You May Take This As Encouragement

Michael Hyatt on why people in traditional publishing need to be blogging (transcribed from the embedded video):

…People get stuck right here. Because they think: ‘Okay; Do I want to start a corporate blog or do I want to start a personal blog?’ And we’ve all seen those personal blogs where it’s just—you know—somebody’s diary, and it’s boring, and it’s not that interesting, and we’ve all seen the corporate sites, where it’s nothing but a stream of PR announcements. You know, I don’t think either one of those will garner a lot of traffic, and I think fundamentally it’s a false dichotomy. I think the best corporate blogs are blogs that are personalized—that are about the individuals in the company that are writing the blog.

We are a nation—maybe a world—of voyeurs. Reality TV is still very popular. People want an inside look at how you think, what you have to say, how your company operates. And the great thing about publishing is it’s very mysterious. I get emails all the time from people who—they can’t fathom how a book makes its way to the market […] but they just don’t know what the process is. They’re mystified by it. And for you to peel back the curtain a little bit in a blog and give people an inside look at your company connects them to your company. And an inside look at your own life connects them to you.

He goes on to list twelve reasons why publishers should be blogging. I think you should watch the video to receive the context and to hear the rest of the talk, because it’s really good. I’ll place a summary of the twelve reasons behind the cut below.

In his post linked above, he entreats other publishers to attend the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference next year (where this talk was taped):

I also one of two traditional publishers who participated in the “CEO Panel.” (The other one was Tim O’Reilly himself.) Surprisingly, I did not see any other CEOs from traditional publishers in attendance. Perhaps I just missed them. Perhaps they sent people to attend. Frankly, I think they need to attend themselves. This is not something you can afford to delegate.

If you are a traditional publisher, you need to be there next year. The world is changing fast. This is the only conference I know of that is totally dedicated to exploring the future of publishing.

I hope this conference gains steam over time. The list of presentations was staggeringly interesting. I plan on watching a handful of the other presentations over the weekend. You can find them at toccon.blip.tv.

Anyway, the summary of his twelve reasons publishers and people in publishing should be blogging:

  1. You have something to say (even if you think you don’t).
  2. You experience first-hand the future of publishing.
  3. You clarify your own thinking.
  4. You build trust for your brand.
  5. It’s a way to capture your best thinking and create a repository of that for others.
  6. It provides a venue for unveiling important news.
  7. It flattens your own organization.
  8. It opens up your culture and makes it more transparent.
  9. It provides a mechanism for near-instant feedback.
  10. It provides an unfiltered communications channel.
  11. It enables you to position yourself as a leader and an innovator.
  12. It’s a great forum for dispelling rumors.

This list is great, and it’s full of reasons why I think it’s important for me to blog and why I encourage my coworkers and friends to both blog and engage with Twitter. If you’re remotely interested in these reasons, I think you need to watch the whole video, because there’s a lot more to it that lays out the importance of being accessible and participating in the conversation. It doesn’t just apply to publishing. I think these same principles are applicable to many realms.

What do you think? What benefits do you see to blogging? Does it connect you more tightly to organizations and the people within them?

Say something.