Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Do I Decide What To Post On My Blog?

A couple of weeks ago I received this question from Laura.

I sometimes read your blog. I like the posts about designing impactful presentations. I also saw something that caught my eye about employees submitting ideas to their employer online. That sounds like an outstanding idea. I am known to be skeptical so I ask you, "How do you decide what to post on your blog?"

Are you concerned about accuracy or do you just reach for what is interesting?

I answered her.

I normally select to post some topic that is relevant to my work, or our company, or then just an interesting topic I run across in a couple of sources. Something that I feel I need on my everyday job as a leader and manager – in other words something that supports my mission and vision, and my strategy. I am not so concerned about (scientific) accuracy - I am more concerned about the usefulness of the topic. What I do is I combine the sources and try to keep the post under 1A4 page - keep it simple and specific and stick to one idea.

For example submitting ideas online is something I have proposed it in our company a couple of years ago. I heard about this tool a year ago, and proposed it again. In the spring I found a couple of articles about the tool being used by major companies and proposed it again. We might start considering it one day... But I also blogged it to remember the idea better.

Actually most of the posts are some ideas or advice I have given to my friends or colleagues (or needed on my own job). I realized I kept on sending same advice on email over and over again to different people. Those emails I have later converted to blog posts.

Why I decided to post this answer now, is because I read an interesting blog post at ZenHabits earlier this week.

The Dirty Little Secrets of Productivity Bloggers

  1. We're making it up. Yes, you heard that right. Some of what we write about we read other places, and tested it out, and found it worthy of passing on. Other stuff we just make up as we go along, and see if it works.
  2. We'e deathly afraid people will find out. Yes, we're afraid people will start pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes on, and we'll be in the middle of a crowd, naked, with everyone laughing at us. But because of this fear, we have to act like we know what we're talking about. Truth is, we don't know any more than anyone else.
  3. We don't always follow our own advice. If you had a fly-on-the-wall camera and could spy on the best in the biz, even they have days when they're not motivated, when they don't follow their systems or tips or general productivity advice.
  4. We can be lazy and let things go. I'll be the first to admit it. I take naps.
  5. We didn't invent any of this. Merlin Mann's Inbox Zero, for example, is based almost entirely on David Allen's Getting Things Done. Allen's GTD, in turn, is based on productivity advice that has been around for generations — each productivity guru improving on the previous one a little, but basically giving the same advice.
  6. We're just regular people, figuring things out. Think of our posts as the preliminary results of an ongoing experiment. We try things out, and if it seems to work, we pass it on. If it doesn’t, we'll let you know. But these posts aren't the final results — we're still testing things out, still trying to figure out what works when and for whom. It's an experiment that will probably last for as long as people do work.
  7. We really do love all this stuff. Despite all of the above, despite our flaws and secrets, this is a great job, and we love it. It shows in the enthusiasm and passion in our writing.

These pretty much summarize my own toughts (though I do not take naps during office hours – I can't, as I am not self employed full time blogger).

I am happy to answer more of your questions by email or on the comments below.