Carol Krishner's story reinforces that bloggers are the nicest people. From the friend who encouraged Carol to blog to the bloggers who generously offered advice to a new member of the blogosphere to Carol's giving back to start-up bloggers and the blog community .. it's all about the people along the way. It's also a tale about taking a risk and not worrying (too much) about the Cheeto dust on your keyboard.
The tag line for Lay's Potato chips is "You can't eat just one!" Well, I could take or leave potato chips, but the cheesy, orange-finger goodness of Cheetos is one I just can't refuse. There is no way for me to eat just one Cheeto--- see, the name doesn't even lend itself to a singular form. Blogging is a lot like that for me. I can't have just one!
In late October 2005, I launched my company's blog: Psychiatric Resource Forum after the gentle prodding and support of a very close friend, Teresa Caro. Being a consummate marketer extraordinaire, she told me of the benefits of blogs, how it could help boost search engine position and how it could help us interact with our customers and be seen as a value added service.
One of the first lessons I learned was that the blogosphere is a genuine community. Being a bit of a skeptic, I would have doubted it, but before I even started blogging, I experienced just how helpful bloggers could be. After asking a question in a blog comment about what qualities does one need in a good blogging platform, I soon got spot on advice and a full post from a blogger I did not even know. This first experience of kindness and helpfulness of other bloggers got me hooked.
I’m a big supporter of paying it forward when kindnesses are afforded to me. So a few weeks after the launch of my business blog and after seeing the benefits that Teresa talked about begin to emerge, I helped a physician friend launch his own personal blog to support of a book that he has published.
In the beginning, we worked together to post items. He would send me the post content in word and I edit items and would format it for the blog by adding links and tags. This allowed him time to learn gradually how to navigate the technology with his time constraints. Now, he is doing everything on his own.
During this time where I was managing two blogs, I began to research more about other methods and tools for blogging. I really wanted to try Wordpress. However, I did not want to risk messing up a friend's blog or my business blog in the process. Thus --- Driving In Traffic Blog: My personal blog, where I am free to get orange cheetos crumbs on my keyboard, make some mistakes and misteps and learn from the experience. Learning something new and the constant evolution of blogging makes it a great creative outlet.
At this point in time, blogging was more of an academic endeavor. How much could I raise my Google position on certain keywords for my company? How could I grow my traffic to the sites? What are hot topics? What strategies worked fast? What strategies took longer to work? What strategies flopped? I was happy just to tinker and look for the outcomes.
Then came a fateful invitation from Teresa to a local face-to-face blogger meet-up. There I met new bloggers, seasoned bloggers and people who were considering blogging. Just like in the blogosphere, the seasoned bloggers who had offered advice early on were just as willing to share what they know.
But more than that, I was encouraged and inspired to step outside of my academic comfort zone. As I had done before with the wordpress experiment, I decided to experiment on my personal blog—just so as to not screw up anything important. As if that wasn't scary enough a week after the meeting, Toby Bloomberg, generously offered me an opportunity to co-author a healthcare marketing column on The Medical Blog Network.
I mark that meeting as a pivotal point in my blogging endeavors. On the way home, I developed a plan to implement some of the ideas offered at that meeting. In my typical outcome measurement style, I decided to see how these new strategies would increase my traffic. And guess what… it did. That was a great delight.
But what I did not anticipate was the unique opportunities that have been offered to me that completely matched my interests. Book reviews, feedback opportunities, networking opportunities, speaking engagements, and correspondence with people who share my interests.
Now, please pardon me while I wax philosophical for a moment. I think the process of writing individual blog posts, over time begins to paint a public picture of who you are and what you know and care about. I think that I initially figured that if I write about topics and not about me, that I no one would really get to know me. That is simply not the case.
Choosing topics and salient points to highlight gives others subtle
hints about you. That is really why blogging is personal. Even though
it seems like a solitary activity, it is indeed a social endeavor that
allows people to not only find people with similar interests but also
to learn from others who you come to respect from their blog.
Well… that’s my story.
Now, what will the next chapter of my blog adventure look like? I don’t know yet. However, I’m sure that it will mean another blog and more cheeto dust on my keyboard.