By Jeff Marshall
Bring a friend and come hear Jeff Marshall speak about blogging at PSGCNJ’s general meeting on Monday, April 14, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, located at 48 West High Street, Somerville.
Blogging is not an act; but rather a process. When done right, it is probably the most powerful networking tool available today. Best of all, it’s free. But let’s start at the beginning: you have to develop your own brand. In my case, the brand was easy. As the Deputy Director of Risk Management For The State Of New Jersey and then the Director Of Risk Management for the School District of Philadelphia, I was always known as, “the risk management guy.” My moniker was a no-brainer. In four words, “The Risk Management Guy,” I told the world who I am and what I do. Both were available at Blogger, and WordPress, the two largest free blogging sites.
Content: You can post an article that you read in a newspaper, magazine, or blog, but that merely shows that you are well read. If you write original material – even a commentary on an article you read, you show that you are a critical thinker. Limit your blog to a single topic. This may not be as easy as it sounds. Understand that most blog readers are looking for concise information – Not doctoral dissertations. Limiting your blog to 500 -750 words is a good rule of thumb. If you are like me, the first draft will run far in excess of this limitation.
I then put it aside for a few hours or a few days. When I come back to it I’m able to see it in a more detached way. No matter how long the first version went, I enter the rewrite process with the intent of reducing it by 15 percent. Then, back into cold storage to mellow again. The next time we meet, we don’t leave until it’s been reduced by another 10 percent. Our third encounter will have the same result: down by 10 percent. Often I am forced to throw out entire paragraphs and entire ideas. Don’t fret, the ideas that you cut today become the “starter” for tomorrow’s blog. If you cannot objectively do this, work with someone who can. Remember that your grammar, sentence structure and organization are as much on view as your thoughts and ideas.
The blog title is your “come hither” moment. It is the teaser that makes your “drive by” stop and become a reader. Why settle with a title like, “How To Shorten Meetings?” when you could draw attention to your work with the title, “Beware Of Meetings Where They Take Minutes And Steal Hours,” or, “Meetings: The Perfect Way To Avoid Real Work.” Consider using numbers in your title: “Three Things I Wish I Would’ve Said To My Last Boss And Two Things I Regret Having Said.” It tells your reader your blog is organized into concise points; that it is manageable. Finally, attach a picture or drawing to your blog. It will make your blog stand out when posted on LinkedIn and other similar services.
Networking: Hopefully you’re already involved with a large number of LinkedIn groups and other online organizations. If you are not, you are wasting the power of LinkedIn. Post your blog on your LinkedIn home page and on every appropriate group’s page. Here is the math: If you have 500 people in your network, you have just put yourself in front of 500 people. If any of them click the “like” button –BANG! You just got reprinted to everyone in their network. Groups could have as many as 100,000+ members. What a great way to start the week (yes, post your blog early in the week and before 8:30 a.m.) by networking with 100,000 or 500,000 or 1,000,000 people in your industry or field of interest. If only 0.001 percent reads your blog, you have put yourself in on the desktop of 1,000 people. Anyone who writes a comment deserves a thank you. And every thank you results in your blog being reposted.
There is even more power in blogging but since it would put me over 750 words I cut those thoughts. Hey – I’ve got material for another blog!
In addition to Jeff Marshall’s own blog, The Risk Management Guy, Jeff’s risk management insights have has been featured in numerous magazines including a cover story for RISK Magazine; the monthly largest risk management publication. Jeff’s guest blogs and own blog have frequently been cited in other blogs. Jeff also lectures at universities on topics of risk management and workers’ compensation law and is a frequent presenter to insurance brokerage and TPA organizations on numerous topics including how to respond to RFPs.
A graduate of Bradley University and The Hamline University School of Law, Jeff resides in Raritan Township New Jersey.
Come to PSGCNJ’s general meeting on Monday, April 14, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, located at 48 West High Street, Somerville.
Please refrain from parking in the church parking lot. Metered and unmetered parking is available on West High Street. Unmetered parking is also available on some of the side streets near the church. Please put enough coins in the meter; a parking ticket in Somerville Borough costs $24! Please do not park in the handicapped spaces in the church parking lot or driveway unless you have a wheelchair symbol placard or license plate.