From MarketingProfs.com, Susan Solomon writes about blogs that bore her. I agree with some of her points, but not all (guess what, the parts I don't agree with are the subject of this blog post...it's more fun that way, don't ya think?). Specifically, the type of blog she's endorsing really seems to lack anything human. She says not to sound like a corporate newsletter, but some of her advice leads the blogger to do just that. I get asked a lot about the A-B-Cs of recruitment blogging (just a hint: if the questions start with "what is a blog", you've got some research to do before you call me...I'm just saying). So I have some standard answers about the things you should think about when you are starting, some of which overlap with Susan's recommendations, some of which conflict:
1) Know why you are blogging. This isn't just about having a point of view; it's knowing why it is that you would spend time doing it. If there's not some kind of goal that is accomplished through blogging, save your time for some other activity (might I recommend obsessive closet organizing? OK, maybe not). I've said this before: blogging is not a silver bullet and it's not a strategy. It's a medium. If it doesn't support a strategy, save it for your off-work time (and then you can make it about what ever you want), because it's not part of your job. Just something to think about.
2) Know you intended audience and then get to know them better. Knowing your goal should lead you here. My goals involve employment branding (an over hyped term for helping people understand what it's like to work here and helping them decide *if* they want to...humanizing the company), education (for example, helping people understand our application process, what an interview day is like, what kinds of positions we hire for), candidate identification (this happens when people comment on the blog or contact me directly via the blog to inquire about opportunities or to network). I can share more about the audience I assume comes here and who I have tried to target. Regardless of whether you fit my categories, I am glad you are here.
3) Write the kinds of things that a) your audience wants to read about and b) that support your overall mandate (this seems like a "duh" to me, but I think that it's easy to forget that humanizing can be a goal here). This is where I disagree with Susan. She says to basically keep the personal stuff off the blog because people don't want to read it. Well, it's hard to humanize a company (or a recruiting process) by talking about work only. I also want to share my experience as a person at this company (trust me, if it wasn't good for me, you wouldn't see me here). I find that blogs without some personal info, are sterile. And if I want that kind of sterile, I'll go to their corporate or organization website. And also..."zzzzzzz".
I mean, seriously, blogging is about relationships. Relationships are between people. People have lives. I'm not saying that the personal stuff should overtake the blog, but there should be a mix. Last year, I asked "What's the appropriate ratio of personal to professional posts?". Look at the comments people left...it was a hot topic then. I'm still of the mind that people want to know the person. And let me just add that without the personal blogging, there would be no Apprentice recaps so maybe some things have changed since last summer? Or maybe, "personal" isn't the right term to use. I don't blog on politics or religion (which is hard for me but I'm keeping my mouth shut on those subjects), which I personally think are personal (hee!). But I do post on some of the things that impact me personally at home or at work. So I suspect that there are degrees or personalness (OK, the lady who doesn't like my use of the word "really" is *really* loving that one, I'm sure). The difference is whether they are things that readers relate to themselves or via others, whether they are interested and whether those topics are divisive. My filter is divisiveness and alienation ("will this post alienate my intended readers?"), not whether it's personal.
Also, as the person that spends my time sharing here (which some of you have told me you appreciate...thanks right back!), I guess there's the opportunity for some of you to humor me when I post a picture of my dog (which you do...thanks again...from me and Jonas), since I only did it once. It makes me feel good. And this is a relationship, isn't it (whoah, college flashback...I learned if you had to ask the question, you probably don't want the answer that's coming...oopsie, that was personal, wasn't it)? And I've noticed a lot that there are a number of people in the blogosphere in general that don't like to "humor" others, even in small ways (hello, grammar police, I'm talking to you!). They are just grouchy and blogs give them the opportunity to say things they would never say to someone's face. So maybe the opinion that people don't want to hear about others' "personal stuff" is just based on the grouchy puppy kickers that have been observed in the blogosphere (or the posters' topics are divisive). Some of my more personal posts get more comments than some of the professional ones.
I guess I have issues with people that set "rules" for blogging (yeah, I feel a separate post coming on...have to let it brew for a bit). I figure that telling people the kinds of topics you could think about (sharing from my experience) is one thing but telling them to "do this" or "don't do that" is something different (because it assumes you know their experience). And I think I've already shared my distaste for the word "manifesto" (let's talk about the difference between advice and rules, shall we?). Which kind of brings me back to the point of being an expert on something if you are going to blog. Who wants to take advice from people that you don't feel you know but who are experts that tell you what to do? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way. Never know whether rhetorical questions deserve question marks. I think they do.). That sounds fantastic. I'd rather be a person that knows a lot about marketing/recruiting/blogging. Because my goal here has been to connect to people, not to become an "expert" (and it's your call whether I am or not).
(Big deep breath)
Anyway, Susan does give you some interesting things to *think about* in her article (and my intention is not to criticise Susan...I do agree with a lot of the tips she gives). I would just recommend taking any of this kind of advice (which sound more like rules sometimes) with a grain of salt...the advice included on my blog as well (it's never my intention to sound like a know-it-all, but I'm sure it can come across that way in my eagerness to share "the world according to Heather"). It sounds to me like Susan is telling you what to do to attract her as a blog reader. My advice is based on my experience as a blogger. I guess that makes it kind of personal, huh?