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Edward Bernays would dig me. Seasoned public relations strategist (10+ years in the game) who has practiced PR in multiple cities: Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago & DC. I'm an observationist and a soon to be card carrying member of the Twitterati. I love comfortable silences, revel in the Seinfeldian absurdities of life and have been described as a habitual line stepper. These are my thoughts...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hello, Is This Thing On?

Forgive me Blogger for I have sinned. It has been 216 days since my last blog post.

A funny thing happens when you have to manage an organizational blog that is devoid of consistent voice, purpose, creativity, or personality…it has a tendency to have an effect on the blogging that you do for fun. Well at least that is what happened in my case.

Initially, I thought that my personal blogging would provide the proper creative inspiration and counter balance to all the work related blogging I was required to do. And in the beginning that was the case. However, overtime my personal blogging was what began to suffer. But blogging for work wasn’t the sole reason for the change.

For me personally, blogging is a creative outlet as well as a vehicle to connect with others interested in my professional or other interests. It allows me to share some of the insights I’ve accumulated throughout the years. It also provides me with a constructive way to share aspects of my personality and private life with people that may not know that side of me. Sounds like a good thing, right?

It would have been a good thing if there weren’t a number of bad things that I did as a blogger – key things you should never do if you want to have a successful blog. These things included:

  • Not blogging consistently enough (I should be blogging weekly at a minimum)
  • Blogging two infrequently (sheeesh, it’s been 216 days since my last post)
  • Passing up opportunities to guest blog for others (this could have exposed me to new audiences)
  • Not taking the necessary steps to promote my own blog (if you write it, they won’t necessarily come)

For these transgressions, I apologize to the people who have subscribed to my blog, faithfully commented on my posts, or willingly shared my content with others. You deserve better from me. I can do better to earn your readership.

From a work stand point, I’ve always been a proponent of maintaining a blog. In a communications world dependent upon content creation, blogs rock. An effective blog gives a company/organization an opportunity to connect with its key stakeholders in a more intimate way. It can serve as a forum to share the news and/or stories that your company/organization wants to tell, but might not have otherwise found an audience for through traditional methods.

While there is not a universally established and agreed upon set of criteria for what constitutes an official blog or how a blog post should be written, blogging should never be a painful or demoralizing experience, or an exercise in concentrated boredom. A good blog offers something for the reader as well as the blogger. That is the only path for growing a blog’s presence and audience.

To accomplish this goal, my counsel to any company wishing to establish its own blog is to think about the blogs that YOU like to read on your personal time, or the blogs related to your industry you enjoy visiting on a daily basis. What is it that attracts you to those blogs and keeps you returning to consume more posts? Was it the blogger, content, style of writing, perspective, or readability? If so, those are the elements that your place of business should try to incorporate and emulate in your own voice. Make that blog something that you would want to read versus something you have to do and it will find the life it needs and the space to grow.

Given that premise, I know exactly what has to be done and what should not be done to ensure the success of the next company blog I oversee. And number one on that list is to limit the number of people involved in the blogging process.  Unlike the popular AT&T commercial more is not always better. Adding anyone else to the equation, say beyond the author and an editor, and you court disaster, primarily as it pertains to consistent voice and purpose.   

My recent time away from any manner of blogging has been beneficial. The hiatus has given me an opportunity to read the blogs that I enjoy as well as evaluate the positive traits of some very successful blogs. I’ve also used my time away to pick up some helpful hints and advice that I can use in my own blogging, or to combat the dreaded writer’s block. Here are some of the tips that I picked and hopefully you’ll find them useful too:

If you find inspiration or help in any of this of this information that I’ve plugged be sure to let the author know (and don’t forget to let them know where you saw it shared).

For the year 2014 one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to recommit myself to my personal blog and blogging. So I hope that you’ll stick around for the ride. If there’s something that you’d like to see me do more of or a topic you’d like to see me cover, let me know in the comment section.