Yesterday, I wrote this:
I believe that business people can make a profound, positive difference in our world, and because they can, they should.
I also wrote:
Bloggers write articles on the internet that are free and globally distributed WOB, by Word of Blog. Some call us Sneezers, some call us Mavens, some call us Citizen Publishers. Fact is, we are very passionate influencers. Do an internet search for Blog and see what comes up.
I had written this because “blog reader” is still not the way most people working in business enterprise would describe themselves. There’s great, high quality writing being offered online, and I want to encourage people interested in work reinvention to read about what is happening in workplaces globally. I want to get the word out on how universal managing with aloha can, and should be.
Yet on the other hand, there is a question I get asked with more and more frequency as Talking Story’s readership grows, and with that frequency, posting the answer here is a good solution for me. The question is:
Should everyone in business consider writing a blog? Should I?
Consider it? Yes. Write one? Not necessarily.
Consider these other questions:
- How much time do you have?
- Are you already happy with your personal productivity?
- Do you have a strong desire to be more tech-savvy than what is now “normal” for someone in your position? Will you put in the extra time to learn about html codes, linking, RSS, trackback and comment moderation, SEO, tagging, domain mapping and the rest of it?
- And it’s not just the techie stuff: Are you a lifelong learner, passionate about what is still to be discovered, talked about, and shared?
- Do you love to write? Not like to, love to.
- What is your personal sense of responsibility about those written words you are immortalizing?
- How much time do you have?
- Just selling your wares isn’t enough; you can get a static website for your brochureware. What is the burning idea you want to share about how your business can make a difference in our world? Are you willing to have a conversation about it versus just broadcasting it?
- And when the writing is done, how will you walk your talk? Will you have another platform?
- Are you willing to be completely public, transparent, and inclusive?
- Will you still have time to read other blogs, study them, and comment on them? Are you willing to be part of other online communities, and not just your own?
- What are the values you’re willing to publish as your own on your blog, and stand up for?
- What’s your long term view?
- And did I ask, how much time do you have?
As the saying goes, hindsight is 20-20: If those of us who now blog in business are completely honest, these are questions we still ask ourselves all the time. And because we’re already in it, we have to get serious about our answers. We have to recommit everyday: even when we don’t post or are asleep, somewhere, someone may be reading what we’ve written.
I think about these things all the time. There’s a lot I want to tweak, change, and add to Talking Story and my other four blogs, and as my business grows I just don’t have the time. But I’m committed to figuring it out, and making the time.
I now realize that when I first started writing Talking Story (almost a year ago now) I lucked out: The blogs I had started to read inspired me because they were positive and optimistic, written by people who wrote responsibly, not just to entertain me or themselves.
They were also realists; they may not have always written about warm and fuzzy things, but they proposed solutions along with the problems they wrote of. They made me think of my own options and opportunities, and I was encouraged to take more initiative.
There weren’t too many business blogs at the time, and when I found one, I read every word they’d write.
It didn’t take me too long to jump on the blogging bandwagon, mostly because I love to write and have never thought of writing as work or as taking much effort. In addition I was immediately drawn to the blogging platform itself as a way to get more web-savvy (if you’re interested, that story is here.)
My blogs have been wonderful marketing tools for me (for after all, if it’s a business blog that is the core reason you do it), and they’ve delivered a benefit to me I hoped for, but never expected to be so huge: a home for my Ho‘ohana Community. I enjoy the blogs I write more every day, and I do not have a single regret.
I no longer encourage everyone in business to start writing blogs as I once did. August will be a year for me, and I now know what a commitment it takes. I feel I am very fortunate to be a business owner who can blog because technically I’m a solopreneur: in my business model, I have set up those who are in my ‘Ohana in Business (four other people) to be independent free agents, and I selected like-minded solopreneurs who need very little time and guidance from me.
I now believe that it is the very rare person who can successfully pull it off as a CEO blogger and not have their other, more pressing responsibilities and priorities suffer for the time commitment it takes. Sure it’s possible, but it’s the exception and far, far from the rule. I read a lot of blogs, and the ones I see doing it fairly well as a rule are in the business of electronic communications: If not for the internet you could argue they’d have no business.
Writing a business blog simply takes too much time and energy, both of which as a CEO you should devote elsewhere if you want your business to get the best of you — especially if you want to create an online community, post regularly, and with the quality in blog design and content that will keep business blogs a cut above the rest. Think hard about this: how do those things compare to the other priorities you now have, and perhaps should be paying more attention to?
Personally, when it comes to business enterprise I’m an idealist: as you’ve heard me say before, if you do it, I want you to do it right. That goes for writing a business blog too. I want the moniker “Business Blogger” to be a noble, honorable, and inspiring one.
And let’s go back to that core reason to have a business blog: Focused customer marketing and service, where you are transparently responsive to your customers. There are other ways that you as a CEO can and should handle that. A business blog is not the only answer.
Now if you still have a burning desire to try blogging, I have another option to suggest to you. In fact, it’s an idea I’m liking more and more every day in the coaching I do with executives. It could even turn out to be another evolution of the Daily Five Minutes.
A better alternative”The Business Intranet
Knowing everything I know about it now, and even loving it as much as I do, if I was still an executive in corporate business as I used to be, I would not have a business blog.
However I would definitely use a blog for something else.
This is the advice I give to business people today when they ask me about my experience with Talking Story, and they ask for my opinion on if blogging will work for them: Do an intranet for your ‘Ohana in Business first (your staff and employees), and yes, by all means select a blogging platform when you do. Think of it as your business blog on training wheels.
Be sure those comments are turned on, give your entire ‘Ohana in Business access to your intranet, and watch the reinvention that will happen in the communication and relationships you have with your own staff. Choose your own Ho‘ohana themes, the ones that will propel your business forward, and invite those in your ‘Ohana to be guest authors.
After nine months to a year’s time, you will know if you are ready for blog number two: a public one for your customers. The answer will be clear as the brightest sunny day for you.
You’ll be excited, and you’ll be sure.
You will wear your values on your sleeve, and you will have that long term vision.
You will be a terrific business blogger, and I’ll be one of your first subscribers.
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