The Inherent Value of Regular Writing

There’s been lots of rhetoric recently about whether blogging is dying and why, or why not, this might be happening. Gini Dietrich recently looked at the benefits of business blogging on SpinSucks and asked, very openly, whether companies are just being lazy. Geoff Livingston wrote a month or so back about how the larger blogs are increasingly starting to dominate the blogosphere and command the traffic that is the lifeblood of any blog. But whatever the reason, it’s an issue that has really struck a chord with me, and something I feel deserves more attention.

When I commenced FutureComms at the start of the year it was at the expense of an established blog, TheSocialWeb. I wanted to try something different using Tumblr, mixing up feature posts, guest posts and short, snappy comments and quotes as a reaction to what I saw happening around me in the blogosphere. But due to the demands of my day job at BOTTLE and feeling a little jaded, it ground to a halt after just a couple of months. And so for the last few weeks I’ve been seemingly following the trend and considering giving up blogging completely, other than my weekly posts at BOTTLE Uncorked.

And then something happened.

Well, more a series of things. A couple of weeks back, the guys at Eloqua released an infographic ‘tree’ of the 67 most influential communications blogs in the UK as ranked by Edelman’s Blog Level tool, which measures factors including influence, trust and engagement. The tree covers disciplines as wide as marketing, social media, PR, design, SEO and tech, and lo and behold, within the tree is FutureComms. Considering it was probably only two months old when the analysis was undertaken, it really is great to be featured.

This was followed by a chat with someone else on the tree who’s own blog has seen a significant resurgence over the last month after a long quiet spell.

And then, just last week, I read a post about the importance to comms professionals of writing. The argument was along the lines of ‘how can you consider yourself a PR/comms pro if you don’t even write?’. There are two ways to view this: the article suggests that only by writing regularly can you improve your skills, but when I considered the value of writing to me personally, it’s more about framing thoughts and ideas. If you write regularly (and for that, read ‘blog’), you allow yourself the time and space to sit and think around a subject, to research topics and to come up with new ways of doing or explaining things to others. And in doing so you start to generate a profile and reputation, and you start to generate leads. The value of that process cannot be underestimated and reaps significant rewards both personally and professionally.

So what’s next?

The combination of these events and the thinking it’s led me to has given me one almighty kick up the butt. So as well as making more of an effort to find the time to blog regularly here at FutureComms, I’m going to take a look in more detail at the evolution of blogging and where it might be headed. If you’re a current or ex-blogger, I’d love to know your thoughts by completing a very brief survey on your own experiences over the last few months – it’ll only take a couple of minutes. And pending the results of that: do you think blogging still holds value for the writer and the reader? Or do you think it’s a dying form of communications due to social networks and the image-based web?

  • Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich)

    I agree with the idea that you can’t call yourself a communications professional if you don’t write (and read). To your point, it does help you frame your thoughts and provide some very much missed critical thinking in today’s short snippet world. That’s why I do my writing before anyone else starts their day. There are plenty of days I don’t feel like writing (today, for instance) but I do it and it shows in my counsel with clients.

    • Paul Sutton

      Well unfortunately I know a lot who don’t write. Or read, come to that. But they’re probably happy with the status quo too.

  • Sheli Rodney

    Thanks for this Paul – I’ve been thinking I need to get blogging again and will hopefully do so after reading this! Most of my day is spent reading, editing and even rewriting other people’s work, so sometimes I don’t feel like writing in my ‘down time’. But I miss the catharsis it provides, so I will aim to get back on track!

    • Paul Sutton

      I’m the same, Sheli, and a lot of others are too. But I always enjoyed your posts and your blog is still in my RSS reader awaiting new posts! So please do that :)

  • Geoff Reiner

    Great post and congrats on your success! I would have to agree that in order to be considered a comms pro, reading and writing is imperative. It keeps you sharp and provides that presence to get your name known.

    Also, as far as blogging becoming a dying form of communications, there will always be something new in the social media world. Some would argue that blogging replaced newspapers/books. However, there’s something to be said about that “traditional form of communication”. Eventually, blogging may be considered that traditional form of writing but there will always be value in sharing your thoughts and talent with the world!

    • Paul Sutton

      Thanks Geoff. Staying sharp is indeed key. As Gini says above, reading is equally, if not more, important than writing in that respect. But the writing part really aids the formation and understanding of ideas, concepts and trends. And given how fast the comms environment work now, that’s imperative. In my view every comms pro should blog, even if it’s just a private thing for themselves and no-one else!

  • Sheli Rodney

    Thanks Paul! I will. It’s actually down at the moment, but as soon as I sort that out this weekend I’ll be back on it :) Hope all is well with you!