February 22, 2018

To Be Successful, Write About Success

To be successful, write about success


I’m going to help you become more successful. That’s my mission.

So, here’s how you’re going to do it:

You're going to succeed by helping others succeed.

You can rest assured that people the world over want to be successful.

There's a market for that, a need for that. You almost cannot go wrong with helping people do that.

So, help them get there. Help them succeed at something they care about.

Write about success.

 And that's how you will succeed.


What You Need To Do

 I know you want to:

  • Get more attention.
  • Reach more people.
  • Connect more deeply
  • Build a loyal and enthusiastic audience

So, here's what you do: You write human-friendly content on something that you have done successfully.

Starting a business. Fly-fishing. Learning a language.

I don't know specifically where your experience lies. But use direct experience in solving those kinds of problems ... to help others succeed.

Build everything around that goal of helping others succeed.

Build a community around that. Engage with your audience on that topic. Subordinate your own needs to helping others succeed.

Make their success the be-all-and-end-all of your efforts.

Show that this is your mission.

And people will flock to you.


 Success Is Your Leverage

 We need to understand this success thing.

Because once you bring the element of success to the table, then all sorts of things emerge.

Attention. Leverage. Influence. Relevance. Responses.

You are a purveyor of success with a track record.

If you can talk about success – if you’re qualified to talk about success in some form - then you’re relevant. People want to hear what you have to say. They respond by reading, sharing, liking.

This is called influence.

And it all happens naturally.

Because whenever you talk (knowledgeably) about success, something powerful goes to work below the surface.


People Are Driven Towards Stories Of Success

 Have you ever noticed how kids are naturally attracted to success?

I mean, consider how they go nuts for stories. Sit them down, tell them a fairy-tale, and watch how they go into an altered state. Transfixed.

But when you look closely at any fairy-tale or any kids’ book, you discover that it’s actually a story about success.

All stories create interest by hinging on success. The prince finding his princess. The long haired teenager escaping from witches in high towers. Kids winding their way home with breadcrumbs. Pigs outwitting wolves.

 Success stories. Or stories about the need to succeed.

The drive to succeed is a universal human drive. And it’s real deep down inside who we are. It manifests clearly in all children.

But it goes beyond childhood: I defy you to name a movie of any kind that isn’t about struggle, triumph, and success.

You can’t name one because there isn’t one.

All of us. Every one of us. We’re all pulled towards the idea of success, the chance of success, the story of success.

And that’s where the leverage comes in.

Because we want to hear from the people show show us how to succeed.


Your Readers

 Your readers are as attracted to success as those children are.

But to real-life success. And to how they can achieve it.

Because your readers are struggling.

And until they triumph, they feel anxiety.

They fret over success, worry themselves sick over success.

They just can’t help it.

In a sense, they worry about getting eaten by bears. They have those same kinds of fears.

Not real bears, of course. Figurative ones.

 Like the fear of getting eaten by failure. Or the fear of getting fired or swallowed up in something they can’t control. Or the fear of not being up to some challenge.

Figurative bears. Figurative wolves.

Figurative witches.

But the fear is real. And it keeps coming. If they solve one problem they just move on to the next.

They fear loss, they fear change, they fear uncertainty.

And they want you to end it for them.


Your Readers Are Needy

 All human beings are needy. Instinctively needy. I'm needy now and so are you. This understanding is a pillar, I think, of creating human-friendly content.

And all human beings need to triumph over adversity – whatever form that adversity may take for them. All human beings need success.

That drive is our modern-day version of the survival instinct. It’s always there, always on the look-out. You can’t really switch it off.

The need to succeed is the need to survive – in modern clothing.

And although there are differing versions of it, that drive (and your leverage)  never goes away.

 Success is a big effing deal.

People seek it out. They congregate in places where they find it. They bond with like-minded seekers.

There’s a lot to like here about success.


Help Them Succeed


 I ask you to mediate on some of this. Because I would argue that the single most important characteristic of your audience – from the human perspective - is their neediness.

And if you can grasp this truth you canbecome part of their lives.

You can become real intimate, real relevant, real influential. (All in good faith, of course.)

Always start from what your audience needs and wants. Always try to define success in their terms.

This is what the most successful content creators do. And they are very clear about what that particular type of success is.


 Ryan Biddulph shows people how to travel the world and pay for it by blogging. This is massive success for his demographic.

Adrienne Smith shows people (with some seriously human-friendly content) how to connect with audiences and build the all-important relationships. Success.

Sue Anne Dunlevie shows people then right way to get started with blogging. She has defined a very real need for success for her readers in a very specific way.

These people are satisfying real human needs. And that's the secret of their own success. It’s what allows them to reach wide and deep and become part of their readers’ lives.


Success Is Not Abstract

 And so it is that people show up on your blog because they’re driven to solve a problem, or overcome some kind of adversity.

Don’t think that any of this is abstract. It’s not abstract at all. It’s very, very real.

