There are times when I ask myself why I write a weekly column, as I have for six years. It’s a lot of work, after all, to add on top of running a company.
Well, I do it for the same reason I pursue entrepreneurship:
1. I do it to create meaning in my own life and in the world.
2. I do it to limn for myself what I really think.
3. I do it for personal therapy.
4. I do it to connect to the greater world.
5. I do it to be less alone.
6. I do it to rail against wrongness and injustice.
7. I do it for vanity.
8. I do it for pure love of words.
9. I do it to try to be a curator for things that really matter.
Orwell sums up business blogging pretty well for me personally. I do it for the same selfish reasons I meditate and exercise—to make myself humanly clear, for spiritual and physical health, and, not least, to genuinely seek to share useful insights, beliefs, experience, and ideas as a contribution to the universe.
But having a blog or a regular newsletter or a media outlet can also be helpful to business development.
We live in a paranoid, distrustful world where there are fewer and fewer anchoring principles. People no longer respond to traditional marketing and advertising. They respond to what they know and trust personally. A consistent, impassioned blog is one way to become a trust agent. (Along with actually being trustworthy each day, of course.)
There are several reasons business owners I know don’t do serious blogging.
- Time. This is a real concern. I spend about four hours/week on my weekly essays. I’m S-L-O-O-O-W. Most business owners could use at least 48 hours in their 24 hour day. We are bloody busy. Writing a blog becomes simply a choice of where to put your time. What is it worth when balanced with every other responsibility, personal and professional?
- Consistency. It is a commitment to do regular, meaningful business writing. Most of us get an inspiration we would like to share occasionally. But to do it once a week or more? Not so much.
- Vulnerability. Many executives and owners don’t like the vulnerability of blogging. They fear seeming self-aggrandizing and self-important in creating public content. They fear being judged for their stupidity or hubris. I say get over it. What other people think of you is none of your business.
- Technology. Mastering blogging technology is indeed another damn thing to learn. But if a dinosaur like me can do it, anyone can.
- Long-Term Gratification. Building a reputation as a trust agent takes time and builds slowly.
If you have the fortitude (and people choose to read you), blogging is a marvelous way to self-brand. It’s a way of becoming a business beacon in a noisy universe. You can become an effective curator of content for things that matter. Again, if you are trustworthy.
Most of all, a blog should only be etched with a sense of mission and generosity. If it serves to bring positive attention to your company, wonderful. But, if that happens, it should only be viewed as a penultimate product of genuinely having authentic and useful things to say.