Five reasons smart people find blogging intimidating. And five ways to tame blogging fears.

Sharon Tanton

You understand the theory that creating the kind of content your clients are looking for is a good way to show your expertise and pull leads into your business. But understanding the theory and actually writing a blog article are two very different things.

Most of our clients are consultants – exceptionally talented individuals with huge amounts of knowledge – yet the majority find blog writing very difficult. Why is this?

Five reasons why clever people find blog writing intimidating

  1. Fear of offending someone. ‘The client/my colleagues/the partners might not like the opinions I express.’
  2. Not knowing what to write. ‘It’s impossible to know what to write about. Are people really interested in this approach, framework, spreadsheet, idea? Even I find it difficult to be interested!’
  3. Not knowing how best to use knowledge.I can write narrative, but I can’t say what my expertise is. That’s like asking me to summarise “King Lear” in a sentence. I have a lifetime of experience.’
  4. Fear of being boring.What I do is not original. Everyone does it. Why would it be interesting?’
  5. Not wanting to appear unprofessional.I know the right tone of voice for official reports, but for a blog post do I have to say “don’t” and “you’re”? I’m uncomfortable writing in that style, it doesn’t suit my professional image.’*

Any one of these reasons is enough to tie you in knots. In most cases it’s a combination of these fears and worries, (plus a few more you create especially for yourself) and the cumulative effect leaves you sat at your desk staring at a blank screen, feeling frustrated.

There is a way through.

We believe that anyone can learn to blog. There are rules and techniques that you can learn, and like any skill, you will get better with practice. But it’s more than rules and techniques. The biggest thing you can do to help you blog is to adjust your thinking.

Don’t see blog writing as a chore, see it as an extension of the way you help your clients deal with their challenges.

Five useful ways to think about blogging

  1. It’s not all about you.  If you write blogs that answer the questions your clients are searching for you it means that you are not the centre of the frame. Some consultants don’t like the egotism of blogging ‘Look everyone! Read what I have to say!’ and approaching it as a helpful activity rather than a self-promoting one is better for both you and the blogs you write.
  2. It’s not all about you. Write blogs that deal with specific issues your clients face. Deal with real-life questions your clients want answers to. Let that be your starting point, and you will always have something to write.
  3. It’s not all about you. It might feel like everything you have to say has been said before, but it won’t feel like that to a client who is facing up to a problem for the very first time. A blog is an opportunity to share something really useful. Don’t worry about being original, just opt to offer something valuable to your connections.
  4. It’s not all about you. You can learn the techniques for blog writing, but the best way to approach your writing is to imagine you are explaining something to a friend who is sitting next to you. You would use the simplest clearest words in a conversation, so use the simplest clearest words in your blog. It’s not unprofessional, it’s just plain helpful.
  5. It’s not all about you. Yes, you have years of experience and it can be hard to know how to begin to use that in this format. Decide to use your unique experiences and insight to help your clients, and prospective clients. View blog writing as an extension of your work as a helpful consultant, rather than as a diversion from it, and it will be easier to do.

More tips and training

Sign up for Pub School and overcome your fear of blogging in a supportive group. We’ll support you, and teach you how to create helpful content you’ll be able to share with confidence.

Take a look at Henneke Duistermaat’s writing courses. She’ll take you step-by-step through the process, and teach you how to write. We really rate her.

[*P.S. Thanks to consultant Jane Northcote for describing blogging fears so succinctly}

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8 Comments

  1. Hi Sharon, love this!

    I think many consultants (including me) fear being found out (the ‘Imposter Syndrome’) and of course one of the easiest ways to get found out is by committing your ideas and thoughts to something that everyone can read!

    Once we get over the idea that we have come up with something that is entirely original, clever, insightful and generally the best thing ever written we will find it easier to blog on stuff that comes up as part of our professional lives.

    I’ve certainly found that sharing challenges in my clients world (without naming names of course) is a way of talking about stuff that is relevant and interesting to the people in my market.

    Reply
  2. Really glad you like it. ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is a perfect description! And you’re right, you do have to get over the idea that whatever you write has to be the definitive best ever thing ever written on the subject – and just get on with it. Sharing challenges, as you describe it, is just the way to make it work.
    ATB Sharon

    Reply
  3. Fabulous thank you! Summed up beautifully and Gary’s made a really good point. I’m dipping my toe in the water by creating and publishing a personal blog which has helped me act rather than ponder and procrastinate. It’s getting me used to the habits I’ll need for my business blog which will launch alongside my new website in the next few weeks.

    Reply
  4. Hi Jo, really glad you like it and glad to hear that getting going with a blog is helping you take action. Good look with the new website too, I look forward to seeing it (and reading the blog!)

    Reply
  5. Good! So both of us can be right without repeating each other’ ideas. If you so like, please share my list on this platform. Of all the ten reasons, the most important is the mindset ‘I am a technical guy. I can at best write some report or paper. Writing this goody-goody stuff that an 8th grader should understand is not for me. I’d rather get under the machine and do it than take a pen a write about it.’
    But your post is good. Thanks.
    Ravindra Kathale
    ravindra@ravindrakathale.in

    Reply
  6. Thanks! That’s really useful. I’m sure you’re right about the ‘getting under the bonnet’ attitude too.

    And here is Ravidra’s list, as shared on the Professional Services Executive Forum group (which I’d highly recommend by the way) on LinkedIn:

    There are several reasons why professionals struggle to blog:
    1. Perceived inadequate command over language.
    2. Inability to write simple language.
    3. Lethargy.
    4. Inability to decide the depth of details.
    5. Not really being convinced about usefulness of a blog for the business.
    6. It takes a long time from start to finish. That time could be used elsewhere.

    Good list. Do add any more if between us we’ve missed any.

    Sonja

    Reply
  7. I like your article.
    Clear, handy and not intimidating!
    Thanks.

    Reply

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