"Blog every day."
It's a real fear that both individuals and brands have when it comes to Blogging. They think that Blogging is a never-ending churn of content in an attempt to appear both relevant and fresh to their readers, consumers and community members. There was a great Blog post today called, The Most Overrated Piece of Blogging Advice I've Ever Heard, on Daily Blog Tips (hat-tip: Chris Brogan) that helped to better frame for individual Bloggers how to both better pace themselves and how to think differently about what value their Blog brings to an audience. The message is just as valid for brands as well, but I have some differing/different perspectives.
Blog every day...
- Even if no one is reading. In the beginning, it's not about readership and audience. It's about practice and building experience. Think about a hugely famous rock band. They jammed for years in the basement and in crappy clubs. The best stuff happens over time, so Blog everyday and get there faster.
- Even if you have to force yourself. The resistance to not to do it will go away over time. Forcing yourself will create a habit. Habits are very hard to create (they can take weeks or even months), but once you have the habit, it will become that much more natural and an integral part of your development. A Blog is to your brain what the gym is to your body. Getting into the habit of working out is tough, but the benefits outweigh the struggle to get there.
- Unless it's about self-promotion. A Blog is an amazing tool for self-promotion, but that's the by-product and not the reason to do it. If the sole purpose of your Blog is self-promotion, odds are it will be doomed from the beginning.
- As an act of critical thinking. Blogging is the period at the end of the last sentence of my day. It's an opportunity for me to reflect on something that struck me on my daily journey and a creative exercise in explaining it and thinking about it. Use your Blog as a sketchpad for you day and the industry that you serve.
- Unless you're really stuck on what to Blog about. A Blog can be an amazing expression of what's on your mind and should not be an exercise in grasping at straws. Blog posts without substantive content read that way, and it's impossible to build credibility if all you're doing is grasping at straws.
- Unless you're doing it for the SEO. It's hard to believe, but some brands have a Blog simply to appear higher up in the search engines. Can you imagine creating content for the sole purpose of trying to game the search engines? If the content isn't authentic, what's the point?
- And don't worry about the length. Some say you have to keep it short and simple others believe in long-form content. I don't think either directions are accurate. For once, the male readers can sigh a sigh of relief because it's not about the size (really, it's not). It's about the quality. A Blog should be no longer or shorter than it takes to get a great idea across.
"Be brilliant. Be brief. Be gone."
I love that quote (I wish I knew who said it, but it's something that one of my business partners at Twist Image always says). Ultimately, Blogging is not easy, it's not obvious and it's hard (very hard) to get real traction with as a Marketing engine. Nothing happens unless you are consistent in your effort and work. It has to be relevant to your audience and yes, you need a high level of frequency in your publishing habits. But, you have to define what "consistent," "relevant" and "frequency" means to you and your audience. Nobody can do that for you.
What would you add to this list?