Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Why I write, why they read

November 10, 2011 3 comments

Why I write

I write because I am a teacher, not as a profession- at least not any longer- but in my heart it’s who I still am. I want to share what I’ve learned, who I’ve met, the resources I’ve discovered. I was “sharing” and “liking” long before the internet, long before Facebook and Twitter and Google+. I was the type who would tear articles out of magazines or cut columns out of newspapers to give to friends with a passing comment of “I read this and thought of you” or with an “I thought this was relevant to our discussion the other day” note attached with a paper clip. Perhaps you’re nodding as you read this because you are this person or you have a friend just like me.

Social media has only magnified this behavior. It’s easier now to simply retweet or comment on blogs, articles, news, announcements, etc. that I think my friends, associates, and colleagues would be interested in or benefit or learn from.

If being a teacher is at the very heart of who I am, writing is woven into the very fabric of my being. I could certainly regale you with tales of how writing has been integral to key moments of my life from memorable classes to scholarship applications to time overseas to business ventures through poetry, creative writing, journals, blogs, publication, etc. I choose to write and am compelled to blog because it gives me that voice to lend a perspective to what I’ve learned, who I’ve met, the resources I’ve discovered.

I like to talk to people, to interview them, and to learn of their stories. I am naturally curious. I enjoy doing research about a topic I am unfamiliar with. Like a reporter I want to ask thought-provoking questions that bring about well-thought-out answers that take the dialogue to a new level or on another trajectory. I want to put the angle on a story that no one envisioned. I stay sharp by reading the thoughts and perspectives of others. These tendencies lead me to formulate new ideas and responses, to bring together more than one concept into a new light.

Why they read

People love a good story. If you know me, you know that I love a good story. Everyone has a good story. It’s really a matter of asking questions to get at that story.

The problem is when organizations begin to think that their purpose in writing is merely to sell publications or increase conference attendance or give the latest statistics pertinent to their industry. When this happens, they’ve lost their way, they’ve lost their soul. Even corporations, associations, and businesses need to tell stories.

We’re in the business of storytelling. In fact I have this concept for a future blog post on “The Art of Storytelling”. When you tell stories, people respond. Your employees, members, and customers begin to see themselves in these stories. Stories should be about successful transitions– the little guy who makes it big, the one who was down and out who overcame odds or obstacles, the one who has a unique take on an all-too familiar problem.

When you tell stories like this… guess what? Your employees, members, and customers will start repeating them for you. They’ll start sharing your stories– not because they’ve been asked or to win a prize in a contest. They’ll be compelled- and it won’t be just online.




4 ways to turn what you’re already doing into blog posts

November 8, 2010 8 comments

Sometimes when I talk to people about social media, I get the distinct impression that they don’t know what to talk about on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or on blogs.  And, yet, when I ask them about their position, business, or industry, they often come across with such passion and insight.  And, it doesn’t matter whether they’re in technology, finance, education, or interior design.

So, here are 4 ways to convert what you’re talking about, thinking about, and doing every day into material for blogs and social media platforms:

  1. What do you find yourself talking about? Are you repeating the same testimonial from a customer again and again when talking with prospective clients?  Are you using certain stories or illustrations repeatedly in presentations?  Do you have a favorite fact you like to reference?  Are there new laws, guidelines, or mandates that govern your business or industry?  What about at informal gatherings, when someone asks you what you do, how do you respond?  My guess is that there is a blog post- maybe more than one- or material for social media in the answers to these questions.
  2. Who are you talking with? We each have a unique set of friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, associates, etc.  Some of them are quite knowledgeable, sometimes on topics seemingly unrelated to what you do on a daily basis.  But look for the parallels.  Look for the ways to apply their approaches, lessons learned, best practices, and enthusiasm to your responsibilities.  Also, remember, that not everyone is getting to have these conversations but may benefit from reading about them on your blog or social media profiles.  In the process quote or mention that friend, family member, neighbor, colleague, or associate.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to be quoted or mentioned, particularly when you’re talking about something you learned from them.  This may also get more eyes on your blog and faithful followers for future posts.  See how I did this recently as I converted a #SMfastfwd tweetchat into a blog post.
  3. What are you reading? Perhaps you have subscriptions to magazines, trade journals, national newspapers, and/or local newspapers.  Maybe there are certain web sites or blogs you visit on a daily or weekly basis.  Again, your list of sources is unique to you.  As you read, think about what your circle of contacts would be most interested in knowing about.  Again, it makes you a valued resource when others know that you are well-read and that you are keeping them in mind.  Reference your sources, and let the publications know you used them.  They will like it and may let others know about your blog or profile.  I do this at times by using guest blogs; you can see here how I did this with “Building a Facebook Presence” by Gini Dietrich.
  4. What are you attending? One of the greatest uses, in my opinion, of blogs and social media is allowing people to virtually attend events that they might not otherwise be able to be a part of.  While your at an annual conference, symposium, or meeting, why not turn what you’re learning into a blog post?  Or consider contributing to the event’s Twitter hashtag and doing live tweets.  It’s a great way to keep your following informed, and the event coordinators love to have the extra coverage.  See how I did this recently as I simply turned my notes from the Adobe Government Assembly last week into a blog post.  In fact I just found out this morning that Adobe PR sent employees a link with the press coverage they received on the event which included my blog post.

Where do you go for ideas or inspiration for blog posts or social media profile updates?  What other approaches work for you?