Last week I introduced the concept of “blogging,” and suggested that, upon closer examination, a business blog’s value and complexity could far exceed that of a simple online diary. The fact that you are taking time to read this blog entry shows that you understand the intrinsic worth of learning from the opinions and experience of others (and that you have incredibly good taste!). But think about it. What is it about one blogger’s words over another’s that makes you want to come back for more? Are there characteristics that all successful (measured by return visitors, IMO) bloggers intuitively share? Yes!
If the idea of becoming a blogging CIO intrigues you, stop and ask yourself the following five questions before you waste your time (and others’):
1. Do you like to write? This should be a given if you’re thinking about starting a blog, and therefore may seem to be a ridiculous question. But from my professional experience, many newbie bloggers soon lose interest in maintaining their blogs because they view writing as a chore, rather than an enjoyable creative outlet.
2. Do you have the time and the discipline to post on a regular basis? Blogs are much like Boston ferns – beautiful to look at when tended to, but without constant upkeep will slowly shrivel up and die a sad, lonely, “who forgot to water the plants?” death. With so much material online to choose from (even if you do give Hemingway a run for his money), readers are fickle, impatient, and quick to forget you if you turn into a slacker blogger and only post intermittently.
3. Do you have the backing of your hospital’s marketing department? Although a blog’s platform is IT-based, a blog is a social media, marketing, advertising, and PR tool all rolled up into one. If the plan is to blog in your official capacity as a hospital CIO, it’s a smart idea to partner with your marketing person or department from the beginning, so you don’t end up competing with another department’s social media plan.
4. Overall, are you happy in your job? If you’re still stinging over the Clark Griswold-like Christmas bonus you received, frustrated that your pleas for more resources have fallen on deaf ears, or spending your lunch hour polishing your resume’, it’s probably not the best time to launch a blog that is designed to further your hospital’s brand (in a positive way). The best corporate bloggers are those who present a realistic, but optimistic and enthusiastic picture of their work environment. If that’s not you, it's probably best to wait until it is.
5. Do you have something meaningful to say? Of course you do. But, blogging (well) is harder than it appears, for not only do you need to be prolific on command, you also need to be meaningful and relevant to your audience each time you post. If you’re one of those people who keeps a pad and pen on your bedside table for those 3am revelations, then not to worry. However, if you’re hard-pressed to compose a list of 10 things you’d like to blog about, you may want to reconsider this particular investment of your time.
Okay! If you’ve answered “Yes!” to most of the questions above, and are ready to get started, great! Come back next week, same blog time, same blog channel, and we’ll get you started! To whet your appetite in the meantime, take a look at what some of your colleagues who are already part of the blogosphere have to say (thanks to Twitter followers @wpfleischmann, @tjanthony, @SOS_Software, and @kstewpr for these great recommendations).
Candid CIO – Will Weider, CIO, Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System
CIO Unplugged – Ed Marx, CIO, Texas Health Resources
Crossover Health – Scott Shreeve, MD
Healthcare and Technology – Deborah Leyva, RN
Healthcare IT Blog – Neil Versel
Healthcare IT Guy -- Shahid N. Shah, CEO of Netspective Communications
HIStalk/HERtalk – Mr. HIStalk and Inga
Lab Soft News – Bruce Friedman
Life As A Healthcare CIO -- John D. Halamka, MD, MS, CIO, CareGroup Health System, CIO and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School
Medical Connectivity Consulting – Tim Gee
SOS at Large – Kathy Peres