By Khalid Raza, Community Manager with IBM Center for Advanced Learning
I spoke at an internal IBM event registered by more than 2000 IBMers and I thought it will be worthwhile to share that with an audience which consists of awesome bloggers and seek more inputs and observations.
I was asked, “Why should I blog?” And my response was, and that is what I always say – I cannot answer this for you – you have to find it yourself.
Here is an excerpt of my talk:
As per Wikipedia, a blog (is a combination of the term web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the internet and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999
Blog is supposed to be the first of ‘all things social’. Justin Hall, who began personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College, is generally recognized as one of the earliest bloggers. His blog http://interactive.usc.edu/members/jhall/ is believed to be the world’s first blog. Source
But what is Blogging? Is it telling a story, or sharing your opinion, reporting news or more? However the heart of blogging is writing! Meaningful writing!
I am sharing a few examples of how being a good blogger has paid off for a few people.
Pete Cashmore is a brilliant example. Mashable, now, is not only one of the top tech blogs but it’s one of the top websites in the world. Also look at Groupon, it was reported that Groupon has 70 writers on staff to help with marketing which has lead Groupon to be the fastest growing business ever. I was recently contacted by a book writer to feature in his book that was being written for ASTD, based on my blogs on Socialmediatoday and SocialGlamor
Why Should I blog?
Basically, ‘needs’ can be bucketed into these three categories and mostly will cover all requirements.
1. Extend Your Reach: The most important reason and our first point are to extend your reach – the reason why I started blogging. A blog speaks your words when you are away on vacation, or sleeping, or watching a movie. In other words, you put your mind out there for people to access, for anyone to access it. You can search for me on Google by checking khalidraza9 and you will see what I mean by reach
2. Engage Your Connections: Professionals blog about their perspectives on latest news and trends and followers can read them and hence engaging their connections. You can engage your network by sharing your ‘news’ through your blog. And your network can be anyone – your friends, colleagues, competition, clients etc.
3. Establish a Unique Identity: And lastly, a blog helps establish a unique identity. Since a blog is available on internet/intranet as the case may be, is available for consumption to all. What this does, it allows you to create your digital identity while you are not around.
Is blogging right for me?
So now let’s understand if it is really needed for you to blog. Blogging, like any other activity is easier to start than sustain, so you must be very careful before you begin. I am by no means saying that it is difficult
The first question you must ask yourself is, “Do you like to write?” May be you have never written, but do you enjoy writing? The writing should be natural and meaningful for your blog to be successful.
You should have your opinions and be comfortable sharing them online with all. Sometimes you may not agree with certain patterns and it is fine – blogging is not about being sweet all the time, it is about being yourself. You should be ready to learn new technologies, tools to make your blog look more relevant. It is not really that important as these days’ blogging platforms are really very simple – simple drag and drops will allow embedding a lot of stuff.
Last and the most importantly, are you willing to commit to blogging? For you to write, you will need to read and consume, read and respond and also entertain the visitors to your blog.
So if the answer to these questions is yes, you are all set to begin…
How to create compelling content?
This is the meat of any blogging conversation – what should you blog on? Well this question should be the first one, even before you ask yourself, if you should blog or not. Let me make it simpler for you – A blog is mostly personal news. An IT architect talking about new server capabilities, a fitness freak sharing the new findings in food world, a mother talking about her kid’s development, a social learner like me talking about all things social etc.
So select a topic where you are expert, where you know more than others so that you can then dwell into topics relevant to that field and yet have a substantial stuff to share with others.
Your news or say blog should be engaging for your audience – make it intriguing by adding your perspective. Remember I used the term, personal news. The more your write and respond keeping audience in mind, the more interesting your blog will become and yes famous too.
Keep your blog relevant by adding links and media like videos etc. so that people not only just read but get a wider and rich consumption experience…
Lastly, your blog should in every way say that it is your blog. Audience want to read you that’s why they came to your blog and that is what you should give them:
Your blog should say who you are and why you are writing this stuff. Share your expertise and affiliation to IBM. The most important is to position how you and your Point-of-view are unique. Audience should know why they should read your blog than someone else’s blog on the same topic…
Please do share your perspectives and observations for me to include in my future talks.
About Khalid Raza
In my role as a Social Business Program Manager with IBM, I am focused on Social and Informal learning. I help my clients and community members to get value through social media tools. Through my writing I aim to create a more engaged and informed community of leaders. The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent my employers' positions, strategies or opinions. My online CV: https://www.vizify.com/khalidraza9