Lessons from ten years of blogging and eight years of podcasting – Interview with Neville Hobson

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Today’s interview is with Neville Hobson, an entrepreneurial communications professional who has been blogging since 2002 and podcasting since 2005. This interview came about after Neville posted on his blog in the middle of December that he started blogging ten years ago. Following that post, I was thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed for my blog about the lessons that he had learnt from his years of blogging and podcasting.

This interview follows on from my recent interview with Jacob Morgan Solve customer and business problems faster through collaboration and makes up number forty-four in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things and helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.

Highlights from the interview:

  • Neville has a curiousity for technology and how people use it
  • Neville has been blogging for ten years
  • He started out of curiousity to see if it it was something that he wanted to do and started using blogging as an online diary of sorts.
  • However, initially was a very infrequent blogger and has realised over time that you have to be clear as to why you are blogging
  • Do want to share insight (thought leadership), do you want to think out loud, do you want to engage in discussion around a a certain issue etc
  • Blogging has become a broad term and is not just about writing a blog but also encompasses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc updates/posts
  • Broadly, a blog allows people to get to know you over time and facilitates connections that may not have otherwise have happened
  • The barriers to entry for blogging are effectively zero with so many free services around
  • People worry about the technical side of things but if you can operate Word or another word-processing package you can write a blog post
  • There are advantages to having your own self-hosted blog for a number of reasons including discoverability and control
  • When someone googles you and nothing shows up that can say a lot about you to the person doing the search and can often be worse than finding a negative comment
  • Whether you like it or not everything is online or has an online presence these days
  • Some people are not great writers so writing may not be the best route for them but there are lots of other choices whether video, audio, voice/video over a slide deck presentation.
  • Because of those choices it makes it harder to not do it
  • The biggest barrier to starting is fear.
  • If you want to get started here’s something to keep in mind: Write informally, conversationally, don’t use jargon and write with energy and passion so it jumps from page. That does not mean that it needs to be frothy and full of hyperbole but that your users get a sense of who you are.
  • Write something that you are interested in and that people will find useful
  • Think about what people search for (keywords)
  • Ask yourself this question: Do you know what keywords your customers are using when searching for the thing that you do?
  • Not everyone will read your content on your blog so think about your headline as that is the most important part of your post when it comes to getting someone to read or share your post….a bit like a headline in a newspaper
  • Try and write a headline that is ‘tweetable’
  • Attribute, cite and link to other content on the web – this will get your link building off to a good start
  • Post frequently…Google loves new content
  • Like most things that bring value, this requires time, energy, patience and commitment
  • The reasons for podcasting in the US and the UK are very different.
  • In the US, there was/is a general belief that radio in the US was not very good and people were looking for an alternative.
  • However, in the UK it is different as the UK has really great radio. But, outside of mainstream radio you are hard pressed to find good business podcasts.
  • Like blogging, the barriers to entry for podcasting are almost zero. (Note: lots of sites to think about from Neville in the interview)
  • Not many businesses podcasting
  • There is an audience on iTunes looking for business podcasts
  • If you do start a podcast then you have to register your podcast/get it listed on iTunes if you want to drive traffic and build up an audience. Neville finds that up to 90% of subscribers to their podcast, which has been running for 8 years now, come via iTunes
  • One of Neville’s favourite quotes comes from Esther Dyson: ‘Keep making new mistakes’
  • Check out Neville’s podcast: For Immediate Release (FIR) at www.forimmediaterelease.biz

About Neville (taken from his blog bio)

Neville Hobson

Neville Hobson is an entrepreneurial communications professional with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. He has extensive hands-on and leadership experience internationally, embracing corporate communication, employee communication, public and media relations, marketing communication, compensation and benefits communication as well as investor and financial relations.

He’s an early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. He’s also a freelance writer, blogger (since 2002), podcaster (since 2005): creating articles, blog posts, white papers, audio podcasts, social media training programmes and other online content. Immersive practical experience in digital communication especially social media; online community builder; writer, interviewer and speaker on digital media trends that matter to organisations.

For Immediate Release

You can find detailed information about his business services on his business website.

You can also connect with him on Twitter @jangles, LinkedIn here and don’t forget to check out his popular blog: www.nevillehobson.com.

Finally, have a listened Neville’s podcast that he does with Shell Holtz: For Immediate Release (FIR) at www.forimmediaterelease.biz.

Photo Credit: Tom Gill (lapstrake) via Compfight cc

Comments

  1. Adrian,

    Like you and Neville I blog.

    Why do I blog is a very interesting question.

    Because I am interested in how ideas spread ~ Seth Godin
    Because I think I have some ideas worth spreading?
    Because I think of blogging as an art form (and lord alone knows I can’t sing)

    Why do you blog?

    James

    • Hi James,
      Why do I blog? For many of the same reasons that you do. But, here’s some particularly personal nuances of why I blog:
      1. I use my blog as my public, thinking, digital notepad. The blog allows me to articulate ideas and find out new things that I can share. The fact that it resonates with some people and some find it useful is a huge and humbling bonus.
      2. It also acts as an archive tool for me too.
      3. I don’t blog to sell but to inform and help.
      4. I like to use my blog to learn and network….hence the interviews
      5. I like to use my blog to experiment
      6. I like to blog because it is a creative process (and I can’t draw!)
      7. My blog helps me understand digital and content marketing better
      etc

      What do you think of my list? :)

      A

  2. Hello Adrian,
    Don’t know how I missed this post of yours. Loved the common sense advice and in particular the following:

    - “Write informally, conversationally, don’t use jargon and write with energy and passion so it jumps from page. That does not mean that it needs to be frothy and full of hyperbole but that your users get a sense of who you are.”
    - “Write something that you are interested in and that people will find useful.”

    It occurs to me that I started out writing as I was encouraged to write. And I continue writing because the writing has become a part of me. It is part of my identity. And through my writing I declare myself and allow others to reach out and connect with me. I value that connection.

    It also occurs to me that writing shows up as easy/joy because I am not concerned with thought leadership. Nor am I concerned with building a brand. Nor am I concerned with dotting the i and crossing the t’s. If you get what I am getting at that is good enough. It is only a blog.

    maz

    • Hi Maz,
      Thanks for that. Having read a lot of your stuff I sense that you enjoy what you do and your writing.

      However, to say it is ‘only a blog’ undermines the importance of what you are trying to do. It’s your blog and, I believe, it’s important as it is very public way of you sharing your thoughts and ideas with the world around you, particularly with those that are beyond your immediate circle.

      Adrian

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