Why Blog?

On Thursday September 24th, 2009 I delivered a presentation to the ISTC conference. That presentation was titled “Why Blog?” and I thought I’d make available some of my notes.

You can download my presentation, or view it online.

Presentation Notes

What is a Blog?

  • Regularly updated website.
  • Organised in a ‘newest posts first’ chronology.
  • Often run using a tool that automates the process of posting (cheap / free low-grade)
  • May have a commenting facility to allow feedback.
  • May have archives of older posts.
  • May have links to other blogs/websites.

History of Blogging
Weblog – coined by Jorn Barger in 1997
“A weblog is a webpage where a weblogger ‘logs’ all the other webpages she finds interesting”

“We blog” – coined by Peter Merholz in 1999

Blogger platform created in August 1999.

State of the Blogosphere Today
Visitors to my blog are from all over the world

Why should your company blog?

  • As a way to keep your customers/audience informed
  • Interact directly with your customers
  • Respond to customers and their stories

Side effects of blogging:

  • Reveals the people behind the product, building familiarity and trust
  • Grows a sense of community
  • Allows better service from ‘real people’

Blogs are better than:

  • A website full of static pages of information
  • A newsletter sent out to inboxes
  • Forums requiring a log in, and too fine a level of granularity

Blogs combine elements of all of the above, and enable conversation and interaction.

But not every company should blog because
Blogging raises expectaton of openness and interactivity.

If you don’t want a conversation, don’t start one.

Do not:

  • Try and control the conversation
  • Use business-speak
  • Assume the audience have the same information you do
  • Ignore your audience

How will you measure the success of your blogs?

  • Links and traffic from other websites?
  • PR Mentions in other industry blogs?
  • Gather keywords that relate and research how your content is being received

Ultimately, you need to create valuable content, that will get you the top spot for searches for your posts in your niche area.

Why should you blog?
Blogging can help you and your career:

  • To connect, to converse, to share ideas and thoughts. Be part of the conversation.
  • Bring new opportunities, unknown and untapped ideas and ventures await (newsletters and conferences!)
  • Improve your Google-karma. Most employers will “Google” you, so what are you ‘saying’ online? Nothing might be a bad thing too. Equally for the self employed, Google likes blogs.
  • You’ve paid your dues, now give back to your community/profession.

Remember, you’ll get out, what you put in.

Is it just vanity publishing? It shouldn’t be, but there is an element of ego at play.

How do I get started?
1. Step away from the keyboard
WHAT will you blog about? Any niche ideas?

2. Get a blog.
Sign up for free on places like wordpress.com, or blogger.com.
Host your own, wordpress.org, and others.

3. Write regularly, comment on others, build your network. Join in the conversation.

Tips:

  • Success shouldn’t be measured by the number of comments
  • Personal blog? Write honestly, be yourself. People read blogs to get the PERSONAL take on things.
  • Corporate blog? It’s exactly the same. Do not be a mindless drone! Although you may need to consider setting up a blogging policy.

Why you should monitor blogs
People who blog tend to be monitoring areas of interest, the more people you find the longer the tail of information that can be gleaned from the Wisdom of the Crowd.

What does the future hold for blogging?
Web 2.0, Twitter, Wikis, Community & Conversation
How you deliver information now probably needs to change. Blogging is and will probably continue to be one of the main methods of interacting with your customers.
Anne Gentle’s book – Conversation and Community, The Social Web for Documentation

Social Media – despite everything that is new, blogging remains the centre point for most of this.

Why Blog?
To be part of the conversation, because that conversation is already happening with, or without, you.