The Blog: A 10,000 Foot Viewpoint

I recently spoke with a large area business organization about public relations and communications. As the subject turned to social media it was apparent that many in the room were not using the medium for much more than promoting products and services, certainly not for putting forth thought leadership in their respective fields. As podcasts have emerged as the shiny new platform, blogging has seemingly fallen a notch on the radar of those looking to market who they are and what they do. That should not be the case.

Have you ever written a blog? Have you ever aspired to? For many, in particular those who don’t particularly like to write, penning a blog can seem a daunting if not entirely undesirable task. Yet, the advantages can outweigh the barriers and a well thought out final product can put you out in front of your competitors.

Total transparency here – as I write this blog, I have completed more than 400 over the 12 year existence of our firm. There are times, in fact, when I feel there is nothing left to say. Call it writer’s block, call it fatigue, but writing – even for someone who has traditionally loved to write – can be tough. After all, you want to have something to share. A point of view. And there is the added pressure of making sure that what you commit to “pad and paper” provides value to anyone who is willing to take the time to read it. There is absolutely a responsibility and a certain standard to be met here.

If you’re trying to get your blog blimp off the ground, there are a few things to consider. Commenting on breaking news or trends in your field is one thing, but can you provide a unique perspective that is not already being covered or put forth in the news media? There are a lot of pundits out. Second guessing the decisions of others can also be a slippery slope. Rather than finger point, might your readers better appreciate how you would have approached a particular situation, albeit shared and put forth in a positive way? In this era of attack with no middle ground, taking the high road is always best (and increasingly rare). You want someone reading to have a lightbulb go off while leaving them wanting to know more about your areas of expertise.

But where you can really stand out, I have found, it to not be afraid to share things that are personal. When my dad passed away several years ago, writing about it not only helped me cope, it also provided those reading with a window into me as a person in an authentic and genuine way. In a recent year, we worked with a top professional in the real estate industry. He enlisted our help in helping him craft blogs on both his industry but also on subjects he was passionate about away from work – including family, food and travel.

When we talk about marketing in general, we always note how people do business with people they know, like, trust. Blogging is another way to let others know you better. Housed on your website and promoted via social media and other e-platforms that drive traffic back to your site, it remains a powerful marketing tool that, chances are, your competition is not taking the time to utilize. Remember, you don’t have to write “War and Peace,” instead provide your employees, your customers, your referral sources and your friends with a little 300-word piece of you.