This may be a late hour to address obstacles to blogging. There are maybe 125 million blogs in existence. This doesn't begin to include 500 million Facebook members, each with their own page, in essence a blog. Nor does it include the 105 million registered users of Twitter...in April of 2010.
However, only 24% of small businesses use social media. And that's double the number from last year.
Blogging is the foundation for any social media effort. (I hate the term campaign...) So, for more small businesses to embrace social media we have to find ways to overcome some of the obstacles to...blogging.OBSTACLE: What do I write about? I don't have anything to say. That's what one employee said when I offered her the opportunity to blog on company time. I don't have anything to say. I knew otherwise. I suggested she start her day with 10-15 minutes of free writing. Just write. I checked back with her in another week. She'd discovered she did have something to say.
- SOLUTION: Try it. Write for 10 - 15 minutes a day. You'll discover you have something you really want to say.
OBSTACLE: Fear. Some executives may wonder if it's safe to blog. Is it safe to talk on the phone? Is it safe to send an email? Is it safe to have a meeting. People are taking notes, in writing or mentally. And often there is something lost in that translation between your voice and their notes.
- SOLUTION: You're safer writing it yourself.
That is not an obstacle for a leader; it's an excuse. And it's no longer an acceptable excuse. Today's world requires leaders, well everyone really, to have excellent communication skills.
- SOLUTION: Write every day for 10 -15 minutes. You do not have to publish it. But you do you have to write it. Write about anything you want. Just write. Pretty soon, you will see you do have a lot to say and you say in the most unique voice in the world: yours.
- Besides, writing everyday for 10 -15 minutes before you even publish a post is a great way to ...be a good writer.
- It's also the best way to systematically re-innovate your company. Blogging was the best way to do that, according to Tom Koulopolous, author of The Innovation Zone: How great companies re-innovate to bring amazing success and CEO of The Delphi Institute
That's one of the biggest seeming obstacles both to potential bloggers and long-time bloggers.
- SOLUTION 1: List posts generate a lot of traffic. List posts are posts titled with something like Top 10 Ways to....x, and then the body of the post is compromised of that list of 10 ways and a brief explanation of each way.
Ultimately this is a list post.
I have a huge ongoing project of 52 ways to recognize employees. And each week I describe and analyze one of those 52 ways in detail. And at the end of these 52 ways I'll create a book that includes the result of my writing and analyzing each of these steps over the past year.
Already, I've changed my understanding, deepening and broadening it, for why each step works and why and how it connects with the other 51.And I carve out tip posts from what my radio show guests share during our hour conversation. Those are like bite-sized snacks in between meals. They give some good content and entice you to eat the whole meal, read the whole blog post or listen to their whole show.
- SOLUTION 2: Compare and Contrast Posts. I lean more today towards compare and contrast posts. These require more time. To help me gather data, I use Evernote to help me clip notable news items from any online source. I tag them with key words. Then I review them weekly. Often I find contradictory data, arguments, positions, manifestos. Always, I find myself forced to clarify for myself where the gap exists and why. I write a post to explain the contradictions or contradict them again.
- SOLUTION: Don't worry about it. I learn more from those who disagree than those who say 'great post'. I enjoy the latter more. But those who challenge me, critique me, attack me are always my best teachers.
If you're not pissing somebody off regularly, hopefully your competitors, then you don't have much of a brand. And if people aren't disagreeing with your posts some of the time...you're not writing anything worth reading.
OBSTACLE: Writer's Block. This will happen.
- SOLUTION: Either go out for a quick run or clean-up your desktop. The first one relaxes the mind and stimulates the thinking and creativity at the same time. The second one brings a little order. Gotta have both: creativity and stimulation along with an orderly environment.