When I launched this blog on Jan. 7, 2010, I will admit I was flying blind. But, oh, what places I’ve been! As a 2010 wrap-up post, here are key things I’ve appreciated and learned through this experience.
This is my book. This blog began as a book outline. The working title was “Crisis Management in the Culture of NOW!” Within a week of typing “CHAPTER ONE,” I realized I was racing to catch the sun. I rationalized that by the time I sought a publisher, there’d likely be a half-dozen books on my topic. I also found myself reading more crisis-expert blogs to bolster points I wanted to make in the book. I quickly began calculating the benefits of blog vs. book.
A blog has no shelf-life – it’s a living, breathing thing. A blog would allow me to explore multiple facets of crisis management and communications coaching, not just the angle tethered to a book title. A blog doesn’t require “new editions” to be updated. And – perhaps most enticing – a blog encourages interaction through comments and “likes” and retweets.
Thus, after a maddening month trying to learn web hosting and WordPress (it’s not nearly as easy as advertised), this blog was born. If I may be immodest, it’s a lot better than my book would have been.
This is my database. Here’s an admission – I have a terrible memory. If I don’t write something down, it’s very likely that I’ll forget something useful I’ve created for a client. (Clients who know me well joke that I’m the perfect crisis counselor – unintended disclosures are unlikely because most details of their ordeal are completely forgotten “within a month.” Har, har.)
To some degree, this blog becomes my digital memory. Now, I can use this site’s links, search bar or “tags” to recall those tools and perspectives. And so can you.
I’m better at networking. Being a curator of a blog requires two-way networking. To be topical, you read a lot of similar blogs and connect with other experts. In turn, they connect with you.
If not for this blog, I probably would not have enjoyed the brief-yet-meaningful connections I’ve made with Peter Sandman, Mallen Baker and Gerald Baron, whose perspectives I admire (among others’). I also would not have shared client assignments with experts like Ed Eaton and Drew Levinson (whom I plan to interview in 2011 if he’ll let me).
I can also thank this blog for reconnecting with former colleagues who were drawn to particular posts which were shared with their current clients (specifically, my Pampers and Qantas posts were shared, I’ve been told).
I’m a better counselor. This blog has focused me on emerging trends. This “hobby” also prompts me to develop perspectives before I receive a client request to do so. Developing specific posts during 2010 has provided me with a greater depth of appreciation for areas like business continuity, CSR and risk management. I find myself more deliberate before reaching conclusions or offering opinions (of which, I still have many). I’m challenging old assumptions and refreshing some standard approaches to my craft. In summary, this blog has probably improved me more than I can ever hope to improve this blog.
I’m fatigued. In a good way. You know those people who say, “when I’m into my workout routine I find that I have more energy!” I don’t relate to those people. I get sore and fatigued. But I do it anyway, because it’s good for me. The same goes for blogging.
Although I sought Ketchum’s blessing before launch, this was born under no company charter. I blog on my own time, after hours (and after my son goes to bed). Yet, I think these pages hold up well against some other crisis management blogs out there (although I assume some of those boutique agencies and independent consultants build blogging time into their business day, as a new business expense). Each post takes about triple the time I anticipated spending. But, for all the benefits I’ve listed above, I keep at it.
On my own terms, too. Yeah, I know I should post once a week. And put “UPDATE” in the title when I add to an old post. And use more video. And conduct more polls. And use titles like “7 Reasons This Post Will Save Your Client.” And yada yada yada. If I cared about reader quantity, perhaps I’d do those things. But my focus is quality. So, there. Like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, “I blog for me! FOR ME!!!”
I hope you have enjoyed year one of this blog. My only promise for year two comes from a strong suggestion from my wife (and executive editor): make these posts shorter!
Jan 19. Update: Of course, I might be bucking a trend by keeping this blog going, according to this article in Crain’s. But no matter. As stated above, my reasons for continuing are different than those quoted in the article.