Thursday, January 7, 2010

Starting a Blog — What Benefits Are There?

Do you operate a personal blog?  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how many blogs there are in cyberspace.  According to Technorati, there have been at least 133,000,000 blogs indexed by them since 2002.   Universal McCann, a company specializing in social media research, states 73% of Internet Users have read blogs.  Clearly, blogs are a prevalent channel of communication on the Web!  So why are so many people jumping into this arena?

Technorati, in their article “70 Usable Stats From The 2009 State Of The Blogosphere” cited the following as the top motivators, for bloggers, in an annual study they conducted in December 2009:

  • 72% blog in order to share their expertise.
  • 72% of those who are self-employed and blogging are interested in attracting new clients.
  • 71% blog at least in part to speak their minds.
  • 70% say that personal satisfaction is a way they measure the success of their blog
  • 63%  say that blogging has led them to become more involved with things they’re passionate about as a result of blogging.
  • 61% blog in order to supplement their income.
  • 53% of professional bloggers are interested in attracting new clients from blogging.

I am often asked by my friends and colleagues why I chose to create a blog.   Any successful blogger will tell you it is a ton of work to maintain one, let alone generate income from it.

I entered the blog world as part of an overall personal strategy to build my credibility and network, in an industry significantly impacted by the recession of 2008-09.  My vision was to find ways to strengthen my position and value as an Experient employee, and create leadership opportunities for myself.

Lets be clear, I do not blog for a living.  In my world blogging is a part-time, “off-the -clock” venture.   The following are my ongoing blogging objectives:

  • build credibility as a thought leader in my job as a Strategic Account Manager for Experient and on the personal side, as an individual.
  • Create connections with other like-minded professionals, expanding my existing business and personal networks.
  • Maintain a collaboration channel to engage with others in brainstorming innovative solutions for pervasive meetings and events industry issues.
  • Share life experiences and insight with other people helping them enrich their personal lives.

So why should you create and maintain your own blog?  My own artistic instincts urge me to respond by asking,  why not?  Realistically, though, Blogs are not for everyone.  Ask yourself the following questions, which may help you determine if a blogging venture will be the right decision for you:

**Key Question — Do I enjoy writing? If your answer is no to this question, then you should stop here! Blogging is most likely not for you.  If you answered yes read on…

Question #2 — Are there topics, either business, or personal, I am both knowledgeable and passionate about?

Question #3 — Do I enjoy interacting with other like-minded individuals, engaging in collaborative learning opportunities?

Question #4 — Am I interested in expanding my personal network of business and/or personal contacts, building new meaningful relationships?

Question #5 — Do I seek to enhance my credibility as a person and build my reputation as a thought leader in my business sector?

If  any combination of questions #2 to 5 resonate with you, then you should strongly consider initiating a blog.  There really is nothing to lose, as if you try it out and don’t find it enjoyable or productive you can discontinue.  There is no financial investment to get started, assuming you have a computer with reasonable features.  A number of hosted blog applications are available free-of-charge, such as Blogger and wordpress.

The blogging community is a huge network of intellectually passionate people, who are enthusiastic about writing.  They are  eager to enhance the learning process, by exchanging ideas, best practices, and experiences with other users.  Intertwined with other social media tools, blogging will continue growing exponentially.

Where do you fit into the blogging spectrum?  If you are not yet a part of the Blogosphere, did you take the above litmus test, to determine if blogging may be a good fit for you?  If you are already an established blog author, what motivates you to write articles?  What advice do you have for our readers?  I look forward to your comments and contributions!

Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Lutz January 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

Mike, great post! I don’t know how people like you are able to do a high quality blog in your spare time. It is a ton of work. But when you find your passion and follow that path, it can be very rewarding.

Another way to show your thought leadership is to read a bunch of blogs and join in the conversation. You really can get similar results without putting out a shingle. As long as you are helpful and stretch the minds of others, you’re building value and your personal brand.

You could also do this through micro blogging on twitter, your LinkedIn status updates or even facebook. A lower tech approach is cutting out an interesting article and sending it to someone to be helpful.

Keep on Bloggin! See ya in Dallas, big guy!

Dave Lutz – @velchain

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP January 8, 2010 at 10:03 am

@Dave Lutz,

Thanks for the compliment Dave… It is difficult to write consistently.. I am trying to get better at it.. but sometimes there just is not enough time in the day.

You are the master, Dave, at commenting on blogs and I actually meant to comment on that in my article.. thanks for bringing this up. The whole point behind blogs, from my perspective is to stimulate conversation, so your point is well taken.

You and Jeff are going to be a daunting combination.. with his blog articles and your commenting and surfing the net… should be really value rich for you guys.

Thanks for taking time to contribute and see ya in Dallas!

@michaelmccurry

Reply

Jenise Fryatt January 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Great post, Mike. In starting my own blog, all of your questions were no-brainers, for me. I’ve always loved writing, and am pretty known among my friends as being (sometimes too) passionate about issues. Starting out as an avid Tweeter, reading and posting links to other blogs for several months before I began my own, really helped me establish myself on the web, so I had a nice foundation. Now people I have helped promote on Twitter, are helping me.

Blog posts don’t always have to be about writing an article. They can be reblogs (Zemanta has a great gadget that allows you to take parts of other blogs and post them, with a link, on your blog as a recommendation) videos, podcasts, lists, even(like your white bean soup) a great recipe you want to share. Your use of Google Wave to post collaborative thoughts on a subject, has been very inspirational!

You have been a great example, and motivation for me to get involved. Thanks again!

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