I currently write three different types of blogs.
– One is for my passion.
– One is for my profession.
– And one is for my medium.
Question: Which blog came first? The question is rhetorical to foster a discussion on the merits of each type.
Professional: Unfortunately, many blogs are first started for professional reasons – because an employee or CEO feels he or she needs to be in the blogosphere. They’ve bought the concept of being a thought-leader, but as the great equalizer, the blogosphere tests whether the blogger really has enough thoughts to lead.
Many CEOs and key execs feel they have lots to say, but after two or three posts, lose interest, run out of material, or egotistically can’t stand the idea that no one is reading their golden missives. Used to ghost and speech writers who make them sound good in front of audiences and readers, some CEOs would prefer if others, perhaps a Director of Communications, would do the blogging for them. The good news is that the blogosphere doesn’t work that way. As the great hierarchy flattener, blogs require, by design, that voices be genuine.
Medium: Many people try blogging just for blogging’s sake. They’ve heard all the fuss, are used to being at the forefront of trends, and want to try their hand at it. The blogosphere is littered with abandoned blogs. Once tried, the would-be blogger runs out of interest, runs out of material, or runs out of time. This is as true for many hobby bloggers as business bloggers. The ego again comes into play, as bloggers who aren’t doing it for passion, easily get discouraged if comments, subscribers or loyal readers don’t quickly follow.
Passion: This isn’t blogging just for the love of blogging, as you might suspect, but blogging to pursue a passion in the real world. It requires a point-of-view, and a deep-seeded interest in a particular topic. A great example is a blog called Instant Dharma recently started by a friend on Zen in America. In it, he explores the ultimate question of WWBD (what would Buddha do) while experiencing normal life in these United States? His passion is Buddhism and its viability as a practice in modern America. The blog is simply a tool to help him in his exploration of the issue.
My Answer: You might think my first blog was started for passion. You’d be only be partially right. My first blog is now a labor of love – about my personal experiences as a parent of teens. However, it started as a professional exercise to learn the medium. Blogging was clearly the future of communications, and being in marketing, I felt I needed to learn how to use it. It was too risky to start blogging on company time, with company dollars, on company topics. So, I started blogging at home writing about what I knew – my family. Ironically, it became rapidly addicting — a passion.
The Three Blind Mice
Is there any one right way to start blogging? Perhaps not, but there are several wrong ways. Here are three blind mice to be avoided at all costs. Each will lead you down a dead-end ally.
- Blogging to gain customers rather than communicate with them.
- Blogging to increase your Google Rank. If you’re ranked high, and the link goes to garbage, you’ve lost rather than gained respect.
- Blogging to bully. There are many negative blogs started because a victim wants to be the victor and have the last word. It works, but it will rob your soul and ultimately stop others from wanting you as part of their inner-circle in other companies or on other issues. So the victory, if it occurs, will be short-lived. It’s similar to winning a battle and losing the war. Move on to higher territory and use the means for a greater good.
The third blind mouse requires just a bit more discussion. If you are blogging to right a communal wrong, that’s legitimate, but write in an advocate’s voice rather than that of a victim. If you have a legitimate beef with a company and are the next Ralph Nader tracking Pinto car deaths, go for it. Just do a gut check on your goals, voice and tone. Are you championing a cause on behalf of victims or being the victim? There is a difference.