What I Learned from 10 Years of Blogging

This blog just turned 10 years old.

I began writing it in the spring of 2007 encouraged by Yang-May, the co-author of a book I wrote at the time about corporate communications.  In my life, I have always written a lot.

In my school days, I used to write short stories and read them to my mum before going to bed at night.

Later, at the beginning of my career, I worked as a business journalist and spent my days writing articles in English and German.

Writing is second nature to me. But when Yang-May suggested I start writing a blog, I wasn’t sure. I was so stuck in my style as a business writer that I was afraid I would not be able to find my voice. Also, I am a very private person and I was not sure about how much I wanted to share. But slowly… I started finding my rhythm and blogging started growing on me.

Now, I have been doing it for ten years… and here is what I have learned from it.

You are not writing an article for print media or a web site. If you have worked in journalism, you might have a structure in your mind. Your instinct is to apply that to your blogging. Don’t do it. You need to loosen up. What people want to hear behind your words and between the lines is your true voice. They want to feel your pain, your joy, your disappointment… They want to be able to fall in love with your convictions. Learn the language of emotions because that’s what you’ll need to convey.

  • Just how far should you take authenticity?

This has been a really hard one for me. Your blog has to be an expression of your true self. Readers want to get a sense of what you are all about. Forget your LinkedIn profile or your polished Powerpoints. The truth is, they want to be able to figure you out before they meet you and understand what your values are. That’s why I decided to blog about my mum’s nearly fatal accident, my grandmother’s death and the premature one of a cousin I grew up with. Very personal experiences that have shaped who I am today. And as a reader commented, events that can happen to anybody. You never know who you might be helping by talking about how you have coped with a particular situation. The same applies to a post I wrote this year about narcissism. The background is an encounter I had with a person with rampant NPD. I long debated whether to write it or not and then just went for it.

  • Feed the channels

I remember having a discussion with a friend last year about the value of “syndicating” your posts and republishing them on LinkedIn. He was refusing to do it, as he thought people who did that were superficial and only fishing for ‘likes’. If someone is fond of your ideas, they can visit your blog and post their comments there, he insisted. Well…. this friend has since then come around.

Don’t feel hurt if people don’t leave comments on your blog. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook is where I get my ‘likes’, comments and shares. That’s just how it is. You have to feed the eco-system and meet people where they happen to hang out.

  • “What do I blog about… I can’t talk about clients!”

You won’t believe how many times I’ve heard this line. No, you can’t and neither can I. But still, your job can give you ideas of topics your readers might be interested in. Instead of writing about a project you are managing at a client’s, write in general about the challenges of HR transformation. And I am not talking brochure-style stuff. But rather… What is your take on it? What has your experience been with employees who resist change? Why do you believe in Agile? What difference did you see it make in the lives of people you work with?

  • Frequency

Yes, yes… I know. It’s tough. Clients, deadlines, travelling, life…  all tend to come in between.  We don’t blog as often as we would like to. It’s not about not having the time… late at night or on a Sunday afternoon. It’s about the mental space that might be occupied by something else… a project, planning your next dinner party, having to phone somebody…

But you know what… I am not sure frequency really matters as much as we used to believe in the early days of blogging. It’s much more important to write a post you feel strongly about. Something that is really you, what you know, what you have been working on for years, what you believe, what moves you deeply….

This has been my blogging journey. Thank you for travelling it with me. I hope you will continue to read me.


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