An odd thing happened at work. Someone thought my advice and experience in blogging was useful and should be shared with others. I, of course, was mortified.
Has anybody actually read my blog? I thought not.
It felt like when you wave to someone who’s calling out to you, only to realize too late they are talking to the person behind you. Embarrassing to say the least. So when I got the Skype message on my laptop with the request, I immediately looked behind me. Yet, no one was lurking, ready to be a real blogger.
Oh no. It’s me they want.
I immediately booked a flight to Timbuktu, Mali and chucked all my electronic devices. If they want me to say something, anything, they’re going to have to find me first!
Going incognito in Mali has its fashion drawbacks. Plus the camels are surly and it scorches to 118 Fahrenheit on a good day! (At least so in 2007 when I first went).
Who needs that. So I stayed.
Eventually I could not resist the technology temptation, so I dusted off the iPhone and placed the laptop back in its precarious position on my desk. After checking email and Facebook and Twitter and Yammer, I was out of excuses so I perused the Skype chats. The question remained.
‘Would I chat about my experience in blogging and give any tips to potential bloggers?’
I could just imagine all the real social media and blogging gurus tweeting and posting in consternation at the preposterous nature of such an undertaking!
That’s really what inspired me. Defying expectations. Taking the path less trodden.
So I deemed the request worthy of a ‘yes’. Woe to those standing in my path.
Sarcasm aside (never), here is a summary. Not likely to be that new or exciting. Use it. Abuse it. Muse it.
Tips for blogging
…know the reason you are writing.
…know who is likely to read it.
…define what you mean by ‘success’. This can change over time.
…have a schedule. Keep it.
…be interesting. Or funny. Or provocative. If you are bored…so are we.
…let it fester before publishing.
…use ‘clever’ titles.
Some ‘clever’ titles (my most viewed posts)
- Don’t Look Down and Other Reasons to Wet Your Pants
- Blue Blazes, President Hoover, and a Skinny Dipping World Record
- The Joy of Food Porn
- Colombia in Pictures (sometimes not so clever works too…)
How to stay motivated?
Keep your goal in mind. (Did you achieve it? Can it change?)
Give encouragement to others. (One ounce of feedback is motivating.)
Sense of accomplishment. (From crafting something useful or interesting or funny.)
But no one reads my blog! No one leaves comments! I quit! (You can’t build a pyramid with only five stones or a blog with only three blog posts.)
Where do you draw the line on what to share?
Remember the audience.
Not everything that happens (in your life) is interesting. (Your Mom isn’t the only one reading this. Hi Mom!)
Will it get you in trouble? Stir up some controversy? (If it is work related, does it match your corporate philosophy?)
Some pointed Q&A
Why are blogs important internal communication tools?
You can have a quicker production schedule (outside the formal communication channels currently available).
You can involve more people with minimal effort. One person can post and edit on behalf of many contributors or a team of people can post individually on topics in their area of expertise.
You can set the ‘tone’. Other formal communication pieces (like newsletters or an intranet news site) have their own editors and style.
What makes a good post?
It’s about something you care about.
It’s about something your readers care about.
It elicits a reaction and people share it. It’s provocative. It’s humorous. It’s poignant.
How can you get leaders to regularly post or contribute to a blog? Especially if they say no one reads it.
If a leader started a blog and no one reads it, has it had a chance to find interested readers? Has it been promoted or made known to those people? If yes, and still no one reads it, maybe it’s time to reconsider the purpose. Maybe they need to find a different way to communicate. Blogging is not the solution for everyone.
To get leaders to maintain or contribute to a blog, first you need someone who is already motivated to do it. If they are on the fence or regularly don’t have time, it will hard to maintain and they will give up quicker.
Second, give them a reasonable schedule. Like once a month. Maybe you could have one blog from multiple leaders, each providing a post once a month, but the net result is new posts coming weekly or more frequently.
Third, make it easier for them. For example, make their sole task to write a 300 word treatise on widgets. Then you do all the work of editing, adding photos or graphics, posting and promoting.
That’s all folks.
Your refund is in the mail.
Here is the presentation: Blogging Made Easy
I’d share the recording, but talk about boring!