Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Justin Germino (a.k.a. DragonBlogger). Now, I don't know Justin personally, but I had always found him to be helpful and courteous when crossing paths with him in blogging communities (like Blog Engage), as well as Facebook, and Twitter (Don't miss the #SocialCafe Twitter Chat with Justin Wed, 1/16 at 3p EST).
In a world where image is important, almost essential to some, it was refreshing to “meet” Justin via the video interview and find that Justin is not just an image, but he is truly genuine. I know, you may be thinking, “Yeah, right. You can tell that from an interview?” My response? “Yes, I think I can.” But, don't take my word for it, watch the video interview and see for yourself!
Not only was I impressed by how authentic Justin was, but I found that he has so much to offer, as lessons for other bloggers, even in his own example and his personality, which is a personality that exudes “sharing” and helping others. Justin is not the type to discover successful techniques and horde these discoveries as heavily guarded secrets just for himself and for his team. No, this blogger shares what he learns, positive and negative, helping other bloggers to find that path of positive progress and success and warning them against techniques that may have detrimental effects on their efforts. He challenges his audience to try it for themselves, and even improve on it if they can.
DragonBlogger Lesson 1: Authenticity
Justin is the real deal. He does not shy, or reel in fear, from being real. That takes courage, but it also causes people to be drawn to that authenticity and find a camaraderie in the “realness” or scratch their heads and say, “What makes that guy tick.” Either way, it is a non-threatening approach that draws people into the community. Interestingly, it is actually very effective as a business tool, but the irony is that it doesn't work if it is a tool, because it would lack authenticity. Authenticity starts with looking in the mirror, understanding oneself, understanding where there is room for improvement, and saying, “That's ok.” Or, more simply put, discarding the “fake,” put-on, and allowing your true self to shine. That is what Justin has figured out and it is working for him!
Action Step: Don't fear being “real” with your audience. (It is actually fun!)
DragonBlogger Lesson 2: Share
It has already been said, but one of the things that Justin does is to share what he has learned and what works and what doesn't work with his efforts. He also follows through on his commitments and does his own analysis, and then shares that with his readers so that they can take his experience and improve on it with their own efforts (hopefully sharing, again, with the blogging community).
Action Step: Share with your audience. Share a bit of yourself, and also, share some tips, and lend a helping hand.
“Finding What Works and Doesn't Work” in full video.
DragonBlogger Lesson 3: Pick Yourself Up and Look Forward
A subtitle that came to mind for this section was, “Own Your Efforts / Take Responsibility.” I really appreciate how Justin is candid about the Google Page Rank loss that he experienced. He doesn't make excuses. He calls it what it is and he explains how he lost the page rank and also shares how he regained the page rank. Just like the first lesson, he was authentic, and as with the second lesson, he shared what “didn't work” in this case. He also continued to support his community and showed that the loss did not impact his traffic. Oh, page rank may be important, but part of the reason that Justin did not suffer the loss to the extent that others may feel they would experience is because he didn't let it get him down. He picked up right where he was at and continued to do what works. And, he showed us that picking yourself up and walking forward IS successful.
Action Step: Hit a roadblock or a bump? Don't let it stop you. Move through and past it. Don't waste time with complaining about the mishap, take your last look in the rear-view mirror and move forward.
“Justin Talks About Google” in full video.
DragonBlogger Lesson 4: Find Your Personality
You have a personality. Your blog has a personality. Sometimes it is the same personality. Sometimes it is not. Many people, including me, including Justin, started with some vague lines of what “fits” within a particular blog, but as we grow as bloggers, the blog personality started to emerge (if we let it). Beyond determining the niche and core pillars of his dragonblogger.com blog, Justin also defines the personality of his approach to reviews. He chooses to approach it as positive as possible, with an analysis of ROI (return on investment), but taking into consideration that if the investment is low, the feature set is understandably low, as well. This is an example of how Justin has not only defined the niche (which includes offering reviews on his blog), but how he approaches his reviews (personality of the blog). He does not strip his dragon blogger team of their personalities, but rather has a clear sight of what dragonblogger.com is and what it is not so that the diversity of the team highlights that niche and personality of the blog.
Action Step: Take some time to determine what your blog(s) would define as its niche and personality.
Justin's “Philosophy on Reviews” in full video.
DragonBlogger Lesson 5: Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Keeping with the personality of sharing, Justin does not horde credit. As an example, in his contests, he finds ways to share and to highlight those bloggers who help him out with the contest, featuring them on his blog home page and “giving back.” Even the other day, I “overheard” Justin saying some nice things about me on Facebook. Hey, you know what? That feels good! And, it is an honor that Justin allowed me the privilege to be the first one to interview him via video.
Action Step: Don't fear sharing the credit. It doesn't always have to be about us. Share… it usually comes back. And, what would the world become if we tried to out-share each other?
“Dragon Blogger Contests” in full video.
That said, is it any small wonder that talking to Justin inspired me to do the same and give credit, with this article? To learn more about Justin and his team, visit dragonblogger.com.