Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bloggedy Blog Blawg - Part Two

The following article is one I wrote that appears on the site, Network in Austin. The article is currently on their "Resources" Page.

Bloggedy Blog Blawg – Part Two
By Thom Singer

Why blog?

With so many people starting blogs, it is clear that this form of communication is here to stay. But why would anyone want to read blogs or write one of their own?

To begin with, I recommend that you find five or six blogs that interest you, and read them on a regular basis. This could be business, personal diaries, politics or any other of the hundreds of themes that exist in the blogosphere. Blogs can be a great way to get news or discover specific information. One word of caution, you need to remember that unlike a newspaper that has editorial standards (or at least is supposed to have them!), a blog has no rules. Therefore the information you receive is not necessarily factual. Reader beware!

However, you will also find blogs that provide you with different prospectives than you might find in more traditional publications. I have about a dozen marketing/business blogs that I read regularly, and a few more just for entertainment, and I appreciate all of them for what they provide.

Writing a blog is not for everybody, although if you search the blogs that exist on the web, you might feel that everyone on the planet does have a blog. There are many online services that offer free or inexpensive tools with which you can create and publish a professional looking blog in just minutes. The website where this article appears, NetworkInAustin.com, also has a service to host blogs for its members.

The hard part about writing a blog is making the commitment. Many great blogs get stale if the blogger does not post regularly. In order to be appealing for readers to return to your site, you need to continually offer them fresh material. I try to write a short post every weekday before I go to work. Many seasoned bloggers tell me that this will be hard to keep up over time, and that I may wish to move to posting twice a week. I am not sure what I will do for the long term, but I get to make the rules, so therefore, there are no rules for my blog. I even recently introduced the “Weekend Blog”, where I write about or link to things that interest me that are not about marketing, biz dev or networking.

Another advantage of blogging on a regular basis is that you will create a body of written work that can later be used for industry articles, company newsletters or a future book. I have heard that those who have widely read blogs are often featured as sources for the traditional media who produce stories that coincide with their field of expertise. The reporters found them on-line through their blog. If publicity for your product or service is one of your goals, creating a blog that is full of useful information will help you raise your visibility. Another feature of a blog is that readers can freely add comments to what they read. If you allow this on your blog, you do need to be prepared for some not-so-positive feedback.

A blog can become a community-gathering place for your readers. If you create a business-focused blog, your customers and others can regularly come to read about what is the going on inside your company or industry. This can be a much more personal type of communication than an annual report or standard press release. Many large companies have begun having their CEO, or other executives, post daily messages. Although most companies do not open up these blogs to reader comments, some have found that it allows customers to freely comment, and they can learn from the positive and negative responses.

If nothing else, you should familiarize yourself with blogs and blogging because they are becoming a real part of today’s society. Hopefully if you are at a cocktail party and you are asked; “Do you blog?” you will know what the heck they are talking about. Your answer might even be, “YES, I do!”

Have a great day.

Thom Singer

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