Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

To Blog or not to Blog

When I have shared my new passion for blogging about executive coaching and social media more generally, with friends who run their own business, I get a range of responses:

1. Gimme your Twitter name and I’ll follow you. Follow me back though!

2. Yeah we were only talking about that again recently and we need to get our website done and want to get our online presence sorted.

3. Why would people be interested in knowing what I had for breakfast?

This post is aimed at those in Group 2.

I have written a very personal account highlighting some of the benefits and the downsides of engaging in social media, as I have experienced them, in the past four months. I’m not an internet guru. I’m certainly not an IT wizard but I hope this will help those of you who are still on the fringes, those who are still not sure about engaging in marketing your coaching (other) business online.

Do or don’t; the choice is yours, but I hope this helps you decide one way or the other.

Why?

I knew exactly why I started writing a blog. It was a business activity*. Well, it was at the start. Whilst it remains so, I have discovered it is also a deeply personal activity. Top Tip: You may encounter a similar experience should you decide to write, regardless, you should also begin by being clear about the reasons for starting.

Creative

The process of writing a blog about coaching is a creative experience that I can only liken to writing a book on your chosen subject. I haven’t written a book (perhaps I will?) but I would imagine that sitting and pouring youself into your words is very much like the experience I have had in writing this blog. Indeed the creativity element has allowed me to keep going in the early days when the visitor numbers were low. Top Tip: Do it. Have a go. Be clear who you are writing for and put finger to keyboard.

Professionally Developing

My views on certain elements of my coaching practise have changed, adapted or strengthened as a result of writing and also from reading the thoughts of others. As a business owner, despite my best intentions, I can occasionally forget to prioritise my own continuous developement. Writing helps me keep in touch with the latest thinking, or indeed I can help shape some of that new thinking by spending time in reflection as I write. Top Tip: Find a niche in your business area that you want to focus on and research and understand that group, then go write for them.

Engaging

There are lots of platforms that you can use to engage with people in your chosen subject. I was late to social media and whilst I do use Twitter, occasionally LinkedIn and Facebook, I am a real fan of Google+. The quality of engagement is a completely different experience: rich, varied, controllable and a place where people seem to more readily engage in conversation. Tapping into a variety of platforms helps share your message. Top Tip: Find a platform you can engage in that seems to work for you. Find some like-minded and some ideal client profile people to start engaging with.

Time consuming

There is not doubt that writing as many posts as I do per week (approx 2-3) is time consuming. You may not think so to read them, but each post is a while in development, as I play ideas around in my head. The writing doesn’t take so long. Finding good artwork and planning my week, to ensure I can release posts even when I am in front of clients and all the links that are needed to encourage traffic to read it, can be time consuming, despite some automating of the process. Top Tip: Define what time you need to spend on this activity. Don’t allow it to creep into other important tasks. Stick to your plan – it’s really easy to spend hours cruising around but not add any value to your business or anyone elses.

Commitment

I haven’t suffered from writers block yet (sorry !) but I could see a time when you might. There have been times when I just needed a break from it, so decided Christmas was a good time to get some distance. Refresh. I understand from reading around that there are some incredibly succesful bloggers who only write once a week, many large corporations produce many posts per day. Decide what works for you. Stick with it, or not. Top Tip:  If you start slowly with one or two posts per week, you can gauge how that works in terms of time and effort.

Thanks for reading. I would be interested to hear your views on your experiences, thoughts, concerns with engaging in the interweb !

 

*My internet strategy was agreed with Jim Connolly. I would recommed you talk with him, if you want some help with this.

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