Today I’m trying something new. As you’re reading this post, I will be immersed in a conversation with a group of bloggers at blog|Philadelphia, an unconference. So it is quite fitting that my chosen topic be open source marketing.
I’ll get right to it. The three main reasons why blogging is open source marketing.
Blogging as News Broadcasting — Your Feed, Live all the Time
Many of you are used to the concept of live blogging –- you go to a conference, and blog about it as the event takes place; your readers enjoy the news as you hit the “publish” button. Notes taken this way serve your audience only in part.
It takes a while for you to process the fresh content you’re learning and mesh it with what you already know, and your post may not end up capturing the essential piece of the live experience –- the conversation and its dynamics. One of the most powerful aspects of joining the conversation is that you’re learning about what you think as you go.
If you’re busy typing, in your haste not to loose the thread of your writing, you are not present to the thread of the talking. One ear is busy listening to your internal talk about the subject matter; the other is busy keeping up. Your attention is divided. And you may lose the nuances and lessons contained in the voices of other attendees.
Consider what would happen if you posted about the subject matter of the conference before attending and then came back with a follow up post afterwards. Yes, this would require more work on your part. Researching the speakers and topics, figuring out who else is going to be there, etc. Think how much better your posts would be.
In fact, I would like to propose that you are blogging live all the time, you just never thought of it that way. The insights, lessons, and tips you include in your posts are streaming from your thinking as it occurs, while it is processing information. When someone links to you, you’re not only making the news, you are the news.
Blogging as Self Publishing -– Your Expertise for Finding (and Sale)
The term open source was born to identify a set of principles and practices created to provide access to the design and production of goods and knowledge. It popularized the concept of making source code available to allow users to create software content through incremental individual effort or through collaboration.
From term to culture, this concept would not have been alive today without the Internet. Online you have access to an even greater array of inexpensive digital media and tools and are granted an unprecedented access to other users. Both the platform and the tools make it extremely easy for anyone to become a publisher today.
Do you want to become a self published author? Start a blog. This will give you the discipline to write on a regular basis. Your readers will provide the essential stimulation and measurement through feedback and a challenge to think harder. Have you noticed how much easier it is to produce better content when we’re part of an active dialogue?
If you look for a couple of recent examples of books published as a result of conversations launched on blogs, look no further than The Long Tail by Chris Anderson and The No Asshole Rule by Bob Sutton*. To date, the only author that I know of who published a book collecting blog posts successfully is Seth Godin with Small is the New Big. He demonstrated that it can be done.
Are your posts well thought out and of high quality? The beauty of blogs is that they are rich in content that nobody sees more than once. Dig into your archives and you will find plenty of material that showcases your expertise. That can be repurposed, it’s yours. And it can help you reinforce your brand and sell your expertise.
Blogging as Relationship Builders – Talk is not Cheap, the Tools are
When you talk about the fact that you blog with family and friends who don’t, they might look at you strange and question your sanity. There are some days when you question it yourself, I’m sure. “Why do you need to spend so much time online when we’re right here?” It’s a good argument.
Because they are tools that allow conversations in real time, blogs are a great way to build relationships with many professionals all over the world. Where else can you find subject matter experts just a few keystrokes away? Relationships are important for the health and wealth of your business.
So why are relationships so important? People recommend people they know. People work with people they respect. People do business with people they like.
When your friends ask you if blogs are places where you can form relationships, what do you say? I suggest that you reply that talk is indeed not cheap, the tools are.
So here we are. You reading this post while I’m having a conversation with a group of smart professionals who want to learn more about why blogging is open source marketing *and* are helping me define what that means in real time. For now, remember:
1. Your feed, live all the time
2. Your expertise for finding (and sale)
2. Talk is not cheap, the tools are
UPDATE: The main impetus for publishing The No Asshole Rule was the e-mail reaction (personal emails sent to Mr. Sutton, not blogs) to a short Harvard Business Review article that he published in 2004. Blog attention ignited by an early interview on Guy Kawasaki’s blog drove early Amazon sales, which then got the traditional press interested and encouraged traditional book stores to carry the book.