Some thoughts on where and what to blog

Today is the 10th anniversary of my blog. Or the 10th blogday, as my former colleague, Debbie Witney, called it in a comment made in the post published this time last year.

balloons-878937_1920.jpg
Image by silverstylus from Pixabay

In this 10th year, I published 55 posts, bringing the total to 554 posts. That’s over 35,000 words in the last year alone, and just under 360,000 words since I embarked on this journey. Thank you for being there! Thank you for reading (some of) these posts. Thank you for sharing it with others. Thank you for leaving a comment, or dropping me an e-mail, with a thought, a question, or a suggestion. While what I write about is not driven by popularity, this blog’s readers make me a better researcher and communicator. As I wrote, before: Knowing that you are there motivates me to broaden my reading; to learn more about marketing, consumer behaviour, and digital; and to experiment with new platforms, tools and even writing styles. Thank you.

fullsizerender

 

Are all of these cc 360,000 words great, good? No!!!! Honestly, some of the posts that I have written are quite bad. Blimey, a handful are actually embarrassing! But, each one helped me develop in one way or another. I worked out some aspect of my work. It gave me accountability. I experimented with new forms of communicating my thoughts. So, overall, I am really grateful to my past self for taking the plunge, and starting this blog. All going well, I plan to continue sharing my ideas and questions, and talking about research or marketing news that get my attention, for another year.

 

If you have been wondering whether to start blogging, I would warmly encourage you to give it a go. There are many benefits from putting your thoughts in a blog post, regularly or not. I outlined six benefits from blogging, here. And if you started but faltered at some point, and it’s been really long since you last published a post, that’s fine, too. Think of it as a season. Seasons have starts and pauses. That’s the way.

 

I think that one of the reasons some people struggle with blogging is that they adopt a very narrow idea of what qualifies as a blog, and as a blog post. So, I thought that I would share with you some thoughts on where and what to blog.

 

Where to publish? Aka, what is a blog, really?

The most basic form of a blog is, of course, to create your own account on one of the popular blogging platforms. I use WordPress, but there are others. Having your own blog can seem a bit daunting, so you may want to consider sharing a blog with someone who has similar interests to yours. For instance, the blog Marginal Revolution is a joint venture by two economists, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok.

 

If owning a blog – individually or with a colleague – still seems too much, then, you could consider contributing to a multi-authored blog. The LSE runs a number of fantastic blogs that accept external contributions, such as the LSE Impact Blog, the LSE Review of Books or the British Politics and Policy. Another example is the DoctoralWriting SIG blog.

 

Some blog owners also welcome guest contributions. If this is something that you would like to consider, check the About page of your favourite blog, or drop the owner an e-mail message. For instance, PhDTalk, Patter and {grow}, have all featured guest posts.

 

If you want to have your own platform, but don’t want to go through the hassle of creating and maintaining a blog, then you could look at long form publishing platforms such as Medium. This is a very good platform to amplify the reach of your writing, because your content may be included in curated lists of related content. It may even earn you a little bit of money. Mark Schaefer outlines the case for Medium, here. And I discuss when using this type of platforms is preferable to having your own blog, here.

Slide1

Yet another option is to publish your posts on a social network used by your target audience, which offers this feature. For instance, LinkedIn offers you this feature. The advantage, here, is that your audience is there, already. Also, those platforms tend to offer templates that are very simple to use. Though, you tend to have limited features. You are also limited to the reach of the platform. And, most importantly, you are building your presence in somebody else’s real estate. If Microsoft decides to pull the plug on LinkedIn, or the platform decides to remove this feature (as was the case with Facebook), you lose all your content.

medium

What to publish? Aka, what qualifies as a blog post?

Once you go past the hurdle of deciding where to publish, the next challenge tends to be deciding what to publish.

20140810-141554.jpg

In terms of the format, a blog post is usually thought of as a short-written piece. WordPress tells me that I have written an average of 646 words per post. My most popular post ever is 442 words long. The second most popular has 1339 words. The least popular 436. The length doesn’t really matter.

 

I think that people that blog regularly, and that blog for journaling purposes, tend to publish shorter posts. For instance, Seth Godin or Austin Kleon. But there are many exceptions to this.

 

What you write about, very much depends on the purpose(s) of your blog.

Purpose

Type of content

Examples

Develop your work Public note-taking. Interesting things that you come across and which are relevant for your work journal articles, books, podcast episodes, news articles…
Promote your work Work outputs Synopsis of your work, summary of publications, power point presentations, videos of your talks…
Engage with your work’s audience Work process (and work outputs) Ask questions, research diaries, reading logs, polls, data…
Community support and community building Advice FAQs, links, day in the life, interviews…
Creativity and experimentation Experimental Drawings, photos, short videos…
Journaling and accountability Record keeping Diary entries, progress report, book reviews…

 

At times, a post can be simply a collection of links to interesting content that you have seen elsewhere. That happens, sometimes, in the Memex 1.1. blog.

 

You could share things that you have published elsewhere. That is the format of the “Ask Ariely” posts, over at Dan Ariely’s blog. And some posts over in Raul Pacheco-Vega’s blog are, essentially, built around one of his Twitter threads.

 

Your posts don’t even have to be text based. You could share an infographic, a video, or a sound file. You could also share a power point presentation from a talk you did somewhere.

 

These are my thoughts on where and what to blog. Do you have other suggestions?

One thought on “Some thoughts on where and what to blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s