“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Today, four centuries after William Shakespeare penned those words in Romeo & Juliet, the truth embedded in that famous line is as strong as ever. Names—terms, words, this substance that we use to communicate with one another—matters very, very much. It can be the difference between success and failure, harmony and upset, moving forward and staying stuck.
All of that being stated, let me caution you against holding one word in disdain: blog. The mere mention of the word (short for “web log”) can trigger all manner of physical and psychological responses, from rolling of the eyes to the immediate shutting down of any spirit of openness.
To “blog” can mean many different things to different people, so as someone who has created hundreds of blog posts over the past six years, let me spell out some of the value that I, at least, have gained from the effort:
Hone the Discipline of Reflecting
One of the fruits of blogging is that it forces you to devote some time to actually think about what you’ve done, what you’re doing and what you plan to do. And, then, the next step is to distill those thoughts into words.
It’s not simple, but on the other side is a huge pay-off: improved processes and practices.
One of the best teachers of reflective thinking is John C. Maxwell, founder of leadership-and-training organization EQUIP and an in-demand author and international speaker who keynotes regularly at conferences around the world. For many years, Maxwell has been a featured speaker at an annual conference known as Free Enterprise Days on behalf of World Wide Group, a training-and-development organization that helps people develop Amway businesses.
At those events, Maxwell rubs elbows with some other accomplished leaders like Amway Double Diamond Leslie Wolgamott, Double Diamonds Terry and Linda Felber, and Diamonds Tracey and Kimberly Eaton. All have enjoyed sustained success, due in no small part to their own ability to take a step back and distinguish between the urgent and the important, the major and the minor.
That same process of prioritizing is at work when developing so much of your communication, from the tone and style that you want to adopt to the very topics you cover in a blog. So let others in on your mental journey. It increases their understanding of and respect for what you’re up to.
Recommended reading: Maxwell's "Thinking For a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work."
Display Your Expertise
Through anecdotes and insights that only you possess, convey what separates you from the pack. Give a bit of yourself away—not the whole store, but enough to add value to those who come across your path.
Telling won't distance you from the pack--just about anyone can talk a good game. Hone your skills of demonstrating your value, and you are bound to draw more interest.
Send a Signal That Your Cause or Business Is Alive and Well
When you haven’t updated that website in years—or, God forbid, haven’t gotten around to creating one in the first place—think of some simple way to let this cat out of the bag:
“Hey, everyone, I’m still around and gainfully engaged in the marketplace.”
Hint: if you’re thinking of cutting-and-pasting those very words into an e-mail, then sending it to everyone you know, it’s time to ponder Plan B.
Create an Anchor for All Your Communication
In the online realm, it’s a good idea to figure out a way to rise above the din that comes with billions of options.
So, amid enticements to check out this video, to read that product review or to study your baseball team’s latest box score, how do you help cyber-surfing Hansels and Gretels find their way to your home?
By consistently leaving trails of crumbs—on your e-mail signature, in comments on websites and everywhere in between—that all lead back to the same URL (Uniform Resource Locator). That’s a good start to harnessing one of the most multi-dimensional, dynamic ways for kick-starting your efforts.