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April 2010 Archives

So, how are you doing on your resolution to finally keep up with this social media thing?karma_police.jpg

I'm behind, of course, but the spring is always busy. However, I wanted to share a story with you that might convince you of the value of investing time in blogging. 

Let's face it: blogging is the most time-intensive form of Web 2.0/3.0 content generation there is. Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter are pretty quick. (That's part of the reason why I recommend Facebook if you do nothing else.) I've talked to professional P.R. and media consultants, and they all roll their eyes when it comes to finding the time to blog. Why? Despite the huge proliferation of word-based media, writing is still darned hard.

1. It takes uninterrupted time (who has that?)
2. You have to have something to say.
3. You have to make yourself do it, rather than anything else.

Now, I'm an English major, as you know. I've completed a 160,000 word novel, and have started on the second. I frequently write 10-pp grants in one or two days. So if I find blogging challenging, you can be it actually is. So ease up on yourself a bit about that.

Here's why you need to blog: A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a colleague with whom I worked on a project two jobs and seven years ago. I hear from him once or twice a year via LinkedIn, and that's about it. But he needed help with a major client, and came to me, saying, "I read your whole blog, and you're the person we need to talk with." I did, and we had a great conversation, and there may be some future collaborations.

Now, I didn't realize my colleague had been reading my blog, but clearly it was a major factor in why he approached me for the project. Interestingly, it wasn't the specific topical content of each of my entries that convinced him. It was more that he had insight into how I think and work. (Remember that point; we'll be coming back to it.)

So, let's deal with the three reasons we all have difficulty blogging.

1. Uninterrupted time. I get this one - I have small children, remember? Frequently I can't even get in the shower or use the bathroom without a visitor. Fortunately, there are physical solutions. Turn off the phone (OMG! OMG! OMG!). Or at least, put it on silent. That's why you have voicemail, after all. Don't answer your email - for half an hour. Shut the door if you have one.
2. Something to say. Another colleague of mine recently remarked, "Whenever I start a project, I have to remind myself that my first ideas aren't sh---y." I laughed, but I know what he means. It's very easy to think that one is called upon to come up with an idea as revolutionary as string theory or Keynesian economics, and to feel entirely unequal to the task. Truth is, there isn't a lot that's new under the sun anyway. Blogging is about being authentic, rather than authoritative. Remember my story above? I didn't get the call because my blog entries deserve to be recorded as part of the greats of Western literature. I got the call because they were enough to convince my colleague that I was smart and likeable. So take a little idea and run with it. That's enough.
3. Making yourself do it. This is hard if you're an avoidance person. But blogging is actually a lot of fun, when you loosen up and use your authentic (see above), real voice. I tend to blog without editing, other than a quick spell check and read-through to be sure I've caught typos and stupid errors. Schedule in the time if you have to. Just do it.

My larger point is that good blogging is basically giving out free advice to your clients and customers. If you come across an interesting article, have a great idea in the shower, or hear something in passing, chances are the people you work with and/or serve would like to know, too. The more you give out, the more likely you are to get back. Quality counts, too, but the first step is simply to do it. It's karma.

So get out there and have fun! Can't wait to hear from you.








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