Journalists have certainly become enlightened since I first started writing about blogging in 2003. Many of them now write blogs of their own–some I know have begun making their living via the blog format. Still the post below from 2003 still makes some good points.
Blogging: tip of the iceberg or tail of the dog?
Originally posted December, 2003
The Quill, a quasi-scholarly publication of the Society of Professional Journalists, has been arriving in my mailbox for the last few months because I became a member of that well-respected group this year (2003). I glance through it, but much of their content is related to traditional journalistic discussions rather than to the concerns of business. Some business writers have been known sometimes to find that approach a tiny bit self-important.
Imagine my surprise, then, to see two articles in this month’s edition (“Hard News versus Narrative”) that deal with the struggle of a few veteran journalists to convince the denizens of their world that they ought to be telling stories instead of rigidly following the 5-W format (who, what, where, when, why) for their reporting.
One high-profile journalist, Tom Hallman, Jr., laments his inability to keep up with requests from young journalists about how to tell stories in warm, personal terms. Call me crazy, but I see this as the tail following the dog…the dog being the trend that has spawned the phenomenon of blogging–the need to take a simple, honest, individual-voice approach to writing–even for “news” stories.
The point is–you want people to read what you write! And because the competition for people’s attention (just like for your business) has multiplied exponentially with every improvement in the Internet, you just aren’t as likely to get what you want with old-fashioned marketing approaches.
People do not have time to read pre-digested, uninspired, impersonal corporate-speak. Write as if you were telling your friend about whatever you are frustrated, angry or happy about.
People want to read writing that’s from the heart. How close to your heart is your business? So, write!