Blogging can be a quick bit of exposing your secret life for the public, or it can be a meaningful and lasting revelation that helps us grow. Since both kinds fall under the term ‘blog,’ let’s look at what will best help your business.
Good morning The Best of Norwich, I’m a bit later posting this morning because I have a poorly young’un on my hands. I wrote my piece over the weekend, all ready to get up before everybody else and publish it first thing, after I’d given it a final once over. But at 4:40 the call came “I’m being sick” came across the landing, and my day began. Outside the storm looms; inside I change beds and wonder whether I’ll have time to rewrite my whole piece (now this angle has occurred to me), before the broadband poles blow over, and before Bright needs me again.
What's a blog, really?
I’ve been writing on The Best of on storytelling for five weeks now. And I will continue that today - but in a bit of a weird leap, I am writing about blogging.
Blogging is a funny one, because even though we’ve somewhat got over our aversion to the expression “blog,” we don’t have a lot of agreement of what it is.
I reckon that the paragraph I wrote above is more “blog” than what I’ve been doing. It’s more real-time, has a shorter shelf-life, and gives you an even more personal glimpse into my life than the pieces I’ve been offering to try to persuade you how stories can help you establish your online personality.
It's more "bloggy", and certainly more personal, but for my business, it's way less useful.
The reservations most people hold about blogging are because they think it’s all intimate and actually rather boring revelations like the above. And I understand that they wouldn’t want to clog up the internet with more pointless slice-of-life. There’s got to be more to web than this.
Two ends of the scale
Blogs almost line up against a kind of stories scale, with thoughtful reflections on life experience on the end, and ego-centric inventory of the details of life on the other.
On one side you learn about my professionalism. On the far other side, you learn what I had for breakfast.
Both are popular and have their place, because both tell stories.
Every time you sit down to record your thoughts in this online journal media, you’re likely to be responding to something that happened to you, from your point of view, and sharing its deeper meaning. And that is storytelling. The only difference is the significance you’re offering.
Blogging for business
I reckon the learning end of the scale almost forms a separate genre of articles. If we organise our experience so that others can learn quickly from what we write, people will refer back to that writing, share it, and treat it with the dignity and respect it deserves.
When I advocate for blogging, it is on the learning end of the scale. You want to show yourself as expert as well as personal. The business importance of the point you want to make will determine the stories you tell there.
Something you can do now
Start writing down the questions your customers ask you, in their language. No matter how trivial they seem, these represent a free, frequent and accurate research into your market and what they’re actually thinking. Capture those questions, and write a blog piece for each one. Use stories to illustrate your experience of dealing with the customer problem.
The blog pieces you write based on customer questions will match their online search terms – and when they find you, they will feel like you understand exactly where they’re coming from.
The list below are the kind of questions you might come up with. This should be enough to keep you blogging for weeks or months.
Plenty of statistics about the benefits of business blogging are out there. Because I always look for the humanity behind the statistics, I’ve prepared some alternative benefits on blogging and storytelling on the White Dot blog, The Human Benefits of Blogging.
Have you got any experiences of blogging I can learn from, or a blog you’d like to show off? I’d love to read about it, do drop me a line or leave a comment.
For more insight, great moral support, and some hands-on practice in blogging, come along to the Better Business Blogging course on 25 November at Caistor Hall Hotel. It would be great to have you along.
Member since: 23rd September 2013
I’m Director and Shop Manager of Kett's Books, a social enterprise bookshop in Wymondham, and I write the White Dot Business Writing Blog. Life in the bookshop keeps the business writing advice real.