Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Blogging Perspectives - the need for persistence

This seems to have been a difficult year from a blogging perspective.

At the start of this year my own posting became very irregular, with just one post in January, none in February, five in March, then a long break to July. Looking around, I am not alone.

Just to take three examples on my regular visit list: Chris Marston hasn't posted since February, David Maister stopped posting in June for at least a long break, while the Juris blog morepartnerincome also appears to have entered a state of suspended animation in June.

Maintaining a blog can be hard work, especially when busy. Further, as postings become irregular it actually becomes harder to post because the ideas generated through the act of posting drop away. Think of a blog as a professional conversation; the pauses in the conversation increase until the conversation stutters into silence.

Most regularly maintained professional blogs have at least a few regular readers. Some rely on feeds, others simply visit. Depending in part on the frequency of posting, some visit once a week, some just drop in from time to time.

As posting becomes less regular or even stops, regular visits decline. People still drop in from time to time to check, but finding nothing new, they stop coming. Search engine traffic continues, although this too declines with time as newer content comes to dominate.

I noticed all this on this blog during the low post period. My own flow of ideas declined. The number of repeat visitors dropped right away. Then search engine related traffic started to fall.

One of the points I try to make about the role of blogging in a professional services environment is that the reason for blogging must be clearly defined. In my case, blogging is central to my continuing professional development. It forces me to articulate ideas, to search for new material. This is especially important if, like me, you are often working in a degree of isolation from day-to-day professional interaction.

All writers, bloggers included, mine their own experiences. In writing, we capture and present ideas and lessons from those experiences. From a purely personal perspective, blogging has been invaluable as a device that allows me to stand-back from and reflect on my professional work.

All this explains why I have resumed active posting on this blog. However, resumption of the blogging conversation has been harder than expected because the pauses in the conversation had become so long.

To manage this, I have chosen to back-fill. By this I simply mean that I am adding posts from a past point (in my case from the 1 July post - Break in posting) to create momentum and discussion, if only with myself!

I mention this because it explains the gaps between the dates on the post (in this case 9 August) and the actual publication dates (23 August) that some readers have noticed. I have to say that while the re-starting process has been difficult, it has also been invaluable because of the way it has encouraged me to revisit previous thinking.

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