Some Lessons Learned

Wonder I am not a blogger, but I have a blog.  It’s the same way I would say I am not a golfer, but I like to play golf, especially with good company in nice weather.  About 6 months ago, I started this blog as a “parking lot” and an outlet to capture thoughts about many topics.  The topics are work related in nature, but I’m not looking to hawk wares from my company here.  I am learning a lot about conversation, engaging folks (or at least trying to), and what drives many of the social media blogging evangelists out there.  Frankly, it’s been a lot of fun.  I’ve decided to take a step back and look at what are some of the key things I’ve learned.  I know there are many, many better sources for blogging tips and advice, and to some of those authors what I have captured here could label yours truly as “Master of the Obvious.”  At any rate, anyone who jumps into social media has a learning path – I’m sharing some of mine, and would love to hear yours too.

1) Build It (Properly) and They Will Come

Search Engine Optimization is arguably more art than science.  Through looking at referrals to my blog in analytics, it’s easy to see Google searches are the number one search-related source of traffic.  What I did not imagine or anticipate is the types of search terms that got people to my content.  For example, “Working at Brulant” as search terms has brought a number of folks here.  This is a personal blog, although I do discuss my work on occasion.  Of course I immediately notified our recruiting operations and we are polishing up a more formal blog strategy.  In the meantime, two very interesting personal blogs have popped up from our recruiting folks at Talent Acquisition: What Would Darwin Say?  and the art and science of recruiting.  Hopefully the firm will see ROI from this but that is not my specific intent.  Either way, it’s cool to see how folks have found their way here.

2) I Like to Write

I was a political science major at UVM, and after a senior seminar on American Foreign Policy and a minor in American Literature I thought I’d never want to write again – too many late nights staring at my Mac Classic.  This blog has helped me to start building my writing skills again, and it’s fun to find a topic I’m enthusiastic about to let the writing fly loosely.  Of course, that leads to…

3) There Are Not Enough Hours In the Day

I like to write, but it’s far from ever being my day job.  There are statements of work, conference calls, strategy meetings, proposals, and seemingly endless other activities that consume my time.  I’m working on building social media skills internally in our organization, but most of that is on my own time.  Not to mention when I am home in the evenings I’ve got a very fun family to spend time with. (I have yet to hone my skills on the Wii, to the tune of my 7 year old beating me handily in MLB Baseball.  I would never have stood for that in the day, but I digress.)  This blog, not to mention other social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and others, could easily consume more time.  I need to manage all of the above with a balance, and this blog gets a post a week on average – less than the recommended twice a week to maintain loyal “readership” by many sources.

4) Good Content is Rewarded

Good content is essential to a blog.  I know not every post I author is a good one, but when one comes along, it gets noticed and rewarded with traffic, recognition, and comments.  You don’t need to ‘link bait’ to get people to that stuff, it just gets out there – a friend from Twitter posted a link of one of my posts on; Another made it onto Digg; The folks at Alltop were kind enough to list my blog there; Other better known bloggers have linked to specific posts or added this blog to their respective blogrolls; Offline, friends, family and colleagues have shared with me positive feedback.  I love hearing from former and current clients who noticed this site.  The whole thing has remained a fun cycle to watch and participate in, and I am inspired to try to “do good work” with my posts here.  A good analogy would be to the children’s book, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel in which a steam shovel and its trusty operator work a little faster and a little better with each additional person watching them work. 

There are many who have given me pointers (knowingly or otherwise) so far, and I thank all of them for their insight, tips, comments and suggestions.  I could highlight many folks or websites here that have good tips, but I’m just going to say a collective “thank you” to the folks who are passionate about this medium.  This has been a positive learning experience all around and I plan to continue it at a minimum just for that benefit.  What are some of the best lessons learned you have found from blogging or other social media tools?  If you haven’t started to yet, what is holding you back?  By the way, what led you to this post?

Photo credit: Austin Kleon via Flickr.