This quote credited to Lao Tzu, a Chinese Philosopher who lived 500 years before Christ, could not be more apt when people think about starting a blog.
Just recently I’ve heard a number of different reasons why companies have yet to start a blog. Time, resource, subject matter – lack of each of these is cited as an excuse, for really that’s what they are – excuses.
Writing this I’m struggling to think of any organisation that can really justify these excuses. Just yesterday somebody told me, “but we have nothing to say”. That’s just extraordinary! What do they talk about all day long?
Write about your world, your market, your experiences, tell your stories. Maybe people aren’t reading enough? Surely just reading an opinion piece about your market will provoke a response in your mind? Write it down.
Lack of time? Really? Why not set a target of say 3 posts a week – can that be so hard? Remember how to eat an elephant? Write things down as they come to you. A pen a paper by the bed can be invaluable.
Lack of resource? – I don’t get this at all. Somebody in you organisation should be blogging, but just who that person is does take time to decide. Should it be the office junior “because they do that stuff all the time” or should it be the CEO? This deserves plenty of thought. But don’t let the decision delay you too long. But here’s a clue – the office junior is NOT the right person.
How much freedom will the writer have? Again, I sympathise with those wrestling with these questions. Some businesses work within very tightly regulated industries where the legal department checks every piece of material before it’s released. That’s why listening to Donna Rossi, from Western Union at the Engaging Times Summit last month was so liberating. The first thing to note is that Donna is the Global Customer Experience Manager for Western Union – not the Head of Marketing. Important because it highlights that social media begins with customer care – but that’s another blog post! Donna explained just how Western Union had wrestled with the letting go that is necessary to really engage with their customers on the social web. She demonstrated real trust in WU employees to blog and vlog appropriately without breaking some pre-set guidelines.
A final obstacle that may be front of mind for people is the fact that nobody will read it! Well, that’s probably true. You could be talking to yourself for a time. But this is the time to try different things, to see how your writing style develops. Don’t think that by building it, they will come. You have to work on your blog distribution channels and encourage feedback. Do this and they will come.
Am I happy with every aspect of this blog post? No. Will I read it later and think I could have written it better? Yes. But that’s always the case and the road to nowhere.
Go for it!