And now I'm blogging about bloggers who blog about blogging… and I'm a blogger blogging about blogging. Arg, the recursion is hurting my head.
About two weeks ago, a customer of mine contacted me about a blogging forum she was invited to. It was a forum where a group of “Executive Bloggers” were coming together to convince organizations of the benefits of blogging… for $199 a pop. The phrase that popped into my head was “a business in search of a model”. As a devotee of the Cluetrain Manifesto, let me share the three primary benefits of blogging:
First, you can speak like a human. Many organizations and even individuals get tied up in the marketing/pr-speak and forget that real humans speak like other people. We generally don't use terms like “cross-functional synergies” or “cutting-edge technologies” or “enterprise architecture” unless we're making fun of someone else. To the vast majority of people, these terms are meaningless, empty, and cause us to stop reading or put our brains into auto-pilot. While the specific terms might vary from industry to industry, they exist everywhere. The upside is that there are hundreds and hundreds of organizations which have managed to reach out – and in some cases reach in – by having people speak to people.
Next, you can establish yourself as an expert. Every organization has people who are experts at one particular thing. Often these experts are trying to find experts in other things. By speaking with a human voice, external experts, customers, and the general public are more likely to find you. If you're lucky, they'll even help you or do business with you. How many sales of FogBugz do you think Joel Spolsky get *purely* because people know who he is? How many smart people cluster around people like Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin just because they're out there talking and saying useful things? This is the core concept behind CodeSnipers. I bring some smart people together from different backgrounds and we start kicking around ideas. PHP people learn from the Perl people who learn from the Python people who learn from the mISV people.
Finally, blogging helps your search rankings. Yes, this gets away from the core concepts of the Cluetrain Manifesto, but the point stands. If you demonstrate that you or your organization has expertise in a particular area, people will look to you and link to you. As you get more links and more references, your search placement will improve. It's that simple.
Look at this site – yes, it needs some cleanup, ignore that for a second. I am a core contributor to dotProject. I blog about dotProject pretty regularly. I talk about various improvements, fixes, and components that have been released or are coming out soon. When someone searches for dotProject, who do they find? When someone throws dotProject and any of a whole set of keywords into Google, who do they find?
So, I'm sorry to steal these bloggers' thunder, but those are the main reasons: 1) you can speak like a human, 2) you can establish yourself as an expert, and 3) blogging helps your search rankings. There are probably dozens of sub-points and nuance, but most of them fit into one of the three above points. Now, if you still have a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your budget, feel free to send it along. 😉