Why Blog? 7 Brilliant Reasons (Part II)

by Naomi on July 27, 2011

in Blogging

BMW bumper with blogging sticker

Continued from Why Blog? 7 Brilliant Reasons (Part I), based on interviews with 4 influential bloggers:

• Ida Horner, founder of Ethnic Supplies (an online social enterprise that promotes independence for African women) and Africa on the Blog,
• Christine Searle from SA Venues, 2010 SA Best Travel Blog runner-up,
• Cindy Taylor, personal blogger at The Only Cin and group blogger at The BlaBla Blog, 2010 SA Best Group Blog finalist.
• Michelle Salater, president of Sūmèr LLC and creator of the Love Your Blog e-learning program, whose own blog Copy Doodle was recently listed #17 on Technorati’s 100 Best Small Business Blogs.

Empower yourself:

Denise Allen, a friend of Cindy’s, was at first tentative to post poetry on her blog, www.adeeyoyo.wordpress.com. Encouraged by readers, she was chosen by the Poetry Institute of Africa to be published in one of their summer 2010/2011 anthologies. On a larger scale, Neil Parischa’s humble blog (1000 Awesome Things) attracted widespread attention, spawning The Book of Awesome. Celebrating “the free, easy little joys that make life sweet”, it was published in April 2010, becoming an international bestseller within six months.

But what if there’s nothing worth saying? you may wonder. The good news is you’re not alone. Even Barack Obama, in the preface to the 2004 edition of his book Dreams from my Father, admits to hope and despair on its publication – “despair that I had failed to say anything worth saying”. Ida’s advice is direct. “If you don’t write it, you will never know. Just do it.”

If you’re feeling lost, Cindy (a professional writer) says that the creative challenges arising regularly on blogs offer great inspiration and writing structure. The act of blogging can also de-clutter your mind and open creative channels. This is something Ida experienced after attending a conference on sourcing ethically from Africa, which left her feeling low. Turning to her blog, she posted all the objections she had been unable to raise and sent a link to the organisers – an empowering exercise that left her free to move forward.

Network:

Bloggers don’t have to go it alone. There is the option to create or contribute to multi-author blogs. Many are moderated and some are limited to established freelancers, as Christine says of SA-Venues, but not all. Cindy is the resident food and wine fundi at The BlaBla Blog, a 2010 SA Best Group Blog finalist. Together with Africa on the Blog, BlaBla welcomes less experienced writers, particularly to expand specific categories. When choosing a direction, bear in mind that personal and group blogs are substantially different in terms of focus and content.

Cindy explains that group blogging requires a more journalistic take on topical issues, in contrast to the first-person account of life that’s typical of personal blogs. For example, her puppy’s flatulence may feature on The Only Cin, whereas the local government’s by-laws regarding dog-per-home quotas would be more appropriate for The BlaBla Blog. Ida adds that group blogging introduces diversity and alleviates individual pressure, while personal blogging can enhance your reputation. Whatever blows your hair back.

Either way, you’re virtually guaranteed to meet a fascinating array of people, as Ida, Christine and Cindy agree. Michelle adds – from her own and her clients’ experience – that you can dramatically expand your business exposure and attract exceptional media opportunities. Furthermore, in light of escalating travel costs and climate change concerns, blogging offers a viable alternative for engaging with people from other countries and cultures.

On the subject of the environment, ‘Blog tours’ are being substituted for traditional book tours, enabling authors to market online, through reviews and articles hosted by various blogs. This reduces their carbon footprint while expanding reader reach.

Broaden your perspective:

Despite isolated unpleasant incidents, all four women offer more compelling reasons to give blogging a go. Christine has evolved into an avid photographer, explored new places and gathered precious memories, all in the process of sourcing material. Cindy has tapped into a vibrant creative outlet that’s broader than traditional publishing. Ida’s blog, Ethnic Supplies, has attracted sales for her wild silk scarves and, following her blogging success and widespread demand, Michelle has launched her new Love Your Blog e-learning program.

A Women’s Day post that Ida wrote for Birds on the Blog resulted in a subsidy for two impoverished girls in Uganda. You guessed it: they are Perfect and Princess, whose education is sponsored by Africa on the Blog. One of the posts on this site describes The Kuyu Project, which teaches African high school students to use social media and other forms of technology to make a positive impact in their communities.

Imagine if such a project empowers the Ugandan twins to one day educate other children like themselves, through the medium of blogging. If so, it may certainly brighten their future, expand their circle of influence, add their voices to vital affairs and contribute to a better world. What’s not to love?

Please contribute your comments below and stay tuned for THE 5 P’S OF BLOGGING: TIPS TO GET STARTED (on Friday).

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Taylor July 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

You done a great job on these two articles, Naomi. Well done!

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Naomi July 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Thanks so much, Cindy 🙂 That really means a lot, especially since your invaluable input is included. Much appreciated!

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Kate Shrewsday July 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Loving this, Naomi. It’s really fab to get some of the background on some of my favourite bloggers. I had no idea Adeeyoyo had achieved publication with such an august body (although I knew she was good!!) And while Cindy is a part of my everyday visiting I never get the wider picture. Are you planning to do a bit on tips for success?

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Naomi July 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Thanks, Kate, so glad you’re enjoying 🙂 I’m not personally in the loop with Adeeyoyo, but Cindy told me about her success, which is wonderful! Michelle has agreed to do a guest post next week about efficient blogging (in response to Tammy’s comment on my last post) and I’ll definitely source some tips for success for a future post too. Thanks for suggesting it!

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Lance July 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Naomi,
Love these last two articles you’ve written! Blogging has definitely become a part of my life, and one that’s made a large impact (larger than I anticipate, that’s for sure!).

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Naomi July 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

Thank you, Lance! You’re so right; we can’t possibly imagine the impact of blogging when we start out, or the great friendships we’ll make along the way 😀

What always radiates from your blog is how much you love what you’re doing. I guess that’s one of the reasons we continue, and why it’s so potentially powerful!

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Amy @ Souldipper July 28, 2011 at 6:07 am

Wow, you’ve done a great job of bringing bloggers together – writers and readers!

I’ve dreamed about meeting blogger friends. Oddly enough, none of my personal friends are bloggers even though most love books and reading. Writing is just not their passion. One familiar woman on my island who writes a coaching blog presents it more as a “website”. When she responds to my blog or anyone’s comments, she emails!

I wish you success in your new direction, Naomi.

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Naomi July 28, 2011 at 8:53 am

Thanks so much, Amy, you’re a honey! Blogger friends really brighten our days, don’t they?

I reckon that with time more people will embrace it, especially in terms of on-the-blog comments, which are scarce here too – I also have hardly any personal friends who blog. We’ll just have to keep supporting each other 🙂

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nrhatch July 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Wonderful post, Naomi. Blogging rocks . . . whether as an end in itself, or as a means to an end. 😀

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Naomi July 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm

So well said, thanks Nancy 😀 You rock!

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sideview July 29, 2011 at 7:35 am

great articles.

I think I prefer my weekend theme form of communal blogging, no controls so you experience the huge diversity of people and their ideas around the same concept, but then I only blog for personal entertainment and have no business reasons to do so.

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Naomi July 29, 2011 at 9:55 am

Thanks for your great comment, Sidey 🙂 You’re a shining example of drawing bloggers together and sharing inspiration!

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