I couldn’t possibly… blog!
This is the reaction of the majority of people in any organisation – even those in the marketing department and in my experience, particularly those in management. No time, maybe – a difficult job, certainly – copy-writing is a skill we must all respect and although there are reams of articles on the web for “Top 5 things successful bloggers know”, I don’t think this makes it any more possible.
There are millions of fantastic blogs and bloggers – my favourites include the usual suspects: Time Out London blog snarky London reporting, Kavey Eats storytelling of her (and husband Pete Drinks) food and drink adventures, and the stylish articles from Emerald Street. We know blogging is possible – it’s just picking a clear tone and valuable content, is essential to getting started.
One of the main barriers I have encountered, is the struggle we have with self-promotion. Particularly for us Brits, the thought of shouting “me me me” to the world, makes our toes curl – unlike our American cousins, who clearly have no such hangups when it comes to promoting themselves – see Beyoncé on Instagram micro blogging frenzy on Instagram the night of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Feeding from the American Dream, Trump and friends can stand up anywhere and say anything – much to my amusement, bemusement and sometimes utter horror. Of course I’m all for freedom of speech, but if UK brands struggle to access its benefits, due to our stiff upper lip, hardwired cultural bashfulness, and inhibited ability to expresses ourselves, then how can more organisations enjoy the many benefits of blogging?
Fear no evil.
Those who do blog, run the risk of being shot down – of course anything we put into the public arena is available for comment and reaction, the aim being to gather the positive attention and draw the audience to the news, expertise, brand or whatever the subject. I witnessed an interesting example of backlash to a LinkedIn post by Lady Michelle Mone last week – the “Bra Tsar” (as named in Saturday’s Guardian). I thought Lady M navigated the line between “attention on me” and “there is something for you”, by offering an hour of her time to anyone who replied with a comment saying why they should be chosen. I scrolled through some of the 350+ comments and a few jumped out at me: “Get over yourself woman” and “Why would I want to spend an hour with you? Maybe you’d like to spend an hour with me, more like”. Of course, I understand there will always be negative reactions surrounding those who climb high – people think they can take a free swipe at someone doing better than themselves and it will not matter. But there is a consequence to this ever present threat of negative response to self promotion; a deepening inhibition to blog.
Yes, you can.
Luckily, there is a way out of this terribly British blogging problem. As long as the blog has value for the reader then it will be well received, the fact that it might be ‘all about you’ will become irrelevant.
I will never truly overcome my British aversion to blogging about myself or even what is going on in G&I. If I tried to write something so focused on myself – “I am doing this” and “I think that” – I am sure I would not get past the first paragraph, for all the squirming at being so self-serving. As long as I keep in mind, “what’s in it for you?” – you being the reader, the audience, those taking the time to read my words – then the blog has genuine value, while sidestepping the mountainous road bump that is being a Brit who blogs.