Jacob Nielson, Internet interface guru, suggests you should “write articles, not blog postings” to demonstrate expertise. Bill Brelsford, of Small Business Building Blocks, says that “doesn’t even past the smell test.”
It’s hard to discount Nielson. I’ve read two of his books and refer to them frequently. Strange how ugly his website looks, to me, given his expertise; but he’s still definitely one of the best on Internet design and interface.
Still, I think Brelsford’s analysis is right on target. He suggests that it shouldn’t be either/or situation. “Both formats have their merit – what’s important is how to best communicate with your intended audience.” Articles show expertise, while blogging is conversation. I like that view.
Somewhere at the core of this question is recognition of different objectives, different formats, and different content. I think it is short-sighted to see only a portion of that. “How-to” material lends itself to the article. “What’s new and what do we think about that” lends itself to the blog post. Pitting one against the other seems almost silly, like talking about whether books or magazines, or newspapers or television news, are “better.” In Nielson’s defense, he does focus his commentary on the specific area of communicating expertise, but still, there are different kinds of expertise.
I really enjoy writing articles on planning and entrepreneurship. My career has been mainly as an expert in business planning and entrepreneurship. My articles are all over bplans.com, and also at entrepreneur.com, allbusiness.com, and elsewhere. I’m proud of this work and I refer to it often, but it is by its very nature one-way material, much more a lecture than a conversation. While I love to talk to audiences about business planning, and teach it, the bulk of my articles written over the past 10 years are still valid. Many of my articles on subjects like cash planning, strategic focus, and sales forecasting don’t need freshening up.
On the other hand, I also really enjoy blogging.
I do have a general way to divide material into articles or blog posts. If it’s about how to develop a business plan, meaning tips, techniques, and classic “how-to” material, I put it on bplans.com, or in my columns at entrepreneur.com, or my business planning demystified blog at allbusiness.com. If it’s anything else it goes on this blog or Huffington Post or the bplans.com blogs. That seems to work for me.
In my case it took me stepping down from running my company to get me enough time to start actively blogging. I’m glad for how that went. So now I’m grateful to several people, particularly four who are now running my company and one in New York, for helping me see my way out of the articles-only rut and into the blogging. Blogging is an exciting new world. It’s fun.