And by ‘egg,’ I mean ‘blog.’
Beth Harte and Geoff Livingston recently wrote a great article about weeding out the ‘carpetbagger’ social media experts. In their list of 25 things to watch out for, I agreed wholeheartedly with 22 of them – and feel quite strongly about the three I disagree with.
The first point: ‘First recommendation is to blog’ is tackled below – the other two (blog ghostwriting and personal branding) are coming soon.
I can see why it might not always be the right first step for every single person or company. But, I have a hard time swallowing the notion that blogging first might be a misstep for most people – or that its suggestion would make the suggester a ‘carpetbagger.’ I started with my blog and then walked onto the social media scene, and my chosen order was highly beneficial for me, both personally and professionally. Here’s why:
1. Slow, steady, safe pace. My blog gave me a quiet place to watch my ideas develop and be instantly published. At first, no one was even looking, then readers started to show up, then their comments arrived. I had time to find my voice and learn how to respond to people in this medium. If you haven’t noticed, social media happens fast – especially on Twitter – and jumping into the networking madness before I really knew myself online (or how ‘online’ worked) was not the best choice for me.
2. Reason to interact. When you first start reaching out on social networks, sharing your blog content is a great way to introduce yourself (and I don’t mean in a pushy, salesy way) – but it does give you something to say. Having written your posts, you’ve obviously formulated your own opinions on topics that you will now feel confident discussing. Also, as a blogger, you have a healthy dose of appreciation for the other bloggers out there and it’s something you have in common (writing, tech, design, functionality, etc.) to connect about.
3. Portfolio, calling card, resume. Your blog is all of these things – so when people check out your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, (etc.) page or bio, they have a clickable link that immediately provides an in-depth look into who you are and what you do. When I go to someone’s Twitter bio, for example, and there is no site/blog listed, I have virtually nowhere to go – no way to connect, forge a relationship or network. In this scenario, there is only a small amount of information available that tells me what this person can do for me and what I can do for them. Personally, when I network, I want all of my talents and skills visible to maximize my connection possibilities.
4. Blogs, by definition, expand our ability to be found online. My blog is part of my social networking world. Before I even set foot onto a social networking site, I had built a community around my blog. Then, my blog and my social networking sites blended, merged and grew together – and they continue to do so. In fact, both my blog and my social networks feed each other via organic searches, as well as word of mouth. (people find my blog and then come to follow me on Twitter and vice versa).
A blog is a brilliant way to establish an online presence by letting the world know all about you and your thoughts on everything connected to your industry and area of expertise.
5. Blog as listening tool. I don’t care what your business is – you have to listen to clients, customers, colleagues, peers, the world to succeed. Otherwise you won’t know what they want, why they want it or how you can give it to them. Blogs are a great listening tool because you can ask questions, listen to comments and watch your stat diagnostics (what people are searching for and reading). Of course, social media is a great listening tool as well (would never suggest otherwise).
6. Freedom and ownership. With so many rules and guidelines, blogs allow you to publish, to own, to think your thoughts and explore without being at the whim of a publisher. Your own real estate is always a great place to start…didn’t Madonna start off by singing and dancing around the house in her underwear? Certainly not on the world stage.
And, at the end of the day, I love blogs because they allow for so many different opinions – no one has to be right or wrong, but the arguments can and should be heard and discussed.
What did you do first? Blog or social networking?
Do you feel strongly that one or the other should happen first?