For the second year running, I spoke yesterday at a Workplace Trends “social media for business” conference, hopefully helping people who work in construction and property-related businesses understand a bit more about B2B use of new media. Last year, I talked about Twitter; this year, I talked about ‘Blogging for business’.
Blogging as a byproduct
I was asked about how much time I spent on blogging (a common social media question sometimes interpreted as ‘how much time did I spend not working’), and one that I slightly side-stepped by explaining that a blog post (or a “social object” such as a tweet) was often an additional byproduct of another activity. For example, rather than compile handwritten notes, I will often tweet soundbites of information, or I will live-blog my thoughts direct to a blog post – instead of trapping them in a notebook. As a result, I can often quickly look back at conferences and use my Twitter-stream (or perhaps a Storify record of tweets including mine) or open up my blog and read what I wanted to remember.
This week, for example, I attended a user conference given by London-based construction collaboration vendor Asite, and I tweeted a bit, live-blogged from the event, and took some photos; afterwards, I also collated all of these outputs (along with tweets and some other content shared by others into a Storify stream. My initial impressions of the event were captured in a blog post that emerged in sections during Monday’s event, while I also wrote a post-event follow-up post reflecting on the day. (I did much the same thing for a second event on Wednesday too.)
I think one person’s notes trapped in a notebook aren’t always as useful as a set of notes captured by several people all listening, picking out their key ‘nuggets’, snapping photos, and capturing them in tweets or “macro-blogs”. Many’s the time I’ve reviewed an event and picked up nuances I missed at the time, or benefited from comments, images or links shared by other people that gave new, bigger or different interpretations.
Share what makes you different
Over coffee, I also explained that even a reluctant blogger might be persuaded to produce a stream of useful articles if they could be byproducts of other activities. For example, a busy designer or business development manager might have explained a design approach in an email or a case study, or prepared some ideas for a proposal or presentation – these are sometimes items that can be re-purposed for use as blog posts. I stressed that you don’t have to give away all your trade secrets, but sometimes you can share enough of something that makes you different or special – that’s what customers often find most valuable, that’s what influences them to pick you as their supplier, consultant, etc.