Having a company blog is often touted as an key part of an SEO and PR strategy. And as someone who spends her day reading author, investor, entrepreneur, and company blogs, and then turning around and writing posts herself, I appreciate blogs that are useful sites for news and information.
But really, most of all, I love a good read. And I think a good read demonstrates that the value of writing and publishing far exceeds simply "press." A good read stems in part from good writing. And without laying out a whole writing teacher rubric here, I'll say that good writing stems from having well-thought-out arguments and well-crafted turns-of-phrase.
Thinking Out the Writing / Writing Out the Thinking
In an essay titled "On Writing," Carbonmade co-founder and CEO Spencer Fry stresses the importance of writing for entrepreneurs as it helps you think through your ideas. Whether or not you formally outline your ideas, as Fry does, before writing, the process of thinking, researching, and writing helps strength and systematize your thoughts. "Most of the time when I sit down to write an essay," says Fry, "I don't have a clear picture in my mind of what I'm going to say. I've got a topic I want to talk about and a stance, but there's always wiggle room for me to formulate my thoughts. Writing everything down assists me through my thinking process and gets me to make strong calls on a topic."
Writing also can also serve to educate your readers, and the follow-up comments and emails demonstrate a reciprocity in sharing ideas and analysis. Writing can also help establish your place in an online network of writers/thinkers/makers. You read. You write. Others read you, then write in response.
Fry's believes that "blogging in the traditional sense - snippets of your thoughts on X, Y, and Z - has been replaced by Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Almost anything paragraph size can be squeezed down to 140 characters." And in response, his essay is really a call for long-form writing, in the tradition of Paul Graham.
And as a reader, I welcome great prose. But I don't think people should feel like they need to rise to the level of Graham or Hemingway in order to put pen to paper.
Nathan Marz, Lead Engineer at BackType urges people to write whether or not they have an audience for their blog (and whether or not they're entrepreneurs). Marz argues that the benefits touted from writing - "personal branding, networking, inbound opportunities - are just side benefits. They're potentially very large side benefits, but they are not the main reason you should write." Echoing Fry, Marz points to the way in which writing strengthens your critical thinking skills.
And admitting to having many drafts in progress, Marz stresses that it's the act of the writing in itself that's important. You needn't always hit the "publish" button.
But you should always write.
Photo credits: Flickr user MShades