favorable review. You are
what you publish and you are more careful with what you say and who you

marketing is a skill that you want to develop. This is the skill of making
money online, legally and ethically. There are 10+ different proven business
models that work online.  Finding a
mentor or following a guru who could show you the way and teach you a shortcut
to success is very important.

To take it to
the next level, you need to be a maven.
So, what is a maven?

A Maven is a recognized expert in a field that he/she is
passionate about.

A Maven is someone you can trust even with your private
information, such as where you live, because you know it won’t be abused.

A Maven is someone you can approach for advice, safe in the
knowledge that he/she has no hidden agenda. 

A Maven truly cares about you.

A Maven wants to share his/her knowledge and teach it to
other people. 

A Maven knows his/her own strengths and weaknesses, and
leverages on those strengths so that the weaknesses do not matter.

A Maven persona starts with the right mindset, principles
and values. 

A Maven learns from other successful mavens and reapplies
the lessons learned to his/her own business and situation.

A Maven wants to provide a lot of value to the world and
sees money as an effect of how much value he/she gives.

A Maven is a leader who tries to show the right way so that
other people will not get lost in their own journey.

The Maven

Anyone can be a Maven, given a worthwhile intent, the right
mindset, profitable strategies and effective techniques. A maven needs to be
financially and emotionally independent because, at this level, 50% or readers
would love him and the other 50% would hate him. Actively helping the community
is a must – not because he is forced to but because he loves doing it from the
bottom of his heart.

You can detect mavens because of their Pay-It-Forward
behavior. They focus more on helping other people. The more they do it, the
more financially and emotionally rewarding it gets.

This is the level where you live your advocacy and where
you live your passion. This is the best place to be in because you realize that
you were born on this earth to do this. You find your so-called “purpose” in life
and your blog becomes a fulfillment of this purpose.

You look at your blog as a way to immortalize your life,
passions and advocacy. You know that even after you die, you have proclaimed your
awesome life forever in your blog. Your blog becomes an asset that you can
bequeath to your family and future generations.

You don’t retire
from being a maven. You die having lived the life of a maven.

Every blogger goes through the evolution. The secret in taking your blog to the next level is to improve your skills and mindset continually until you reach the maven level. 

Live an Awesome Life,  

Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 

prof. blog:
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627) 

Anton is a
culinary travel professional and an internet marketing guru who is passionate
about Living an Awesome Life in the Philippines. He has been blogging for 4+
years at, teaches Internet Marketing in AIM and runs a
private Internet Marketing Coaching Class called Maven Secrets.

33 thoughts on “The Secret in Taking Your Blog to the Next Level

  1. This was the presentation you did last Saturday right? I’ll PM you 🙂 Or maybe you can join us on Thursday instead 😀

  2. Anton, this is a really interesting breakdown of the evolution of a blogger. I am working toward “mavenhood” myself in the career search and personal branding arenas and really appreciate your suggestions and tips.

  3. Nice talk Anton! I attended the iBLOG event too. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear much about the speakers because I was in the very back of Malcolm Theater and I arrived late in the afternoon. Good thing you shared here some of the things you have said.
    With this blog evolution, I do think that I am on the advocate level.

  4. Congrats on what seems to have been a really good talk, Anton! Hopefully my blog would eventually reach the same level of “awesome-ness” as yours.:-)

  5. Hey.. it was nice meeting you. It was my first time to attend iBlog and I’ve been blogging for many many years already… now I know what I’ve been missing 😉 Thanks for sharing your knowledge to us!

  6. and the maven part is a haven for any bloggers. it takes lots of hardwork for one to reach to the top…
    and so many are actually still down there the artists and advocates, but one good thing to point here is, on all levels, blogging should be a happy and wonderful experience. 😀
    thumbs up here!

  7. Nice one Anton. Good to know that blogging is a journey and a continuous process. Like golf or any sports, it takes tremendous skills and dicipline to be the best.

  8. Looks like a very nice and interesting presentation.
    Of course it all depends on what you want to achieve… I have nothing against people who want to earn from their blogs or who want to be ranked as high as possible on blog lists. But in the end you might lose your soul in the process. Some people are very competitive and we need that kind of people. But I know a lot of people who just live their passion and share it with like minded people and that without the pressure of money earning schemes and top list ranking pressure. I am happy in the stage of an “artist-advocate” and I leave it to others to be entrepreneurs or mavens.
    I don’t earn anything with my blog and I am an unknown blogger among millions of other bloggers. But it is fun and I enjoy what I am doing.
    I might see you in Lucban if you are still roaming around on the 15th (Friday).

