To Blog or Not To Blog
Posted by AaronF
Sometime in the late 80s, I was watching one of those daytime talk shows. I don’t remember the hosts or much about the guests. But, I do remember an exchange between two of the guests that bothered me then and still does. The exchange wouldn’t happen today, but I do think it message is relevant to blogging: No matter who you are, if you can blog, you can be heard.
“But, who are you?”
At some point during the talk show, the first guest, an everyday person, sat beside a second guest who had achieved a certain level of celebrity. The host commented about a book being promoted on the show to which the first guest commented “I would like to write a book someday.”
The second guest was perturbed and retorted “But, who are you? And, why would anyone want to read what you have to say.” The first guest was visibly hurt.
As I said, the exchange wouldn’t happen today—it couldn’t. The Internet has made it possible for virtually anyone to build an audience.
Audience Pull vs. Audience Push
What the second guest couldn’t fathom is that an everyday person could possibly draw an audience, let alone have something important to say.
Blogging has enabled us mere mortals to pull an audience, unlike traditional media channels that require pushing content (like books) out to audiences.
David Weinberger in his exchange with Andrew Keen on Web 2.0 (http://www.wsj.com/news/articles/SB118460229729267677) put it this way:
“So, traditional distribution makes it look like talent is a you-got-it-or-you-don’t proposition—you’re an artist or you’re a monkey. …With the Web, we can still listen to the world’s greatest, but we can find others who touch us even though their technique isn’t perfect.”
In other words, traditional media channels push content out to the market for a known, established audience. Blogging lets you pull audience in by providing content the audience is interested in.
Three Types of Content
In my estimation, audiences are interested three types of content (from bloggers):
- Content that says something. You have an opinion and you want to express it. Blogging can help you do that.
- Content that shares something. A colleague asked me recently to help him plan a keynote address. He showed me some significant research he had done on his topic. At one moment while we were pouring over the data and he was becoming quite excited about its implications to his field, I blurted out “Yes, but none of this means anything until you communicate it.” We both sat stunned by what I had just said. We literally didn’t move or say anything for a few moments; we were both thinking it through. Blogging is a great place to share your ideas.
- Content that explores something. Not unlike this post, you have a topic that you want to explore. Blogging can provide a way for you explore such a topic. Through commenting, you readers can help you explore too.
What’s in a Name?
Okay, okay, that’s one too many Shakespearian references. Contrary to the talk show guest who criticized the other guest for wanting to write book, you don’t need a name (celebrity) to say, share, or explore something.
Blogs give you the opportunity to pull an audience and readers seem to care little who you are—at first. If you do happen to build a name for yourself, then readers seem to care very much: http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/world/worlds-10-top-earning-bloggers/. Until then, keep in mind these words from David Weinberger:
“With the Web, we can still listen to the world’s greatest, but we can find other who touch us even though their technique isn’t perfect.”f
Bonus Content: Two Alternatives to Blogging
Maybe you have something to say, share, or explore, but it’s limited—you have no interest in committing to your own blog. Here are two alternatives to consider:
- Comment on blogs of interest. As you read posts of interest, take time to comment. Well-crafted comments can generate as much interest as the original post.
- Post on an existing blog as a guest. If you build rapport with a bloggers (say, by thoughtfully commenting on their blogs), consider asking if you can write a guest post. Pitch something that fits in with their editorial needs.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.