News flash to those thinking about or currently writing a blog — it is really, really hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I think blogging is one of the most important ways that an individual or company can show how they’re different/better than their competitors. A company’s business philosophy and technical competence shows through in the words they write. Plus, there’s something to be said for being forced to challenge current perceptions and having to articulate a vision. It’s a great mental workout and shows current and potential customers a window into how strong a company really is.
However, the reasons to write a blog are also the ones that make it a challenge. First, we’re not all first-class writers (if you’ve flipped through mine, I’m sure you’d find plenty of mistakes). Second, it’s tough to find a voice that balances a professional tone and the openness that the social media world requires. Third, there is a time and mental resource challenge associated with a blog and can sometimes let weeks go by before we have the chance to sit down and write. Finally, if you don’t get the readership you want, it’s easy to get discouraged and allow a blog to become a graveyard.
Confession: I have a particularly difficult time writing my blog. Should I be funny at the risk of being offensive? Should I be brief but short on details? Should I come off as an expert or open-minded learner? Who should I be writing for? Should I write for only myself, or should I try to build an audience? Is there anything I’m going to say that might come back to haunt me or get me fired? And what the heck do I write about, anyway?
I’ve been working on figuring out the best way to solve these problems. As a proud BlackBerry owner, I’ve downloaded and used the WordPress app, which lets me get some thoughts down that I can either publish immediately or develop more fully when I get time. I’ve been attempting to schedule time to think about certain topics and decide what might make sense to write about. However, these are just process solutions; they don’t get to the bottom of my main issue, i.e. what is it that I should be saying and how do I say it?
I’ve recently engaged an editor and PR veteran to do some analysis on this blog. One of his areas of expertise is in co-authoring and ghostwriting, and he has mastered the art of identifying a “voice” and applying it to developing copy. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say, even if it’s going to be tough to hear.
Have you done an audit of your blog? Have you gotten feedback on whether or not you’re saying the right thing, being brief enough, or speaking to the right audience? Do you think you’d benefit from a professional blog audit? I’d love to hear from others who might be suffering from this challenge.