You Need to Blog, Best With Others
“Blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an professional should be doing right now”.
A new paradigm of professional communications has grown up – one that de-emphasizes the traditional trade press route, and re-prioritizes faster, real-time professional communication in which blogs play a critical intermediate role. They link to information, reports and articles on the one hand, and they are linked to from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ news-streams and communities. So in intellectual capital terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an professional should be doing right now.
But in addition, professionals have an obligation to society to contribute their observations to the wider world – and at the moment that’s often being done in ramshackle and impoverished ways, in pointlessly obscure or charged-for forums, in language where you need to look up every second word in Wikipedia, with acres of ‘dead-on-arrival’ data in unreadable tables, and all delivered over bizarrely long-winded timescales often in a few press releases and a lot of out-of-date professional junk.
Blogging (supported by professional tweeting) helps professionals break out of all these loops.
It’s quick to do in real time. It taps professional expertise when it’s relevant, and so lets professionals look forward and speculate in evidence-based ways.It communicates bottom-line results and ‘take aways’ in clear language, yet with due regard to methods issues and quality of evidence. In multi-author blogs like this one, and all our blogs, it helps create multi-disciplinary understanding and joining-up of previously siloed knowledgeTwitter is a huge supplementary help, in forcing professionals to communicate key messages in 140 characters.
Professional blogging gets your work and ideas out to a potentially massive audience at very, very low cost and relative amount of effort. With platforms like WordPress (which we use here), you can set up a blog and have your first article online in no more than 10 minutes.
Recent research from the World Bank has shown that blogging about an professional article can lead to hundreds of new readers when before there were only a handful. Blogging in multi-author blogs is a great way to build knowledge of your work, to grow readership of useful articles, solutions and reports, to build up thought leadership, and to foster trust in your network and among clients and build your reputation beyond your immediate contacts.
According to some good estimates, perhaps 80 per cent or more of the single-author blogs on the web are currently inactive, or are ‘desert blogs’ that very rarely updated. And this is because people start them with high hopes, in determinedly individualistic mode, but find that hard to sustain after a while. Coming up with fresh content, day after day or week after week, is hard work for any professional, especially in the current climate where there are so many other demands on people’s time. But if you don’t post regularly, in a rhythm that is clear to readers so they know when to come back, then it can be hard to keep things going.
We don’t think single-author blogs are a sustainable or genuinely useful model for most professionals – although all praise to the still many exceptional professionals who can manage to keep up the continuous effort involved. By joining together and forming multi-author blogs, professionals can mutually reinforce each other’s contributions. On a multi-author blog, you often benefit from the content that others provide, and they often benefit from yours.
three short but sure-fire tips for professional bloggers working to improve their craft
Make sure your titles tell a story, and your findings are communicated early onProfessionals normally like to build up their arguments slowly, and then only tell you their findings with a final flourish at the end. Don’t do this ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ in which layers of irrelevance are progressively stripped aside for the final kernel of value-added knowledge to be revealedInstead, make sure that all the information readers need to understand what you’re saying is up front – you’ll make a much stronger impression that way.
Remember the Web is a network, not a single-track railway line – and not everyone uses the web in the same way. So once you have a blog post, do everything you can to get the key content out to diverse readerships who want to see it. Post your links to Twitter (several times, at different times of the day) and Facebook. Let people subscribe by RSS or email.
Talk to your readers. Encourage people to comment (but only post their comments after moderation) and respond to comments and to Tweets. Talk to people on Twitter and Facebook when they discuss your work. And be reciprocal, open-minded and fair in sharing your content with others and linking to their work – improving the public understanding of your profession is a huge collective good for all professionals. We can all flourish together in the new paradigm for professional work.