Why We Blog

This may sound crazy, but not every blog post is just shameless self-promotion! When sitting down to write something ask yourself one simple question: Why am I creating this? What is my goal?

When you post something to your blog  you should have a clear objective for each post. I think it’s a given that whatever you put online is intended to make someone think, but consider your goal and adjust your writing style accordingly.

This list is by no means complete, but here are seven reasons you’ll want to post something online:

To Inform
I think the most common reason for blogging is to share your knowledge or thoughts on your particular area of expertise. This is a great way to establish your reputation as an expert in your field. Your blog is a great outlet for discussing a trending topic or technology, or to share statistics/market data for your industry.

To Educate
An educational blog entry is usually more detailed and specific than an informative one. A good example is a step-by-step how to article, or something more instructional in tone. Many software development blogs are made up of educational posts describing exactly how to resolve a specific problem its readers may be facing.

To Announce
A corporate blog is a great place to announce a new service, product or partnership. Keep in mind that a blog that is strictly a PR feed would get boring pretty quickly. There’s a lot of debate about if this is acceptable use of a blog.

For example, consider a REALTOR who posts a new listing on their blog. Some say it doesn’t belong there, but I disagree as long as it doesn’t become the main focus of the blog.

To Brag
Sometimes blog posts ARE about self-promotion! (*shock*) If you’ve received an award or recognition, or if your product was written about, consider posting this information to your blog.

You can also post major accomplishments or achievements. Be careful though, becoming a braggart is an easy trap to fall into! No one will want to read you telling them how great you are for too long.

To Ask
Starting a discussion can be a way to draw people into your blog. One way to do this is to post an open-ended, thought provoking article. Ask your readers a question or to share their thoughts on a topic. Engage them in the comments to keep the conversation going!

To Rant
Sometimes we all just need to vent. You can connect with people on an emotional level if they share your annoyance or pain on a particular topic. Before posting a rant, consider how edgy you want to be and how willing you are to offend. Touch a nerve and your blog could quickly become popular (or unpopular)!

To Entertain
To lighten things up, relate a funny story from time to time. Sometimes a completely off-topic post can make your blog more personal. Like a Rant, carefully consider when this type of post is appropriate for you!
Go back and take a look at your recent blog posts and try to determine what the goal was. Break them down into percentages by type. If most of your posts are of one style, try mixing it up a little. Thinking of why you are writing something is a tool you can use to get yourself out of a rut. Try to write your next entry with a specific goal in mind.

Not all blogs fall easily in to a specific type. To me, this post was intended to inform you of my thoughts on why we blog, while you might consider it more educational (and hopefully at least a little entertaining!)