RonAmok!

The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.

For every fact there is an infinity of hypothesis.
The more you look the more you see. — Robert Pirsig

* * *

There’s a scene in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance about a student with writer’s block. She wants to write a 500 word essay about the United States, but her teacher suggests that she narrow her focus. Instead of writing about an entire nation, he recommends that she write about something more specific– like her hometown of Bozeman, Montana.

She couldn’t do it.

So, he asked her to narrow her subject to Main Street in Bozeman.

She still couldn’t do it.

Frustrated, he said:

“Narrow it down to the front of one building on the main street of Bozeman. The Opera House. Start with the upper left-hand brick.”

And she returned with a five-thousand word essay.

* * *

I advise my corporate blogging clients to choose razor-thin topics. By carving out the narrowest of the narrow, a world of possibility opens, simultaneously making it easier to write for and attract a passionate audience. “If your corporate blog is a source of information that can’t be found anyplace else,” I tell them, “then you’re on the right track.”

Take Karen Bartleson over at Synopsys, for example. Karen is an electrical engineer who has been writing her corporate blog, The Standards Game, for almost a year. Her topic? Industry Standards in the field of Electronic Design Automation. You get that? She’s writing a blog on the trials and tribulations of pocket-protector-propeller-heads who are crafting mind-numbingly boring documents that explain how to get software products from fierce competitors to play nice with one other. Who would would read something so nanoscopic in nature?

Well, what if I told you that Karen has over 600 RSS subscribers? Put another way, over 600 people are so fascinated with what Karen has to say about something as geeky as Electronic Design Automation Standards, that they’ve demanded to be notified the instant she publishes something new? That, my friends, is called INFLUENCE.

If you’re a blogger who’s writing for your company, take a hint from Robert Pirsig. Write about a brick on a building on a street in your town. Learn from Karen Bartleson by choosing a topic that at first blush seems drier than Death Valley, but once you dig into it, you find a wellspring of stories. In both cases, those who are passionate about your topic will find you; they’ll tell like-minded friends, who in turn will subscribe to your valuable source of unique information.

And if you still don’t believe in the power of a nanoscoping, take a look at my good friend, Mr. B’s, online publication called Bacon Today. No joke! Mr. B runs an entire website dedicated to “Daily Updates on the World of Sweet, Sweet Bacon.”

For every fact there is an infinity of hypothesis.
The more you look the more you see.

How focussed is your topic?

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Filed under: Content Development

Comments

Thanks for the mention of Bacon Today in your article Ron! By the way…

Pirsig + Corporate Blogging = Pure Genius

Well done!

Mr. B.
September 17, 2008

Thanks for the mention of Bacon Today in your article Ron! By the way…

Pirsig + Corporate Blogging = Pure Genius

Well done!

Mr. B.
September 17, 2008

And for giving me a big (if not boring) head!

KarenB
September 17, 2008

And for giving me a big (if not boring) head!

KarenB
September 17, 2008

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