March 5, 2013

Solve Communication Breakdowns with Your Blog

published this at 7:50 am

By Brian Milne

Communication Breakdown,
It’s always the same,
Havin’ a nervous breakdown,
Drive me insane!

- Led Zeppelin, “Communication Breakdown”

Is it just me, or is all of this technology that’s “connecting us” actually discouraging real communication.

By definition, communication is an “exchange of information,” but even Webster suggests it should include a “personal rapport.”

But in today’s fast-paced, attention-deficit world, personal phone calls have given way to occasional emails and text messages. And, in many cases today, those one-on-one messages are being replaced by shotgun Facebook and Twitter blasts to a faceless social mediasphere.

So what about those defining moments in life, or business, that warrant more than 140 characters? Babies being born, companies doing actual good in the community and for the environment?

Those are the types of communications blogs were made for. Whether it’s a personal or corporate platform, your blog is your most important communication tool online.

Not only does the blog allow you to let your hair down, and write more freely about topics that will engage users, but it allows you to share that narrative with hundreds, thousands, even millions of readers.

And it allows you to complement your prose with strong images, videos and all of the other assets and plugins we can integrate into our blogs today.

But how do you make sure your blog doesn’t turn into another source of one-sided noise in this overly-saturated blogosphere? Here are six tips to help turn your blog into a two-way communication tool.

Use the Blog Often, and Well

They say quality over quantity. I say quantity AND quality.

For a majority of the blogosphere, blogs are successful because they do both. Their content is solid, so it gets shared. Their content is frequent, so it gets traffic.

A good blog is a two-headed monster, and you have to feed it often if you want your site to become a beast to be reckoned with online.

Don’t have time to blog as often as you’d like? Here are 10 tips for finding more time to blog.

Use the Blog to Keep Connections Updated

Ever have a situation where you’re traveling in a remote place, or are in the middle of an adventure and don’t have time to update all of your friends on your whereabouts? The blog is a great vehicle for updating the masses on your situation.

I used this same approach in 2007 when I paddled nearly 100 miles of California’s coast, and again this past fall with a photo blog from McCovey Cove during the World Series.

Posting updates to your blog will not only keep your friends and family informed, but it also saves you time so you don’t have to reach out to everyone in your social circle to give them a unique update.

Use the Blog to Share and Engage

For corporate blogs, running diaries like the examples above probably aren’t realistic, but taking the same, real-time updates approach will work for major events and conferences when content ideas are coming your way at a furious pace.

Take advantage of these events (which are content gold mines) by posting frequently around the topics and using social media (and the appropriate hashtags) to promote your work, because these types of milestones are often more timely and newsworthy than everyday posts.

Use the Blog to Collaborate

Have you ever thought of your blog as a collaboration tool?

Active online communities and blogs have amazing potential when it comes to collaborating online.

Turn your blog into a collaboration tool by: concluding posts with open-ended questions to drive reader comments, driving interaction through mobile engagement, and embedding polls, surveys and forms to pull user-generated content from the community.

The key is driving at that engagement and making sure your blog isn’t just a one-way communication.

Use the Blog to Motivate

The best part about having a phone conversation with a friend, colleague or mentor that you respect, is that the call is a two-way conversation.

Two-way conversations help resolve issues, breed new ideas and inspire and motivate both sides to strive for more.

Take the same approach on your blog.

The best posts in the blogosphere (think about all of the great content here on Successful-Blog.com) motivate and inspire, and your blog shouldn’t be any different.

Use the Blog to Listen

In conclusion, don’t just treat your blog as a one-way communication tool. Allow for comments on your posts.

Listen to and engage with those in the comments section and continue the conversation beyond the author tagline.

Take the discussion to your social networks to engage more connections in your social circle, and, gulp, even offline in the real world.

Imagine that, actually communicating with folks offline.

Robert Plant would be proud.

Author’s Bio: Brian Milne is the founder of the Hyped Blog Network and Meadows Interactive, an authorized seller of the WorkTraits behavioral assessment and work compatibility program. Share your communication tips and challenges with him on Twitter @BMilneSLO.

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