One of the many benefits of social media is that it creates personal connections. As a Cisco blogger I enjoy meeting many people online, but every so often my role gives me the chance to meet interesting people face-to-face. I recently attended my first Networking Nine event titled “Blurring the Boundaries: The Future of Blogging” hosted by the San Francisco chapter of the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators). This event in particular, brought together a small group of senior communications professionals to enjoy a great dinner, fine wine and an in-depth discussion about their respective experiences on blogging.
Although none of us were self-proclaimed social media gurus, most do blog for fun, for work (supporting a product, service or organization), or for their executives wading into social media for the first time. In fact, some of us had experience across all these groups! As the evening progressed, the wine flowed and so did a healthy conversation about blogging. While we didn’t always agree, the discussion was great. Here are a few points that I took away from the event:
- Ask “Why?” – Many bloggers begin without any thought to their personal or professional objectives. Our group agreed that the best blogs we visited were those with a clearly identifiable intent.
- Add Value – We discussed that the most successful bloggers shared content that was valuable, controversial or entertaining (or a mix of all three!). If you plan to attract and grow an audience, it helps to know what you’re bringing to the table.
- Set Expectations – Some people are able to blog multiple times a day – and then there’s the rest of us! Your blog’s audience will appreciate knowing what and when you’re likely to post.
- Experiment – Different bloggers or audiences may respond to different methods. Have you considered how changing your mix of text, images, sound or video can better tell your story?
- Engage – Opening yourself up as a blogger means being part of a conversation. Accept that you’re just one voice and there are many people with different (and valid!) perspectives.
In a small room full of professional communicators, there was an obvious enthusiasm for blogging and a recognition that the audience should always be front of mind. If you would like to see and hear from two of the Networking Nine attendees, visit the SF-IABC Facebook site for a video post (filmed on a Flip camera of course!).
What do you think of these suggestions – is there anything you would change or add? And how do you think Cisco’s blog stacks up against these criteria? Are there things we’re doing well or could do better?