And you have to go from universal needs to the particular needs of your audience. You have to make your offering real and specific and effective.

Because there’s something specific that your audience really needs to do. Rest assured that they are looking for a specific kind of success.

 They may want to build a business or get out of debt. They may want to  establish a brand, or a reputation, or a following, or achieve some other specific thing.

To them it’s not an abstract generality. It’s real and compelling and it causes anxiety and pain if they don’t have it.

They show up on your blog because they want to relieve that anxiety.


Here’s What You Can Do

About It

 If you want to be successful, write about success.

Show your audience how to do something that they care about. Use instructions. Use perspective. Use motivation.

But be specific. How will they be transformed by your content? What will success look like when they’re done?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, find out. Because those answers need to become your obsession.

Find out what drives your readers.

What are their particular fears? What are the things they’re trying to escape? How do they define success? What is the transformation they want you to help them with?

  Ask them. Even if you only have 20 readers, ask them. All of them. Personally. Believe me, the pattern will emerge.

Then make sure you’re showing them how to achieve that thing. Constantly.

Not just by commenting on it or describing it in some detached way.

But by being knee-deep in the problem. Hammering the hell out of that thing. Examining it from every angle. Probing it to the max.

Solving. The. Problem.


The Single Most Powerful Thing 

 The single most powerful thing you can do as a content creator is to help people succeed at something they care about.

If you convince them that they can succeed and do what it is they want to do, then everyone wins.

[It goes without saying that you need to have expertise in the field. Don’t write about things where you lack direct experience. Suggestions and help are of no benefit if they’re not based on real-life experience. Readers don’t want your ideas. They want your secrets.]

So, show your audience how to be successful at something they care about. By doing that you’re leveraging the most powerful driver in human nature: The survival instinct.

To be successful, write about success.


Tell Me More


 So, I ask you now: How do you want to succeed? What does it mean for you? What is the problem you’re trying to resolve? Tell me and if it’s related to content, media, or building a business around content then I’ll do all I can to help.

My guess is that it’s something along these lines: You want to do great work. Significant work. Work that means something and changes lives.

Then you want to build an audience around that work.

And from there you want to establish or build or grow a business.

Well, I’ve done that more than once in the past. And I plan to do it again, here.

So, tell me more. Don’t wait. Let me know how I can help you to succeed.

 And don’t forget to sign up.



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  1. Bert Russel says:

    These are good suggestions. I like that there’s just on real point that you make rather than another list – most people just offer lists. I feel you’ve made me think about success in a new way. It’s also true that people are almost always attracted to success stories.

  2. Adrienne says:

    Hi Ken,

    Imagine my surprised when I saw that you had mentioned me in your post. I’m very flattered and happy to be listed here and with some other pretty awesome people as well.

    I love your message and boy are you right. I know that people get tired of hearing that if you help enough people get what they want then you’ll get what you want. Well they say that because it’s true. I’ve had so many people go out of their way to help me with things and support me because of the connections I’ve made. Has this helped with leading me to success? You bet it has along with everything else you’re listing here of course.

    This is a me me me society so if we can remember that and just help your audience succeed then they’ll keep coming back to you time and time again. If you offer programs, services, courses, coaching, whatever they’ll be eager to buy from you. It’s really all it takes.

    Great share Ken and thank you again. Love your site, keep up the excellent message and I’ll have to make my way back around.

    Enjoy your weekend.


  3. Ken Carroll says:


    Glad you got something from it.

    I think lists are ok – perfectly fine, most of the time. But there are other ways to convey information and get across points. So I think it’s probably good to get away from lists only.

    Thanks for stopping by and feel free to comment any time.


  4. Ken Carroll says:


    I think I’m as surprised as you are – to see your comment so fast and so nice and so HUMAN FRIENDLY.

    Human friendly to me isn’t just being nice – though that helps. It’s about being helpful but it’;s more than that. To my mind it’s about acting in ways that really connect with others, really in keeping with who we are are. And I can think of no better example than yourself.

    I look forward to exchanging ideas in the future. Adrienne.


  5. Bob says:

    We’re all aiming for success. However, it can be an elusive target. Thanks for the insights, Ken — the scope lens is now less foggy, the essentials more clearly in focus.

    Like me, those I reach out to want to succeed. But, like me, they’re struggling, afraid, and anxious. Yes, needy. And probably exhausted from all the struggling. Without stick-to-itiveness, the road dead-ends. Napoleon Bonaparte’s words ring true: “The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.” The journey towards success goes nowhere unless one weary foot gets placed in front of the other, step after step after step. Keeping the focus on others’ needs keeps those feet moving.

  6. Ken Carroll says:


    Agreed. Success can be, erm, elusive.

    But I sometimes think that half the battle is knowing what it is we actually want – or actually need.

    Then at other times, I think, “No. That’s not it.” It’s all about perseverance.

    Endurance. Perseverance. It’s probably true that perseverance wins out in the end. As long as we don’t drop dead in the meantime.

    Have I had too much coffee this morning or what?


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