Writing a blog is hard work, great to do as it forces you to think critically, read widely, seek to question your own preconceptions, and expand your own expertise, so it can be intellectually rewarding. It is nevertheless time consuming hard work.
As such, it can be seen either as a hobby, or an investment, and if it is the latter, there should be a return on the time and energy expended.
For most small businesses, it can easily become a chore, which is why so many fall back on some formulaic way, just to pump out words and fill a schedule, and end up doing nobody, themselves particularly, any good.
There have been many posts about the “10 smart ways to write more blog posts” lots of advice that suggest a process is the way to make blogging both easy and commercially productive, this one from GrooveHQ being one of the better ones (and I borrowed their header photo) but like most others, misses the essential point.
Blogging is now so common, has become such a generic activity that most material out there is “average”. The task of filtering the really good stuff out for comment and further consideration is becoming increasingly automated, adding to the “average” tendency, as the really good stuff always happens on the fringes, and it usually elusive and challenging, just like any other sort of useful innovation.
To me there is really only three ways to be genuinely useful, to attract and keep readers.
- Display really deep domain knowledge, and be generous with it. Mitch Joel, Mark Schaefer, Avanish Kaushik and Ian Cleary are a few that spring to mind that do this consistently and well, and GrooveHQ is rapidly becoming one of my core reading list, listed down the side.
- Be genuinely interested, concerned curious, and yes, passionate, in your domain, and have that communicated simply by demonstrating an independence of mind, generosity of ideas, willingness to kick the sacred cows, and make the elephants visible.
- Be original, prepared to be challenging, and persistent.
My clients, small businesses in the most part, are being increasingly left behind as is the case in most arenas of competitive activity, they lack a depth of resources, so they just have to be smarter, more agile, and personally committed than their larger competitors.
Those that do it well will flourish.