After contributing what is probably a couple dozen guest posts to Spend Matters over the years, Lisa Reisman (my wife) and Stuart Burns (her business partner) have decided to start their own blog, MetalMiner, covering a range of metals sourcing and trading related areas. I am taking an advisory role in this new blog -- and a new venture which will soon launch out of it in 2008 -- and look forward to reading what Lisa and Stuart come up with and maybe even offering up my own opinions on their virtual pages from time-to-time. One of their goals, I believe, is to provide a perspective on the metals market that is useful and entertaining for the most in-the-trenches practitioners as well as those who may be new to the subject -- or category. So far, I think they're on track to accomplishing this.
When Lisa and Stuart approached me about the idea of writing their own blog, I gave them the same advice I give everyone else who asks me what it's like to write one, day in and day out. First, it's critical to treat a blog as a business -- or part of your business -- rather than as a hobby. If you don't treat it as a business, it will always take last priority in your set of daily activities. And we know what happens when things get busy. Next, I told them the importance of publishing on a regular basis. In my view, a couple of times per week does not cut it, at least if you want to develop a following. To develop a loyal group of readers on a blog requires frequent updates that entertain and inform on a daily basis. Once a day during the week is the ante in my book.
But perhaps the most important element of publishing a successful blog that I told them was the importance of balancing informed analysis with a highly readable style. After all, good blogs have voices. They don't sound or read like everything else. That's what keeps readers coming back for more. I know for a fact that there are others who are deeper in various aspects of the Spend Management world than I am. But I also know that if I write in an informative and entertaining style offering up authoritative opinions on subjects that I'm passionate about, that everything will work out in the end -- as I most certainly hope it does for MetalMiner.
Incidentally, after an exhaustive analysis that only a bunch of consultants could mire themselves in, they chose WordPress as their blogging platform (I'm still on an older version of Ray Camden's blogging platform which offers great configurability at the expense of just about everything else). We'll see if standardizing on a market leading platform proves prescient. Perhaps if it works out well, I'll eventually switch over to something less exotic as well.