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4 ways to turn what you’re already doing into blog posts

Originally posted to the ChatterBachs blog:

Sometimes when I talk to people about social media, I get the
distinct impression that they don’t know what to talk about on Twitter,
Facebook, LinkedIn, or on blogs. And, yet, when I ask them about their
position, business, or industry, they often come across with such
passion and insight. And, it doesn’t matter whether they’re in
technology, finance, education, or interior design.

So, here are 4 ways to convert what you’re talking about, thinking about, and doing every day into material for blogs and social media
platforms:

  1. What do you find yourself talking about? Are you repeating the same testimonial from a customer again and again when
    talking with prospective clients? Are you using certain stories or
    illustrations repeatedly in presentations? Do you have a favorite fact
    you like to reference? Are there new laws, guidelines, or mandates that
    govern your business or industry? What about at informal gatherings,
    when someone asks you what you do, how do you respond? My guess is that
    there is a blog post- maybe more than one- or material for social media
    in the answers to these questions.
  2. Who are you talking with? We each have a unique set of friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, associates, etc.
    Some of them are quite knowledgeable, sometimes on topics seemingly
    unrelated to what you do on a daily basis. But look for the parallels.
    Look for the ways to apply their approaches, lessons learned, best
    practices, and enthusiasm to your responsibilities. Also, remember,
    that not everyone is getting to have these conversations but may benefit
    from reading about them on your blog or social media profiles. In the
    process quote or mention that friend, family member, neighbor,
    colleague, or associate. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to be
    quoted or mentioned, particularly when you’re talking about something
    you learned from them. This may also get more eyes on your blog and
    faithful followers for future posts. See how I did this recently as I
    converted a #SMfastfwd tweetchat into a blog post.
  3. What are you reading? Perhaps you have subscriptions to magazines, trade journals, national newspapers, and/or
    local newspapers. Maybe there are certain web sites or blogs you visit
    on a daily or weekly basis. Again, your list of sources is unique to
    you. As you read, think about what your circle of contacts would be
    most interested in knowing about. Again, it makes you a valued resource
    when others know that you are well-read and that you are keeping them
    in mind. Reference your sources, and let the publications know you used
    them. They will like it and may let others know about your blog or
    profile. I do this at times by using guest blogs; you can see here how I
    did this with “Building a Facebook Presence” by Gini Dietrich.
  4. What are you attending? One of the greatest uses, in my opinion, of blogs and social media is allowing people to virtually
    attend events that they might not otherwise be able to be a part of.
    While your at an annual conference, symposium, or meeting, why not turn
    what your learning into a blog post? Or consider contributing to the
    event’s Twitter hashtag and doing live tweets. It’s a great way to keep
    your following informed, and the event coordinators love to have the
    extra coverage. See how I did this recently as I simply turned my notes from the Adobe Government Assembly
    last week into a blog post. In fact I just found out this morning that
    Adobe PR sent employees a link with the press coverage they received on
    the event which included my blog post.

Where do you go for ideas or inspiration for blog posts or social media profile updates? What other approaches work for you?

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8 Comments

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Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

Great stuff, Jay!

Another way I’ve helped people think about this is: What are you already writing (in emails and newsletters and other places)? Is there copy-and-paste or easily-adaptable content that gets you halfway there?

One more quick tip: it doesn’t need to be perfect. I often get bogged down before writing when I think too much about it or wordsmith the post to death. My best stuff seems to come from inspiration and takes 10 minutes.

Think Nike: “Just post it!”

Profile Photo Michele Costanza

For those who are currently blogging, there is also the possibility of turning blogs into a book.

Homer Hickam, the NASA rocket scientist who wrote the memoir Rocket Boys, recounts how a technical presentation turned into a memoir, which Universal Studios eventually purchased and developed into a screenplay and movie titled October Sky. According to Hickam, he was delivering a technical presentation to a group of peers and mentioned his earlier experiences building rockets. He was encouraged to develop the story further into his memoir.

Hickam tells the story of how he and his friends, supported by a local science teacher to compete in a science competition, became the Rocket Boys of Coalwood, West Virginia during the Sputnik era.

Hickam’s story to me is current given the discussions about our schools and international rankings in math and science. Hickam acknowledged and dedicated his writing to his science teacher, a woman in today’s world who may very well have become a rocket scientist herself instead of a science teacher.

Blog about what you know and what you are familiar with, and your blogs will be more relevant.

As for “how do I make time for this?” ask yourself, “How can I not make time for this?”

Profile Photo Lauren Modeen

Highly nerdy, but I keep an “ideas journal.” It’s small enough to carry around with me pretty much wherever I go, and if I notice some subtlety about life, I jot it down. Often this will be inspiration for a blog post that I conceptualize and flesh out later. No matter how half-baked at the time, it often goes into the oven later and voila! I also agree with Andy – blogs are meant to be experiments, not 10k reports, so just get it down and you can always refine later.

Profile Photo Lauren Modeen

L M – re: starting a blog…as Andy says, “Just post it!” It doesn’t have to perfect – just give it a try and I am sure many will find amusing…for that matter, if you do start one…I’d love to read your first thoughts!

Profile Photo Jay S. Daughtry, ChatterBachs

I greatly appreciate all the responses. Thanks for the positive feedback, Scott. Andy, you’ve hit on a great point with, “What are you already writing?” Along the lines of your tip… sometimes I set a loose deadline for myself like… I’m going to finish and post this blog in the next 30 minutes. Getting the ideas out there and not looking for perfection is key. Dick, to your point, it’s a lot easier to write about what we observe (to report) than it is to interpret or comment on. Michele, you’re one step ahead of me there. I loved “October Sky”, mostly because my father grew up in that era in rural North Carolina and became an engineer. Perhaps this blog post on “4 ways to turn what you’re already doing into blog posts” will become a movie! 😉 Oh, Lauren, that’s not nerdy… oh wait, is it?! I write down ideas and sometimes start blogs without knowing exactly how/when I’m going to finish them. L M, I want to see that blog when you get it up. I, too, enjoy people-watching. There are certainly some interesting ones to watch on the Metro!