Aside from the assistance I try to provide other bloggers through this blog, I actually do help a few bloggers hands-on. Unfortunately, I don't get to spend as much time to do that as I'd like to – I have to work to pay the bills. Yesterday I took the day off and attended a regional web conference. The conference was fantastic, a compact day full of 1 hour sessions that were jam-packed with information from web professionals.
The beginner blogging session was packed! When you've been blogging for over a year, you forget that many people aren't exposed to blogs or the underlying technologies. One of the best questions of the session was, “How can I tell the difference between a blog and another website.” I really had to think for a minute, then explained that you may not be able to tell the difference anymore. Many new websites incorporate blogging as a standard of the content section. Of course, sites like mine ‘look' like a blog – with a collection of journal posts on the home page in reverse chronological order… but some others don't even come close!
Who should be Blogging?
Another great question was asking how blogging could assist in non-technical or political industries. Blogs lend themselves to politics because of the widespread hysteria and cash . Blogs have always lent themselves well to technology because, lets face it, being a successful blogger usually required a high aptitude for technology. Blogs can absolutely assist in any industry, though! The latest blogging engines and content management systems have automated many of the options that were once manual.
My friend, Glenn, blogged while on a mission in Mozambique. I'm surprised that religion and philanthropists haven't adopted blogging more. Fred Wilson blogs about being a Venture Capitalist. I'm surprised at all of the industries that don't blog, either. Why don't scientists blog and share their discoveries? Why don't retailers blog about store openings, customer service, and specials? Why doesn't the President blog? (No one listens to the stupid radio show!) Why don't Police blog and talk about the difference they are making in the community? Why don't teachers blog and share their day to help students and parents? They really need to be!!!
Blogging and Content Management System Convergence
An example of a website that doesn't look anything like a blog is CNET. The news section of CNET truly is a blog in every sense of the word. The articles are in reverse chronological order and each of the articles has a permalink, incorporates links, comments, pings, and even some social bookmarking links. But it's a news site!?
Content Management Systems are catching up with blogging… or vice versa. Web Application providers recognize the SEO benefits of blogging and have integrated those features into their applications. But they have still not solved many of the issues, though! Yesterday I wrote about focusing on your strengths to be successful.
Blogging is no different. There's a lot to leveraging the technology, and a lot to leveraging your content. Many people write fantastic blogs with incredible content but their site fails to grow… not because it's a bad blog, but because the blogger doesn't understand and exploit the technology to attract new readers.
Out of curiosity, I googled Blog Coaching. I'm not going to name names, but I reviewed about a dozen of the sites of those companies or individuals that classified themselves as ‘Blog Coaches'. Not a single one of them talked about the actual technology! In reviewing the details, most “Blog Coaches” were simply copywriters and brand strategists. No doubt that these are essential elements of a corporate brand, but geesh.
I suppose it's like racing a car and never actually shifting gears. Your engine is revving as fast as it can, but everyone else is flying by you and you can't understand why! You really need a coach that understands how the entire car works if you want to win the race, not just how to drive. You need someone who is going to squeeze every last bit of speed and power out of the blog AND the blogging software. My success with blogging has really been a combination of the two. I realize that at times I do not write well, but I make up for it by tweaking every ounce of horsepower out of my engine.