Leadership blogging tips 4: Breadcrumb trail – not a newspaper column

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One of the biggest barriers many thought-leaders find in using social media is their lack of subject-matter: “What should I write? I can’t do an 800-word article every day…” is a common refrain.

Most bloggers will confirm that shorter posts are much more likely to be read, so this desire for longer postings is usually misplaced anyway.

But there’s a more important observation to add here; It is not conversational to offer a beginning-middle-and-end walk-through of your ideas.

No-one in a leadership position will struggle to understand the difference between a lecture and a conversation, yet so many interventions into conversational spaces still read like the traditional newspaper think-piece. The throat-clearing, the anecdote, the straw-man, the arguments and the conclusion. This is a transposition of the newspaper column – a non-conversational medium if ever there was one.

And remember, the newspaper is a lean-back medium. Often read at leisure, they perform a different function to blog-posts – thoughts offered to a more lean-forward environment.

So what could you be covering instead? Here’s a suggestion;

Seen something that made you think? Blog it with a link and a short post – asking the question that is foremost in your mind. By asking your audience to draw conclusions for you, it allows you to reserve your judgement until you’ve got the full story.

A good leadership blogger can often use their site to drop breadcrumb-trails of ideas and observations rather than leaden lumps of complex rhetoric. Sure – the occasional prototyping of a newspaper column is acceptable (ask for comments before you publish!), but often, it’s better to let your readers play with the bricks of your arguments. You never know – they may come up with some useful conclusions of their own.

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