(Or how I learned to love blogging and stop worrying)
Yes. Short answer. A somewhat clichéd story but I have been resistant to the concept of blogs (I know, I know). I didn’t get them and found their superficially incestuous references slightly self-congratulatory. Self-Indulgent even. Well, we live and learn as they say in Yorkshire
Completed some work with the lovely people at Channel 4 .Smart, dynamic, creative, related to an immediate business challenge, receptive to learning. What more could you ask from a client? They kindly asked me to submit for a large piece of work around leadership.
Argh- that’s not me. My work comes via word of mouth. I have a blog that I need to use more, a business card plus one rather fabulous if slightly obsolete PDF.
I agonised over how to present myself, of course and finally was brave enough to show an ex BBC news journalist, now a coach, my thoughts. “I don’t market myself” I boasted on the submission. The only answer, quite rightly was “well why the hell not.”
So here goes. Why the hell not?
- It is scary
a branding exercise is exposing. Is the work around creativity perceived as smoke and mirrors? I know it is effective, highly successful and wins pitches, competitions, develops leaders, affects change and moves organisations forward. I am an educational strategist so I know a bit of my work even has a strong moral purpose, for goodness sake. But it is all based around a concept that is shrouded in myth, condones terrible behaviours and is synonymous with elitism. Creativity is a subject many perceive as unfathomable. How do I describe what I do without resorting to hyperbole, nebulous language and a series of processes that sound a bit nuts out of context, quite frankly. Using the blog allows me to do this.
- People buy from people, surely
Can I develop a tone of voice that sums up why I believe I get work? There are others that deliver workshops and training. It is my deconstruction and re-presenting of the theory in an emotionally engaging and creative way that is my USP. This is tough to describe on paper. If I can tell you you can question, respond, we can have a dialogue And you see me..
- What do I do?
The perennial question. Still working that one out. Reading blogs gives my work structure, shape and direction. One day I may be able to condense what I do and produce a snappy mission statement. I am not there, yet.
- “Conventional” marketing is less and less effective
I might be rejected. And it doesn't work very well. So let’s not play. I don’t know a lot and most of what I do know I learn though the brilliant communications of Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki..And the lovely Mr Creative Inspiration but god forbid we should talk about work at home. He’s a marketing strategist and a prolific blogger. Now maybe that is the real reason I have resisted! Why waste time and emotional effort on something with a high failure rate. Lots of things can look fabulous. Surely it is what people do and their interaction with others that count in my area?
I believe in learning by doing: the only way to learn. Our intelligence is dynamic and multi-faceted. Does conventional marketing capture this?
- It takes too much time
Indulge me a little. I have children, I live in London, cherish my friends, try to run, cycle, like to appreciate the extraordinary cultural opportunities on my door-step... engaging in a marketing exercise is not top of my priority list.
- No marketing is a strategy
No it’s not
So- my blog is my marketing. It is my product. I am developing a product through a medium I feel comfortable with. I am at the bottom of the learning curve, I admit, and already have sharpened up through this great post
The technology will get easier.The images will come. Roll with it.
This is as good as it gets right now. My job now is to not let it be scary, to try to capture an authentic tone of voice, to find the time and to demonstrate through my postings how I have helped people to learn.
Blogs now are a vital tool for my work. Not only do I refer, recommend and generally try to impress (as if) my clients with the diversity of my reading but I never cease to be inspired and motivated by their content.
So what does that tell me about the authors? They reference their ideas, they use research and translate this into practical application, they are efficient, they amuse, provoke, challenge and extend my thinking. Would I want to work with them? Of course.
The answers are always inside us if we bother to look.
Does a blog offer opportunities to share your work and wrap a description of what you do around a meme that may be of value to someone else? I hope so. And who really cares about what we did with someone else- it is what you did that could be of value to them that counts.
So that is my new year’s resolution. Or February resolution at least. January is rubbish enough without giving ourselves extra pressure. To make blogging a habit, therefore I become better at it, therefore it becomes easier…My blog is embryonic. But at least I have jumped off the cliff.
I am mixing too many metaphors now...
I am really looking forward to chatting to Mark, I hope our meeting will confirm that we share similar values, sensibilities and possibly aspirations. And if not we will have a nice cup of tea looking at The Thames.
Mark and I have similar clients, references and I think work in similar territories despite the fact that I am not a coach. We live close-ish to each other in London. And I would never have had the fortune to engage with his work without his blog. His product is inspiring and I would buy him.
It appears I am converted.