The Wonderful World of Blogging
A few weeks ago, Luc Gendron, the President of the Purchasing Managers Association of Canada asked me for my thoughts on being a blogger. These are some of the observations that I shared with him.
I have been involved in the logistics and transportation industry for over a quarter century. In this time I have learned a great deal about the business (and I continue to learn some new things every day). Having held executive positions in the industry and having provided consulting services for over five years, I believe that I bring a certain perspective and point of view to my blogs.
I found a willing and encouraging partner in Canadian Transportation & Logistics magazine. With their support, we launched the blog two years ago.
As a small businessman, it is a challenge to stand out from the crowd. It is expensive (and not always productive) to advertise extensively in trade publications. It was my belief that writing a blog would raise my profile and the profile of my company. It would demonstrate our knowledge and skills. I believed that, over time, it would be a valuable component of my company’s marketing efforts.
I must admit that when I entered the world of blogging, I didn’t fully appreciate what I was getting into. For a while I tried to write two blogs a week. As my business grew, there was not enough time each week to write two blogs. In fact, this became onerous and almost convinced me to stop. After I pulled back to one blog a week, it became much more manageable.
Some Lessons Learned
After writing a blog for the past two years, this is what I have learned. It is a lot of work. Before entering the world of blogging, one has to make sure that he or she is willing and able to fulfil this commitment. When you start blogging, you create certain expectations among the folks who read your blogs. If you don’t continue to post, your readers will go elsewhere. It is also important to have a passion for writing. While writing is not something everyone likes to do, I enjoy it very much. This helps a great deal.
As a consistent blogger, you find yourself constantly reading, listening and learning about your area of interest. You are always on the alert for material of interest to your readers. This keeps you very tuned in to what is happening in your industry.
Looking at the Big Picture
It was my view that my blog would become boring if I wrote about LTL, truckload and intermodal freight transportation every week. I am not sure that there is that much that would be interesting to say on these topics on a weekly basis. As a result, I chose to broaden the range of topics to discuss. This makes it more stimulating for me and hopefully for those who read the blog.
My intent is not to report on the news story of the week but rather to take a broader view and look at issues that are of interest to transportation professionals. As a result, I have written about effective networking skills, LinkedIn, NASCO and how to keep up to date on what is happening in the industry.
Since I receive readership statistics on each blog, I know which subjects work and which ones do not. I know that I attract a large readership when I write about freight rates and I attract a much smaller readership when I write about demographic trends in our society.
The Rewards of Blogging
Blogging has its rewards. There is no doubt that I have raised my profile and the profile of my company. As a result of the blog (and other activities with which I am involved), I receive an increasing number of requests for speaking engagements and business opportunities. The blog has helped me reconnect with colleagues throughout the industry. I particularly enjoy receiving feedback on the blog, positive or negative (although the preponderance has been positive). What is interesting is that many people are shy to post and prefer to send e mails directly to me rather than post them as comments to the blog.
My hope is that I can now take the blog to a new level and make it more of a discussion group or social network where folks post their opinions on certain topics. This is a direction in which I will attempt to move the blog over the next year.
The readership statistics show me how many people read certain blogs. The most popular blogs have been read by thousands of people all over the world. While writing a blog cannot be translated directly into revenue, it has been an important part of my company’s marketing effort. Many blogs have been converted into articles in Canadian Transportation & Logistics magazine and Motortruck Fleet Executive magazine. These have further raised our profile.
As far as does and don’ts, I would say that the writing should be tight and focused. It is important to write on a variety of subjects to keep the blogs fresh and interesting. This will encourage readers to check in each week. I try to listen to my readers and colleagues and write on topics of interest to them.
How long will I continue to blog? As long as I enjoy it and have something to say. If it becomes a chore, I may have to pass the baton to someone else. It has been an interesting and enjoyable journey.
Are you a blogger? Please click on "Comments" and let me and the readers of this blog know about your experience in the world of blogging.