Why reading blogs is a smart business development strategy
There are lots of blog posts that address why it's important for businesses to blog on a regular basis. But I haven't seen many that look at the other side of the coin. Namely, why is it important to read blogs? Or, is it important, really? Or is it just another marketing exercise that slowly drains away our time?
Well, the good news is that most everyone I know in a marketing-related business reads at least one blog on a regular basis. Some read non-business blogs that they enjoy. My art director, Andrea, for example, has been following the exploits of a pioneering woman who blogs nearly every day, and Andrea is totally hooked on the blog.
From a business sense, to me the biggest reason to read blogs has to do with the speed of change that we're experiencing. When I read the book Future Shock more than 40 years ago, I was skeptical of its premise. The book is all about change, and it may have been the first book to predict that change would accelerate in the future and become more difficult to deal with. (In the book, Alvin Toffler coined the phrase "information overload.")
I lived with difficult change when I was running the corporate communications department of a large newspaper in the late 90s. The advertising and newspaper industries were going through gut-wrenching changes. Newspaper readership was in a steep decline, and traditional advertising agencies were struggling with client retention, compensation schemes and privacy. It seemed like the business universe was in a fluid state. Nobody was on solid ground anymore.
Well the speed of change hasn't slowed in my neck of the woods. How about yours?
If you're in college and your marketing textbook was published in 2010 or earlier, you're getting ripped off. It's useless. If you really want to learn how to market a business in the 21st century, start reading marketing blogs every day. If you're a marketing professional and your decisions are based on what you learned on the job in 2005, you are in deep trouble. Sorry, that's just the way it is.
Keeping up with rapid change is one good reason for blog reading. Here are a couple other reasons.
- Reading blog posts will make you a better writer. If you want to be a better writer, start reading as much as you possibly can, and read across a broad spectrum of materials. Read slowly enough to capture the nuance of different words, and pay attention to vocabulary. Words have specific meanings for a reason.
- Reading blogs introduces you to fresh perspectives you may not be familiar with. I'm a big Wordpress fan, but I've read some blog posts lately that have me questioning the wisdom of building a site on that platform. I've opened my mind to the idea that there may be a better way.
- Reading blogs will put you in the forefront of what's happening in your industry, regardless of the industry you're in. If you're in the machine tool industry, read the blogs of writers who cover that industry in trade publications. You won't have any trouble finding the thought leaders in your industry. Jump on Google and you'll find plenty of options to consider.
- Reading is the gateway to knowledge. You can literally become an expert in your field just by studying your industry for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
Obviously, learning more, being on top of what's happening in your industry, and becoming a better writer all contribute to your success. It's no exaggeration then to say that reading blogs is a smart business development strategy. The effort and time will pay off in the long run.
What do you get out of reading blogs? Information? Relaxation? Escape? Let me know. I'd like to hear your take on the whole idea. And have a great weekend!
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