Have you ever experienced a serious setback?
A death in the family or a chronic and debilitating illness, for instance?
When Jon Morrow was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the tender age of one, his mother was told that he would slowly lose mobility until he died without ever leaving childhood.
Decades later, the boy who wasn’t expected to live grew up to become one of the most successful writers on the internet.
He has written posts that have reached millions of readers across the world, worked for CopyBlogger, taught tens of thousands of students, including several of the most successful bloggers and marketers in the blogosphere, and created a multimillion dollar business.
And he does all of this from a wheelchair, without the ability to move anything but his face.
I heard of Jon Morrow from a top Medium writer who kicked off his writing career after taking a class from Morrow.
So of course I decided I had to try it out for myself.
It was a fantastic decision.
In less than a year after beginning my apprenticeship with Jon Morrow, I:
- gained thousands of followers
- 10x’d my mailing list
- become a Medium top writer in multiple categories
- and was featured on sites such as The Mission, The Writing Cooperative, The Startup, and on sites like Scary Mommy, Thought Catalogue, Writers in the Storm, and more.
So…how did that all happen? What were the most helpful lessons I’ve learned from Jon Morrow, the Guy Who Can’t Move Anything But His Face (his words, not mine!)
Lesson #1 Give Your Readers What They REALLY Want
To be a successful writer, you need to find out what your readers want.
Not what you THINK they want, or what you think they SHOULD want. You need to know what your readers REALLY want.
And then you need to find a way to help them get there. That’s the one and only “trick.”
How do you find out what people really want?
Clue: Think about the basic needs every human has, and then focus on the particular one(s) that motivate YOUR audience in every article you write.
If you’re not sure what that is, check this out:
And if you want to be more clear about your readers wants and needs, check out popular writers who are targeting the audience you’d like to write for. Study what topics they commonly write about, and how their audience responds.
Make a list or a spreadsheet and look for patterns. Then use these tried and proven patterns to plan not only your own articles, but your overall content strategy.
Lesson #2 Pick and Stick With ONE Niche
To be a truly successful writer, you can’t write about everything under the sun. You also can’t write about everything you feel like writing about.
For example, a blog on traveling for people with serious permanent disabilities might sound interesting to you, but if the market is not large enough, it won’t work.
Instead, you have to zero in on your niche, your Zone of Magic — the one topic you love and know about, and other people love and WANT TO know about.
But there’s a strategy to finding profitable online niches:
As Morrow teaches, there are well-established broader niche categories, and your particular niche MUST fall into one of them to be viable. The categories include:
- Creative endeavors
- …and more
If your article does not fall into one of these larger niches, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and find an interest of yours that DOES.
Lesson #3 Spy on the Best
If you want to succeed, you need to find and connect with influencers in your niche.
You do this not only so you can see what the pros are doing, but so that you can write for them and expand your reach in the blogosphere (this is called guest blogging).
Established blogs have large and loyal audiences and have proven that a particular niche or certain article topics really WORK.
But how do you find these blogging leaders and influencers?
First step, use Google or Feedly (a blog aggregator) to find blogs on topics you are interested in.
Second, evaluate the sites you find to see which ones are popular and worth learning from?
How do you evaluate them? Consider these factors:
- How many comments and social shares do the articles on the blog have? (To get the most accurate results, use a service like Buzzsumo to check out social share stats — you can get a free trial for 7 days)
- Does the site allow contributing writers (you will want to expand your reach by writing for their site once you’ve decided on your niche)
- Ask yourself: To what extent does this blog match the audience you have in mind?
Once you’ve done your research, compile a list of bloggers you want to focus on and start reading their top posts.
Then follow them, study what they do, and even try reaching out to them personally (and politely) to start forming relationships and accelerate your growth!
Lesson #4 Guest Blog
As mentioned in tip #3, you want to look for top bloggers in your niche not only to learn from them, but also to write for them, (if they allow guest bloggers).
Because as a beginning blogger, your audience is tiny to nonexistent, and the fastest way to grow that audience is to borrow from already-established audiences.
Since these influencers you’ve found are already successfully established in your chosen niche, they have an existing audience of people that would most likely be interested in YOUR writing as well…if only they knew about it.
That’s why you want to write for these established, popular sites. If you do a good job, not only will the influencer be thankful that you contributed helpful content, but you will be able to get on the radar of your target audience.
So how do you get into guest blogging? Some sites openly call for guest post proposals. For other sites, you’ll have to do some digging on Google.
If you want a good chance at becoming a guest blogger at your target site, remember to read their requirements carefully and follow them. And, the most important step is to study the site to learn what kind of content they want!
Lesson #5 Write Headlines Readers WANT to Read
Every reader either WANTS something, or they want to AVOID something.
Which means you’ll need to focus on those two desires when you are writing articles, and, more importantly, headlines.
Everyone also has an OBSESSION of some sort or another — food, fashion, family, etc. — something that they think about all the time and will never have enough of.
If you can combine the obsession with satisfying the desire and/or evoking the fear in the same headline, and then expand on that in your article, you have a winner.
Also: Remember to be specific over being clever, because people will not click on your article unless they are intrigued, or they know they will benefit from your writing.
Your headline is first and sometimes the only thing readers see when deciding whether or not to read your article, so make it a good one!
Don’t Just Take My Word For It
These are only 5 of the paradigm-shifting lessons I learned from Jon Morrow. If I had to describe everything else I’ve learned, I could probably write a book.
More importantly, taking his course took me step by step through a process of application and practice that is far more valuable than just reading a bunch of tips once.
Jon Morrow taught me not only how to write better, but how to find and reach readers and editors of top blogs and media outlets.
So if you’ve ever had any interest in writing for:
- business sites like Forbes and Fast Company
- writing/creativity sites like Writers in the Storm and The Write Life
- personal development sites like Tiny Buddha and Lifehack
- tech blogs like Hubspot and TechCrunch
…or any other top parenting, freelancing, creative or marketing blogs with skilled editors and massive audiences to grow your skills and your reach, then I would highly recommend giving Morrow’s Guest Blogging course a try.
Even if you’re not interested in writing for Forbes, the Jon’s tips on online writing is enough on its own to significantly level up your skills and bring you that much closer to your ultimate writing goals.
One Good Idea Can Change Everything
It’s been said that one good idea at the right time can change everything. I know it certainly did that for me.
Actually, I didn’t learn JUST one idea from Jon Morrow. The man is chock-full of insights and strategies gleaned from decades of writing, marketing, and teaching some of the most successful online writers today.
And the most amazing thing is that he does it all from a wheelchair, unable to move anything but his face.
In fact, that’s one of the biggest factors that drew me to this teacher in the first place. I figured that a man who has overcome such wrenching personal challenges must have something helpful to teach me and all writers.
And I wasn’t wrong. 😉
If you liked the free video course and want to give the official course a run for its money, forward your registration confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will send you my personal indexed notes — notes that I still refer to, to this day, to remind myself of all of the most useful writing secrets. 😉
Once again, here’s the link to Guest Blogging if you want to write for big sites and revolutionize your writing life!