The trip to Dallas was a quick one.

We’d had the date circled on our calendars for weeks – ever since our client, Jon Acuff, set up a book signing at the flagship location for Half Price Books. We did tour media surrounding the event but, because it was only 3 hours from our home base in Austin, we also wanted to make the trip to see him in-person.

Not only is Jon one of our favorite clients – just a joy to work alongside – but he’s also someone I have learned a lot from through the years about how to build and truly connect with an audience.

I believe he’s one of the best case studies available for an author, speaker and thought leader who has not only built a fantastic community, but who serves that community day in and day out with a focus on helping them achieve their goals and dreams. I see a lot of thought leaders who have created big platforms, but not everyone does it the right way. Jon is certainly one of those that do.

As a result of the connection he fosters with his audience day in and day out – online and off – he’s created one of the largest followings in the business/career/faith space.

We were honored to have the opportunity to work with him, the fabulous team at his publisher, Portfolio, and his literary agency, our friends at Yates & Yates, to launch his most recent book, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck, which hit the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller lists, and I was excited to finally get the chance to meet him in person.

I made the trip to Dallas with two goals in mind.

The first was to support him and have him meet the team he’d been working with throughout the launch. The second was to draw some inspiration from his message and learn as much as I could about how truly connects with his audience.

The reality is that although I’ve spent my career helping other people start conversations that matter by building a platform for their message, I have never done it myself.

Two things – two lines actually – from that night helped give me the motivation I needed to finally start this blog.

The first was a line he used in response to a question from an audience member about how to build a great blog. Jon said “it’s easy to start a blog, but it’s incredibly hard to stick with it and build a successful blog.”

This is so true – it’s something I’ve seen play out time and time again through the years.

To be clear, Jon wasn’t bragging or claiming to be the world’s best blogger but he was reminding the audience that a successful blog is the result of a ton of hard work that builds up over a long period of time.

Blogging week in and week out is a tough grind, particularly at the start when feedback, comments and even an audience are scarce and I think I have been putting off starting a blog because I’m afraid I won’t stick with it, which will provide a bad example for the clients we support.

That line from Jon stuck with me after the trip and, I hope, will help me stick it out on this blog when the grind gets challenging.

The second line was the 3-hour one that wrapped around the entire store after he finished speaking. This line was filled with people waiting to meet Jon, snap a picture and get a signed copy of Do Over.

Each person in that line had their own unique story of how Jon’s message had impacted their life and I got the feeling in watching him smile and listen to each one of those stories that they provide much of the fuel needed to consistently put time and energy into providing content for his audience.

I’m humbly driven by the same stories I hear from clients, audience members from past speaking engagements and others who mention that something I taught them impacted their lives in a positive way, though certainly on a much smaller scale than he.

I love to teach and I’m hopeful that this blog will provide insights, resources and hopefully some humor that helps readers like you to master the new media landscape so you can start conversations that matter.

So, welcome to my new blog – something I hope will quickly turn into our new blog as we work together to expand the reach of your message in an increasingly confusing and overloaded media environment.

Our first qualifier for potential new clients at Shelton Interactive is whether or not we think we’ll have fun working alongside them and that’s the same qualifier I used in starting this blog – will it be fun?

I hope so and I hope, over time, it will be a lot of fun for you too.