  9. Thanks for sharing this Anton..great talk! This is the first time I’ve ever encountered these stages and it looks like I’ve got a long way to go hehe:)

  10. ….since not everybody has the luxury to do things for free or as freebie it is only logical smart wise to do things possible into a ligit entrepreneurships o some sort of money making activities{incomes}to make sure family men women are independent self sufficient to be able to provide their families with all those unavoidable food clothing shelter education health care besides the non monetary necessities such as love 6 care….men are obligated to work to feel like a man{independent}but sometimes women do not have to.. to feel like a woman{taken cared but not proud of it]lol one of so many reasons our awesome planet blog site owned by filipino family anton diaz is worth many million american dollars bcoz world’s solutions are all almost here in this oap site but if some filipinos cannot find cannot put together the solutions of how to make millions of dollars worth of entrepreneurships from oap site topics then that is the difference between the caucasian races from all other races bcoz caucasians knows how to figure them out meaning they are by far smarter just look at charice pempengco arnel pineda manny pacman lani martin/las vegas etc. etc. it took foreigners foreign countries to know to discover to appreciate to materialized their talents reasons why america europe are advance economically and not thirl world in status coz they have the minds the visions the ideas of what great talents are about{economic properities-historical spiritual scientific advancements & powers etc}so please do! lol make create more economic social mights so long as success material things are ONLY second to love

  11. Your talk was one of the best at iBlog5. It Somehow gave direction to all the bloggers who atttended the event. I wonder what the other online business models are

  12. the only thing i want to know most what to upgrade better high tech & not as a commentator-blogger that often frustrates maybe are those everytime i hear read see remarks comments of so many filipinos in internet websites youtube in person o even here in filipino family diaz owned OUR AWESOME PLANET blog about how many of these filipinos cannot believe how good are philippines filipino breeds are meaning filipinos in majority do not realized how good how great how talented they are..that saddened me a lot bcoz that says a lot about how the philippines filipinos WASTED so many years NOT KNOWING HOW TALENTED HOW CREATIVE HOW GREAT THEY ARE AS CITIZENS OF THE WORLD i also noticed that they rely too much on how good they are based by what other people will say about them & NOT WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT THEMSELVES{CULTURALLY-HUMAN EXISTENCE]MEANING FOR MANY DECADES many filipinos do not even accept themselves as good-great talented as independent person with independent minds even in silence lol! when i was 4 years old i was already roaming around finding meeting people to know how they live as families in our neighborhoods i got to eat so many food-freebies and lots of gifts bcoz i was around lol! i can criticized scold refused not like anyone & still liked laughed about in what i was angry about when i get hurt and cry the offender get the spankings behind lol!..meaning knowing yourself the importance of your existence should not become an issue when these common senses are natural ‘should’ be a natural understanding i never heard any europeans o americans who doesnt know they are born with human & civil rights but they know they will be injustices ‘anywhere’ they know life is not fair sometimes bcoz of other people’s ignorances/biases but a natural occurrences though it inconvenient them.. for many past decades{not so much now}i wonder why philippine government did not educate millions of filipinos their own people to know their own cultures how wonderful great good local filipino cultures are so colorful exciting less complicated so innocent yet so sweet-loving in nature philippine government wasted so many years not instilling filipinos who they are as filipinos who are the filipinos really and that saddens me when i hear comments that filipinos do not know that they are world class also world ‘competitive’ maybe not always number one but good lord filipinos are so talented so creative so sweet & beautiful but NOT REALIZED earlier by so many by the millions no wonder they were once a third world country that is sad lol! the world is big and beautiful it is up to every world citizens to see the beauty tip is to ‘travel’ extensively locally every filipinos should know every corners of their country they belong filipinos should see those never seen those unheard stories-parts of the philippines to be truly a true blooded is the limit be brave be adventurous filipinos follow the philippines skies one direction at a time to find out who YOU really are as a i say to the brave hard working diligent philippines lady president do not look-see-feel any hardships-difficulties as problems but see them as ‘challenges’ COZ NO BRAVE can withstand all problems only ‘challenges’

  13. i love creative writing but this is my first time to actually read blogs.m liking it.looking forward to learn more about this and eventually see my self in this venue! thanks for the inspiration sir anton!

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