Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category
We talk about blogging as if it’s a single thing. But in reality, there are all kinds of blogs — among them, business, personal, news, special purpose.
I’ve found it helpful — for myself and my clients — to establish a blog where I post information related to my business. This is it. It doesn’t particularly look like a corporate blog, though it uses the same basic logo and name as my business. And because Facebook and Twitter have become our de facto public square, I can link blog items to Facebook and Twitter posts to reach a broader audience. My business blog at newmediarules.net rarely mentions my business per se, but it promotes it in a more subtle way. (Presumably, somebody might read an item and get an idea for a project on which I can be of service.)
Let’s say you may have a particular interest and wish to post information for a defined audience. Let’s say you’ve researched your family’s history and need a place where you and other family members can post documents, photos and similar information. There are lots of ways you can do this, but a blog serves the purpose nicely.
Sometimes you have things to say that just don’t fit on a business page, and they’d be hopelessly off topic on a defined purpose page. For me, that’s where the personal blog located at mediaguycarl.com comes in. I fought this idea for quite a while, but I finally applied the principle that lexicographers use to determine whether to put a new word in the dictionary: Whether we need it. I kept bumping across situations in which I had something to say that exceeded the 140-word (Twitter) and 420-word (Facebook) limits, yet was still general enough in nature that it didn’t fit anywhere else. If I want to take a photo of a cute puppy or funny sign, I can simply upload it from my Android to my personal blog in a minute or so, and it goes automatically to both my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Plus, I get around the word limits, and it lets me get the personal stuff out of my system without diluting my business-oriented blog.
Finally, note that a personal blog can be quite versatile if you use it right. For example, I have interests in woodworking and genealogy, and while I could set up defined purpose blogs for those, I’m planning to just integrate them into the personal blog.
There are lots of free blogging platforms available, and most are pretty good. I tried Tumblr and Posterous for my personal blog but came back to hosted WordPress. Do what works best for you.
A lot of us have several different interests, blogs and sites. We can’t say everything to everybody every time we have contact with them, and besides, most people aren’t interested in everything we may do. So why not set up a page or just create a blog post with all the different places we can be found? That way, you can just put it all out there with one shortened URL.
So here’s mine:
- www.newmediarules.com – My main site for my public relations agency, which specializes in the auction industry.
- www.newmediarules.net – My blog about how to communicate more effectively, with an emphasis on best ways to use different media.
- Carl’s Lost & Found – Mostly a holding place for personal stuff that’s too long for Twitter or Facebook. There’s no theme at all; just whatever doesn’t fit elsewhere. (Really make you want to jump right on over there, doesn’t it?)
- Twitter: mediaguycarl
- Facebook: CarlCarter
- Auctioneer Magazine – I’m a regular columnist, with articles every other month about how auctioneers can better market their services and properties.
Should you be blogging? Maybe, maybe not. To figure out whether a blog is a worthwhile communications medium for your business, you need to understand the current realities of business blogging. (Note: I’m calling it business blogging to distinguish it from personal blogging, which is a different animal. The assumption in this post is that you want your blog to help build your business or promote your career in some way.)
So here are a few things your blog will and won’t do for you. We’ll start with the things it won’t do so we can end on a positive note.
What your blog probably won’t do:
- Make you famous. Sorry to say it, but it’s going to take more than a blog to turn your name into a household word. Why? In short, because as with most Internet-based media, there are no barriers to entry. You can launch a blog in an hour without spending a penny. It’s like that Monster.com commercial where everybody runs out onto the tennis court and nobody can tell who the real players are. You have to find ways to get noticed.
- Gain a large base of loyal readers. Sorry again, but that’s not what blogging of any sort is about for most people. But that’s OK. You can still push people to your blog. Keep reading.
What your blog can do:
- Keep you thinking. Your blog is a commitment. You’re creating a monster that has to be fed. It takes time, but we all need to take time to step back, look at our industry, and think through how we go about it. I have two blogs (the other one is www.overcoffeemedia.com, which focuses on media trends). They force me to stay on top of my game, because they’re always there saying, “OK, smart guy. What are you going to come up with next?”
- Establish your credibility. Know the real difference between book authors and the rest of us? Guys who write books actually sit down and write. They don’t necessarily know more than the guys who don’t write, but they use what they have. Your blog, for a much smaller time commitment, can do the same for you.
- Give you a place to send customers and prospects. While you probably won’t gain a large following, you don’t need to. Rather, think of your blog as one tool in your media toolkit.
- Start beneficial conversations. For many businesses, everything starts with a conversation. Your readers can comment or ask questions, and those can lead to selling opportunities.
Of course, none of this happens if nobody ever sees your blog. So how do you get people to look at it? By using it as part of a comprehensive media strategy. By itself, it probably won’t do you any good. Combined with other tools, it it can be powerful. We’ll talk about ways to use it with other tools in the next post.