Today one of my best friends emailed me earnestly, saying that we should start a blog. We could talk about “music, politics, ethics, whatever.” He passed on some blog designs he liked, and links to popular blogs he was familiar with. He had just seen a presentation about blogging at work, and he was convinced that “we are behind” and we should be more involved. We could even pay someone to come up with a catchy logo design!
I think that this attitude is fairly common for people who start blogs, but it’s not what creates a successful blog. Of course, this blog is far from “successful” by my friend’s standards – there are at best a handful people who occasionally stop by (if you’re reading this, you may very well be alone). But since I created this as an extension of my personal branding, that’s ok with me; I don’t expect to see people subscribe. This blog may one day evolve into something more substantial; it may not. I’m not looking for thousands of followers. But if I was, I’d be doing a lot of things differently.
For one, I would have a very specific focus, and I would have experience and knowledge to contribute in that area. A successful blog is really built on a community of passionate people who share an interest with the blogger. And since nobody is passionate about everything, a blog about everything adds little value. Besides which, the value of a blog rests largely in the blogger’s expertise. I want to know that the blogger has more experience or knowledge (or at least humor!) than I do, otherwise why should I care what they have to say?
So we will probably start a new blog, and it will probably wither and die off slowly, like most blogs do. Because unlike a facebook, myspace or linkedin account, a blog requires consistent nourishment and attention. I’m not sure he knows what he’s signing up for.