Hone your Planning skills by Blogging
I’m a fairly recent convert to this whole blogging thang.
Several colleagues had, over the years, suggested that I start doing it. Perhaps as a way to stop me filling their in-boxes with other drivel I’d stumbled across and had an opinion on. Perhaps because they thought I might genuinely enjoy it.
But it was only quite recently that I properly came back to blogging and, thus far, have stuck to it.
So when I did start doing this with a bit more regularity, my wife, bless her, asked why I bothered. At present my site traffic probably equals that of the runway cam at Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe but it’s growing. Now if only it was growing at the rate of Zimbabwean inflation, I’d be overjoyed. Her question was valid though because, as those who blog know, it aint easy.
So here was my answer to the “why the frig do you bother?” question…
It forces me to be disciplined: As report cards dating back to age 6 attest, Hilton has always shown great potential but has a tendency to be a tad lazy. You can probably dial down “great” and dial up “tad”. Having personally committed to post at least one post a week, I have to retain some discipline to keep that commitment. Of course, with my swelling readership I have an audience to satisfy so that keeps me disciplined too.
It keeps me curious: I do adore our industry (thankfully, imagine how hard this would be if I didn’t) and it is evolving at lightning speed. With so many interesting conversations going on, remaining curious is essential IMHO. Having to generate content means I need to keep abreast of those conversational threads like never before.
It forces me to focus: Yes kids, these posts are the outcome of a focused mind. Shocking isn’t? Seriously, there are too many threads going on for anyone short of the NSA to keep track. But writing a blog – and keeping it under 2000 words – means having to read, review, and synthesize what is good from the inevitable chaff.
It forces me to have an opinion: Its easy to peruse some content and then hit “forward” on your email. Its harder when you have to interpret what that content is saying and whether you agree or disagree with it. Do you believe the logic holds? Do you consider that topic irrelevant or a real key trend? I always prided myself on being a good content distributor, being a content creator requires infinitely more engagement with the topic. It requires me to ask “So, Hilton, what do you really think about this?”
It makes me accountable: Everything I write on this blog has my name, my brand, my reputation attached to it. No more hiding under the veil of content re-distribution. I had better have the courage of my convictions if I’m going to blog about it. For an example of shameless buck-passing though, see my earlier post “I don’t have the answer but then neither do you”. Again, everything comes into way sharper focus if its gonna carry your name behind it.
It keeps me competitive: There are tonnes of way smarter people blogging out there. So this blog forces me to stay on my toes, to not become complacent or rest on my laurels. I’m currently a freelance Strategist here in Canadabut, hopefully, I can start to build a reputation beyond that. Heaven knows I have several more years of my career ahead of me. I’ve certainly explored variations on my writing to keep competitive. Guest bloggers and roundtables have proven quite interesting to both me and my readers. The Four Points idea, for example, came from wondering how to give my blog a more distinctly global feel and to work with some colleagues across the world whose opinions I really value. Scroll down for a flavour of Four Points.
It appeals to my vanity: I’d be lying if I said I don’t like seeing spikes in my site traffic. Any blogger who tells you differently is talking BS. Better yet I love it when people comment on my blog. It was created as a forum for discussion so I relish the opportunity to thrash it out with my readers. Like I frequently say, I don’t have all (or even many) of the answers but I do like a good debate.
But the most important reason of all…
It gets my Mom off my back: My mother always wanted me to write the great Zimbabwean novel. Yes such a thing does exist Mr Salinger. I just couldn’t get off my lazy ass long enough in the past to do it. Now I can point at my blog and my Mom relaxes a bit. Sure it aint no Pulitizer or Booker contender but those early report cards have already managed her expectations in that regard.
Bottom line I have grown to love blogging. These are the reasons I keep doing it despite a few raised eyebrows from my darling wife.
For those of you who maintain your own blog, why do YOU do it?
For those of you who don’t – and I have several friends who’d just be fantastic at this I know – why DON’T you? If I can, then the proverbial “barriers to entry” have got to be incredibly low.