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If Blogging Is So Easy, Why Is It So Hard?

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“I don’t have time to blog because…”

It’s funny how many people dismiss blogging. Most insist they are “too busy” (read: “too important”) to write on a regular basis. The thing is, it’s not just about the writing. It’s about communication and reach — and maybe, just maybe, about lofty human endeavors like art, too.

The “too busy to blog” people haven’t gotten the memo. The memo reads, in part, that blogging offers a communication and publishing platform unlike any before it — notably, in its ability to provide a public stage with the potential for global reach to anyone who can type and access the Internet.

When the telephone and the light bulb were invented we collectively gasped. Who was capable of “telephoning,” and who was eligible to answer? Who dared flip the switch for sunshine inside the home, and who was eligible to switch it off? Eventually both technologies were adopted so completely that thinking about who is “qualified” to use either is preposterous.

We Are All Bloggers Now
Blogging is heading this way, too. Sure, there are those who sniff about “journalistic quality” on blogs as a way to distinguish between who “can” or “should” blog. Others complain that various blogging merits are just self-indulgent posturing. Blog about what you eat at every meal? What’s the point? (Or so the argument goes…)

The reality is, the telephone has carried copious amounts of stupid conversations. The light bulb has shined down and made possible years’ worth of repetitive and mundane activities. Yet, both of these have brought with them profound social and economic changes, too.

It’s not the technology of blogging, or even the writing or music or video contained on a blog. The challenge is accepting that a blog’s usefulness can be both powerful and trivial. Just like the telephone. Just like the light bulb. That’s what’s so difficult about blogging. We’re all bloggers now.


Cornerstone of Content Marketing
Blogs are the cornerstone for content marketing, another reality met with simultaneous fanfare and collective concern.

Fanfare, because — looking solely at corporate blogging, a distinction within this new media — blogging can be the single cheapest marketing outreach for a small business. Concern, because, if you’re not discussing a personality-driven “ma-and-pa” micro-business blog, your publishing needs to reflect the niche news of a larger business or organization. Except, of course, it’s not news in the unbiased, “everything that’s fit to print” sort of way. That’s new territory.

Yet, businesses and organizations of all sizes are starting to appreciate that blogs are crucial to a strong business website and search engine visibility. Corporate blogs are also Ground Zero for establishing a brand voice. Further, blogs function as a collection and focal point of media created, curated, and consumed.

Who Is Worthy?
With these concerns, the question is, who is “worthy” of being a blog contributor? Yes, anyone can do it, but specialized bloggers and those with subject matter expertise are in greatest demand. This, too, plays into the insecurities inherent in excuses like, “I’m too busy to blog.”

The process of blogging is relatively simple — here’s a step-by-step business-to-business blogging roadmap.

Some organizations, like global insurance brand Marsh, have responded by training employees to become blog contributors. Some of Marsh’s blogging is public; most of it is internal. The latter blogging serves an important role transferring organizational knowledge between multiple geographic locations.

Again, we see that it is not the technology of the blog, or the contents, but the use — and potential impact — that is so difficult to quantify if you wrongly assume that all blogs vaguely serve the same purpose, and again if one wrongly assumes that the purpose of “blogging” is simply singular.


Solving the Blogging Problem
Perhaps you truly are too busy to blog. Maybe you realize there is a limit to your subject matter knowledge. Perhaps you suspect that your blog’s mission is off-course — it should be more formal or more personal, less frequent, or less one-dimensional. Or maybe you see how sharply effective blogging can be for search effectiveness.

This means outsourcing your blogging to the professionals.

But, if we all have access to the capabilities, and you are capable of contributing, who are the professionals?

Here’s a quick summation from the perspective of corporate blogging:

  • A writer, a subject matter expert capable of communicating with the tone required of the brand;
  • An editor, to fact-check and ensure clarity and cohesiveness;
  • A search marketing expert, to maximize the probability that communication efforts yield results;
  • An art director, to match visuals (in any form) in a manner that supports brand consistency;
  • And a content director, to strategize, plan, and execute the blog’s mission.

In short, blogging is not always the domain of an individual but more frequently the result of a team effort.

Bottom line is, just as no one should associate the idea of a “book” with one kind of literature, similarly, blogs — their purpose, use, and potential — are every bit as diverse. Except: The medium isn’t created as singularly as an author writing a book, or as loaded as “auteur theory” in filmmaking, which assigns all credit of creativity to the director alone. Blogging, like filmmaking, requires a team.

The artistic, intellectual, and even marketing merits of what we presently refer to as “blogging” are evolving. Marshall McLuhan called it years ago when he wrote, “The medium is the message.”

We are all explorers in this new medium. Right now, blogging is hard because it is too easy to underestimate its present and future potential as a communication form.

Citations:
  • PHOTO: Kim Piper Werker
  • IMAGE: Mike Licht
  • PHOTO: Flickr user americaswildlife
  • PHOTO: Jeremy Price
Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Katie McCaskey is a freelance writer on small business topics for Vistaprint, a leading provider of custom websites and other marketing products to businesses all over the world. Katie is a journalist, author, and marketing consultant.

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