My only concern was your comment from Guy Kawasaki to just write great posts and people will find them. I disagree. Not because I think that I write great stuff that has not been found, but rather because I do not think that it is that simple.
I really liked a post Bill Ferriter wrote on this topic, in which he said:
Audience is a function of the content that you create, the consistency of your creation patterns, the length of time that you’ve been creating, the opportunities that you have to be in front of audiences in the real world, the relationships that you have with people who have audiences larger than you do — and, as frustrating as it may seem, serendipity.
His answer is instead to ‘Bring Your Own Audience’. As he explains:
The most powerful members of your audience are those people that you ALREADY have an intellectual relationship with. Maybe they are folks in your school that you have lunch with every day. Maybe they are buddies from other schools in your district that you meet for beers a few times a month. Maybe they are colleagues that you hang with once per year at teaching conferences around the country.
Those are the people who are the most likely to stop by your blog or respond to your Tweets and challenge your thinking — so instead of trying to build a huge audience of strangers, concentrate on building a small audience of peers.
I think that whether it be blogging in the classroom or starting a professional blog, the best thing that you could do is find a few people who you really want to share with and start there.
One of the questions that I am frequently asked about blogging and have included in my webinar on the topic is “do you recommend that I have just one blog or should all of my students have their own blogs?” There is not a clear cut answer to this question because the answer depends upon how you envision using blogs in your teaching practice.
If your use of blogging is going to be limited to just distributing information about your class(es) to students and their parents, one blog is all that you need. Even if you teach multiple courses, one blog is sufficient if you’re only using it to distribute information. Simply label each new blog post with the name or section of the course for whom the information is intended. From a management standpoint it is far easier to label each blog post on one blog than it is to maintain a different blog for each course that you teach. That is a lesson that took me one semester to learn.
In regards to students, for a single class Byrnes recommends a group approach:
The solution that I recommend is to create a group blog for each class that you teach. Create the blog using whichever platform you like then make each student an author on the blog. To track who wrote what on the blog make sure that the author’s name (first names only or use pen names with young students). Alternatively, you can have students label or tag posts with their names or pen names to sort out who wrote what. As the creator and owner of the group blog you will be able to see who wrote what from your administrative panel, but that doesn’t help parents who want to check the blog to see what their children have been sharing.
While if you have 25+ students in a class then use something like Feedly to manage blogs. My question about this approach is that it assumes that the blogs are private. If you use Campus Press (Global2) then there are other built-in options.
Although I have blogged about my own experiences and Kathleen Morris wrote an extensive post capturing an array of possibilities, I think that it is always useful to stop and consider other perspectives.
For more than ten years I have been publishing blog posts on at least 360 of the 365 days in a year. The “secret” has been to just make it a priority every day. There have been stretches where for it’s a struggle and there have been stretches when it’s “easy.” The “easier” stretches always come when I get up early in the morning. I don’t like getting up at 4am, but it makes the writing come easier and then I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.
A reflection about what goes into writing a blog …