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September 6, 2002
Blogging for business
© 2002, Douglas E. Welch
As a high-tech careerist you are probably familiar with weblogging, a growing trend on the Internet. Weblogs, or blogs as they are usually called, are popping up on every conceivable topic, from quilting to quantum physics. While many of these blogs take on the appearance of an electronic personal journal, blogs can also be used as a business tool to help you build your high-tech career.
There are several blogs that I read nearly every day. Most are focused around high-tech topics or discussion of recent news stories. After reading these for a while I decided that I also had a use for a blog. I could use it as a way to quickly and easily share information with my clients. My Word, (http://myword.blog.us) is designed as a business tool, providing a collecting space for all those small tidbits of information I come across on a daily basis. Previously, I may not have shared a bulk of this information because, alone, it really didnt seem important enough to send an email to all my clients. Collectively, though, the information can be very useful and clients like having a resource that they can check whenever they have the time.
What to include
The first step to developing your own blog is to consider what you want to include. This is only to get you started, though. As the blog grows you will find yourself fine-tuning the content as your needs, and the needs of your clients, dictate.
My Word reflects my own varied interests (and prejudices). It contains links to new software and upgrades, books that I have found, interesting useful web sites I have found in my travels and events and activities happening in the LA area. I think this combination of topics provides a good mix of hard information and entertainment. Your clients arent always working and they might like information on interesting topics outside of their business. In my case, I also run a mailing list for LA events, so even these entries are somewhat related to a business purpose. The variety of postings also reveals a bit about my own person interests without exposing the nitty-gritty of my everyday life to my clients. They learn something about me as a person, but not everything.
What not to include
In a previous Career-Op article (Keep it to yourself, 2/23/01, http://www.welchwrite.com/dewelch/ce/ce010223.asp) I asked you to consider what information you are sharing with your co-workers and employers. I believe that many of the same rules also apply to blogging, especially when blogging for business.
First, it might be detrimental to post blog entries detailing your adventures in the club scene or dating. Your clients probably dont want to know the details of your sex life or drinking habits. You would not necessarily brag to your boss about how drunk you were Saturday night. You probably shouldnt share this with your clients either. Then again, if your clients are looking for information on the club scene or substance abuse issues, maybe you would include these topics. The best general rule is to know your audience.
Politics is another topic that doesnt work well in your blog, unless, of course, your clients all agree with you. That said, I will sometimes address issues that directly effect the technology industry or local issues that effect my readers directly. Direct appeals for political donations for your political party or cause might turn away more clients than they attract. Again, a little sharing is nice, but you want to keep your blog appealing and useful to your clients. If you want to share more personal information, I would recommend you set up another blog strictly for that purpose.
Blogging for business can help you to develop deeper relationships with your clients by providing them useful and fun information. Your blog becomes an extension of your work. It adds depth to the services you provide 24/7. The combination of free access and easy-to-use blogging tools means that you can start blogging today without any investment except your time. Dive into the world of blogs. It is yet another tool to help you grow your high-tech career.
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about this column.
Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant in Van Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with other readers by joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on Douglas' web page at: http://www.welchwrite.com/dewelch/ce/
He can reached via email at email@example.com
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