Blogs and Networking
By Kevin Eikenberry ©
In the middle 1990's everyone started talking about needing a
website. Now, the new "must have" is a web log or blog. While blogs can come in
all shapes and sizes, a blog is just a very simple way to publish a journal,
record of events, thoughts, ideas or whatever the author wants to write about. A
blog sits on a website - whether that site is run by you or managed by a company
that will "host" your blog.
Blogs started coming into the general
public's awareness with a large number of political blogs written during the
2004 U.S. Presidential election campaign. Because of this, you may think
blogging is part journalism and part political commentary, and therefore not of
interest to you or the advancement of your business.
Blogs can be
journalism. They can be political commentary. They can be personal diaries or
journals. They can also be way for you to show your uniqueness and build a
conversation around your business and professional interests. That is how I use
Because blogs are designed to
be easily updated and are already on a website (don't worry you don't need to
know ANYTHING about websites or web design to start one), you may find a blog
could replace or supplement an email newsletter. They are easier to do, easier
to update, and you don't have to worry about emails getting delivered!
you already have a website, adding a blog can help you get more visitors who are
interested in you because you will be writing about your area of expertise. And
since the search engines love websites that are tightly focused and updated
often, your site can move up quickly in the search rankings.
plenty of places to learn much more about the technical aspects of blogs and
blogging. Just do your own search on Google (or your favorite search engine)
get the latest information.
How You Can Benefit
say you are an insurance agent. You have expertise in life insurance
and a specific set of
benefits you bring to your Clients. A blog gives you a platform to talk
the latest ideas related to life insurance and life planning. You can give
Clients (and potential Clients) tips and checklists. You can give them
ideas. You can relate the latest news to your products and services. The ideas
are endless; these are just meant to be a start.
Of course, if you aren't
in life insurance you change the topics - but the premise and the benefits
remain the same. While there are many, here are three specific benefits you will
Getting to know you. The blog becomes a part of how you brand
yourself. If people read it, they should feel like they are getting to know
you and getting to know what your beliefs and values are. Imagine your best
sources sending potential referrals to your blog as a way to help them get
to know you deeper, faster. In this way your blog can be leverage - people are even
more qualified if they call you or may already "know" you when you they make the
Making it easier. Have Clients that love you but have
trouble knowing what to say about you? Encourage them to send their friends
and colleagues to your blog as a way to make the connection. That way they
have to feel like they have to say the perfect words about your business in
order to give the referral.
Keeps you "on top" of your game. By writing
about your work and the benefits of your products and services often, you will
stay current and fresh. This will help in all phases of your business, but it
will also help you in networking situations by giving you something fresh and
new to talk about when having conversations with possible Clients and new
referrals. It also gives you new ideas to share with potential Clients as you
build your relationship with them.
How It Has Helped Me
started blogging in March of 2004. I have certainly gained the benefits
described above. Beyond those, I have made new connections with potential
colleagues and collaborators who have found my blog and sent me comments,
feedback or questions.
By writing regularly (my goal is 4 entries or "posts" per week), seldom does a week go by that I don't add someone to my
network or use what I am writing to make a new connection with an existing or
How to Get Started
Lots more can be said
about blogging and how it might help you build your network, but this should
give you some initial ideas. Hopefully after reading this you are intrigued
the possibilities and would like to learn more.
Here are the first four
things I recommend that you do:
1. Start reading some blogs. Do a search
in Google for <insert your specialty> blogs. If you are a chiropractor,
search on chiropractic blogs. If you are a graphic designer, search on graphic
design blogs. You get the idea. Read what others are doing and writing about.
Email them and build your network with these people. Chances are they aren't
your competitors and they might be very willing to help you and perhaps even
collaborate with you.
2. Learn About RSS. RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
is one way to "publish" your blog to the world. There are many free RSS readers
that you can use to keep track of the blogs you are starting to read. Pick one
(there are many) by searching for "Free RSS Reader" in your favorite search
3. Read Debbie Weil. Debbie is an expert on blogging for business
and she will be a good connection for you. You can find her (and her blog)
4. Start one! You can (and will want to) build a strategy and a plan
later, but if you see value for you, jump in! Go to http://blogger.com (what I use) and get started in less than
five minutes for free.
About the Author:
|©Kevin Eikenberry 2005.
Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com),
a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a
variety of training, consulting and speaking services. To read his blog go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/blogs/index.asp or contact him
directly at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.