Digital Marketing Innovation

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The Challenge of Blogging Realities

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“We need to have a blog!”

These simple words are enough to chill the blood of many digital marketing consultants. It’s not that having a blog is a bad thing, quite the opposite, just that the expectations of starting a blog aren’t always the same with managing one and keeping it going.

WordPress dashboard interface

Starting a blog is easy. It’s an easy decision and with software like WordPress a fantastic looking blog page can be created in minutes. For a change, the technology is the easy part. What’s hard is to get over the hurdles of always having something to share with your ‘audience’. Actually, the first major hurdle isn’t about writing a regular ‘column’ as much as it is able getting past the feeling that no matter how much you write or how brilliant your blog posts are you can’t help but wonder if you’re simply writing for an audience of one – yourself.

When I have a client who wants to start a blog I strive to make it clear that having an effective blog is not unlike pet ownership. That cute puppy you brought home is going to end up a full grown dog at some point and apart from needing to be fed on a regular basis will also cost plenty in vet’s bill’s over the years, will chew on things it shouldn’t and will seemingly go out of its way to vomit on the carpeting from time-to-time. That dog can also be a fantastic friend, companions and source of joy and amusement. It’s a commitment of time and money and it’s really hard to walk away from. But, like a blog, if you only fed the dog when you remembered, or played with it once in a while, it’s probably not going to be a very enjoyable relationship for you or the dog.

The bottom line is that to be an effective blogger you need to show up even when you don’t want to and share even if you think nobody is paying attention. And you may be right when you first start out! It’s not uncommon for a new blog to be a bit more like a journal. But sooner or later you will get a bona fide reader who will show up because of some sort of serendipitous connection between you, some key words and your reader. From there a relationship can grow. But you need to keep on keeping on.

Spider Graham

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Written by Spider Graham

April 16th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Begin Anywhere

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I have a card tacked to the cork board in my office with is a quote by musician John Cage that says ‘Begin Anywhere’. When I saw this last year in a book store I had to buy is so I could remind myself that everything we do in life is a process.

I’ve been in digital media marketing and development of one kind or another for over 20 years. During that time I have created literally over 1000 different digital products and I can probably safely say that there are very few I finished to my satisfaction. This isn’t to say that any of these ads, CD-ROMs, training programs, etc was bad (although I’m sure there were a few on the lower end of the bell curve!) but that the mere process of creating anything opens us up to new ways that we can improve on our creations. In an sense, you never really finish anything that you build because you are constantly changing your perspective and expectations for the project while underway.

Begin AnywhereThis week I rolled out a new web site (spidergraham.com) that I have been thinking about for a while. I wanted a place where I could promote what I do while also sharing what I’ve learned with people who want to learn from me. The site still has some problems. There are annoying browser version issues that still need to be resolved and the RSS feed isn’t as useful as I would like it to be. But the site is live because there’s nothing to keep it from being so. It’s not perfect but as I identify things I want to change and improve upon in the future it will get better and better (although probably perfection is never going to happen, ever!).

The point is, Begin Anywhere with all that you do. Don’t focus on perfection. Focus instead on progress.  We all need to start in order to continue. Sure, I could keep working on my site for a few more weeks or even months in an effort to iron out all the bugs but that’s not the point. If I never shared the site until it was absolutely perfect then I would never open myself up to feedback from the people I created it for (you!). In the long run, that’s the real reason to do anything.

Written by Spider Graham

January 16th, 2012 at 3:48 pm