I was recently at a social gathering with some very educated and sophisticated individuals. In the conversation I mentioned my new book (soon to be released) and my blog. Everyone immediately understood the concept of a book.....but the idea of a blog created many a puzzled face.
I was asked a lot of questions (some folks had heard of blogging, others had not). The following are the top questions, and my feeble attempt to answer them:
1. Why did you start your blog?
I started it as an experiment to help educate myself about blogs. My company is interested in having an industry focused blog, and I decided to take it upon myself to jump into the blogosphere and get my feet wet. In addition, I write a recurring column for Professional Marketing Magazine, and I thought that regularly writing a blog would give me some good practice and help me uncover themes for future articles. I also felt I could use it to help promote my new book, "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Keep and Grow Your Business Relationships".
2. Has it been worth it?
Yes!!! On all three of the above reasons I have exceeded my goals. I now understand the commitment involved if we create an industry blog. I have already created a lot of positive material that can later be turned into articles for my marketing column. AND.....I have sold a bunch of copies of my new book .....even before it is released.
3. Are all blogs the same?
NO. There are as many types of blogs are there are writers. I have categorized them into three types, but I am sure others would have arguments about these areas:
A. Corporate Blogs. These are hosted by companies to promote their products and services or to communicate with clients.
B. Philosophical / Content Blogs. In this type, an individual (or group of individuals) writes on a specific topic and shares their opinions with the readers. Topics can range from business to sports to politics to religion, etc.... I would put The Business Development / Networking Blog in this category. The blogs from which I learn the most are philosophical/content blogs.
C. Diaries. In these blogs people record their daily experiences the way one would write in a diary. Some of these can be quite entertaining, as they allow the voyeur in each of us to look into someone else's private world. However, reader beware...some of these can reveal a bit more than you want to read (or see).
4. Why would I want to read blogs?
They are a great way to discover information on any particular topic or variety of ideas. Many bloggers have very good sources of information and they certainly have opinions. As with any media source, you need to beware of the authors intent and ulterior motives. Also, blogs can just be interesting to read.
5. What have you learned from writing your blog?
Like the term "World Wide Web" only a decade ago, "Blogs, blogging and the blogosphere" are the new new thing, and are not just a "fad". If people are not yet aware of blogs, they will be soon. More and more blogs are created every day and blogs will soon touch everyone who surf the internet.
Having your own blog, however, is not for everyone. You must be committed to writing on a regular basis, and not shy about sharing your opinions. I have learned that a blog can go stale if you do not make posts on a regular basis.
I also learned that when you blog, you are actually networking. At first it seemed like this was one sided, until I began to hear from people who were regularly reading my blog. I have developed new friendships with many bloggers who write about similar topics. Often one blogger will email another with a compliment or suggestion, and they will begin to correspond regularly. Just like any other type of business friendship, the relationship grows over time. This blog-networking leads to mutual understanding and respect between the bloggers and then can lead to business relationships and referrals.
6. Should I start a blog?
That is a question every person will have to answer for himself/herself. I
would suggest you begin by reading other blogs and getting familiar with what is out there in blog-land. If you believe that you have something to say...then by all means, start a blog. But remember to be patient and persistent. Like writing a book, it takes time and there is no guarantee that you will become widely read. However if you are dedicated, you will uncover many unexpected benefits from your blogging experience.
If you are interested in easily learning a lot about blogs.... I suggest you start by reading the posts and links in the series called "31 Days to Better Blogs" at ProBlogger.net, hosted by Darren Rowse. This is the best collection of suggestions to the experienced and novice blogger.
To read all my most current posts to The Business Development / Networking Blog, click here.
Have A Great Day.