How to Blog About Top 10 Things Besides Another Goddamn How-To or Top Ten List

I was IMing with Sharon after reading her recent post about the intersection of art and business:

Of all the bloggers I can think of whose writing I enjoy -I’m now noticing that none of them are using their blog as a marketing tool for their businesses. While their blogs are usually about aspects of business, they’re not there specifically to promote their business. Their blogs are about sharing ideas with their peers and stimulating discussions rather than reaching potential clients.

We blabbed for a bit about the sterilization of blogs – which has happened as they inevitable became co-opted by business. I hammer home the importance of blogging about useful things and there are dozens of posts out there about the importance of top ten lists and how-to’s. But sometimes I think you lose a little soul with that. You start to write with too much pre-meditation – not enough abandon. More Sharon:

As with every blog, you have to do both, but there’s a special challenge when writing a blog that’s meant to market a business. It’s one thing to be writing for your peers within your field, but it’s quite another to write for the eyes of potential clients.

I feel like my business blog (this one) has lost some of its warmth lately. I haven’t been blogging what truly is interesting me right now. As a first step, I’ve swapped out my headshot of me on the front page to a picture of me and my cat Astro Boy. I need to get re-engaged, re-enraged and re-deranged. If I comb my memories – the snarkier I am, the more people seem to enjoy my writing. I’m re-committing.

Later on: Seth echoes a bit of this.

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About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks. Tw · Fb · G+ · Li

7 thoughts on “How to Blog About Top 10 Things Besides Another Goddamn How-To or Top Ten List

  1. Andrea J Lee

    This, in my opinion, is where the rubber meets the road.
    And recommitment is just another way of saying ‘I agree to (continue to) lead.’
    It can be tiring to be authentic (in public) all the time. And there are layers of authenticity, new ones, that come up over time. Sometimes it takes a break (a proverbial mouthful of sorbet) to clear the head and tune back into your voice (the way it is now, after a book, and etc, and etc.).
    Don’t be surprised, k? But I do. I believe it can be meaningful and profitable….authentic and profitable – one and the same.
    Rock on Andy.

    Reply
  2. Sharon Sarmiento

    Andy–it seems to be the elephant in the room. We all talk about how great it is to have a business blog, but what most folks don’t acknowledge is that:
    1) It’s extremely challenging to continue to keep the fires burning year in and year out, especially when you’re writing in a tight niche
    2) Business blogging works a lot differently than we thought, and we need to explore how to get marketing and social media to work together in harmony
    3) Phoning it in just doesn’t work. Our readers catch on after a while when our heart isn’t into it.
    It’s really inspiring to see you re-commit yourself and take this challenge on.
    You’re the blogging expert, and we all learn from you. Everything you go through as you explore and re-define what you’re doing here will benefit each and every one of your readers.
    I hope you’ll know that as you take these risks, put your neck out further than you have before, and challenge your/our preconceptions about what is professional and what does a business blog look like, that we’ll all be cheering you on and supporting you.
    I can’t wait to see you go wild and throw convention out the window! 🙂 I check out your blog every day, but now it’ll be extra exciting to see what you throw at us!

    Reply
  3. Lyle Lachmuth - The Unsticking Coach

    Snark away!
    I am reading Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way” for the 1st time.
    She reminds us that recapturing our creative self — Going Sane, is not linear.
    Creativity comes in bursts.
    And, as Julia says, there are lots of Crazymakers around who will gladly eat us up. Critics abound.
    Which leaves the ultimate question?
    Who’s cuter?
    Andy or Astro Boy?
    blog on baby, Lyle

    Reply
  4. eSoup

    Real memories are created by surprises…

    For most business blogs, the idea is to establish yourself as an expert in your field, so the content is usually informational.

    Reply
  5. Jay

    It’s always about the cat…
    Well, I’m certainly refreshed to see this conversation and contribute to it among such stars as all y’all aforementioned and represented…
    The whole art vs commerce thing has been at the core of my conundrum for years…
    I feel I’m finally feeling my heart in terms of business, but also tend to feel the art slipping away…
    It’s always–and I don’t say always always–in fact, hardly ever–the most sought after balance.

    Reply
  6. Jay, again

    I’m posting again here so soon, because I want to be heard by the people posting here.
    As mentioned, this topic is “at the core of my conundrum.”
    Interesting thing about the word “conundrum,” not only does it denote a riddle whose answer is a pun, or otherwise only speculated at, its origins are unknown.
    Well, that explains the art…
    As for the commerce, well, my good friend Neil Young has suggested, “Numbers add up to nothing.”
    But ol’ Neil was fortunate enough / precocious enough / genius enough that his art earned him big numbers with dollar signs in front of them, while he was still only “24 and there’s so much more…”
    Come on, Neil! You were pushing 27!
    Entire lyric to extended musical jam follows:
    “Reality is a dream
    But dreams are always real,”
    as this singer once sang…
    Just as in ecological communities, more populations thrive at interfaces/interzones: where forest meets meadow, where meadow meets river, where river meets sea, so with social interzones, and none moreso than where
    Art meets commerce.
    Or should that be where
    art meets Commerce.
    ?
    The Beatles: Great artists, wildly popular/saleable/made BIG money.
    Then John says something people don’t understand, and it all goes kablooey.
    More to the picture of course, but point is:
    “People will listen.”
    But lots of ’em won’t understand.
    Well, enough for now. Must write something else. Takes me long time to measure my words…
    Working on a song which closes with these lines:
    “Yes, you know I’m out there
    But I’m out there with a view
    Listen to me
    You know I listen to you”
    Being a leader is about being out there.
    Here I am.

    Reply

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