Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Show us, don't tell us you're the expert

A funny person is funny.
They convey this by making you laugh.
They don't say "I'm funny".

The same logic should apply to how you position yourself or your product in the world. You don't tell people how smart, or funny or talented you are. You show it. Like the writer's golden rule "
Show don't tell".

Thanks to blogs, there is an opportunity for those of us who are genuinely expert at something to show and prove our expertise and be judged according to the merit and quality of our work. We don't need to rely on advertising alone to tell the world what we've got to offer - we offer it.

Blogs are good news for people who really are experts in a particular field or subject matter but bad news for those who aren't paying attention to changing trends or developments in their field. This is a really important distinction if you're a vocational student and you're paying thousands of dollars to learn about the most current applications and strategies from cutting edge professionals.

Leading academics, technologists, politicians, and CEOs are sharing their wisdom and cutting edge smarts through their personal or group blogs. These people know and believe in the truth of 'show dont' tell'. So do their students, peers and clients.

Design and "internet guns for hire" are proving their expertise with their Rodcorp blog. I found this blog while surfing through the unbiased and very democratic del.icio.us feed, which ranks new web content by popularity and freshness. The piece that brought me to their blog is called "How we work". The post is an overview of the different working styles and habits of well known authors, artists and experts from a variety of fields. From their description:

"We're interested in the habits, rituals and small (and occasionally big) methods people and teams use to get their work done. And in the specific anecdotes and the way people describe their own relationship to their own work. Here's a list of some stories and habits. Not sure it is actually useful for anything. Do any patterns emerge across stories, other than the obvious stories of super-focus, super-dedication?"
With this post and their excellent examples, Rodcorp conveys to me that: a) they are genuinely interested in process; and b) they are willing to invest and share their knowledge base. Whether I'm a client or a prospective client or just a passing reader I'll remember this site because they've offered me a bit of knowledge that I found useful. This useful knowledge is a freebie, a value-add they've offered via their blog. I like content I can use. And I'll go back to their site again and recommend it to others.

This is possibly the best kind of advertising you could ask for - to show your knowledge and have others circulate your message for free. Before you know it, word will get round that you offer something special and that you're tuned into trends people are invested in.

So whether you're an emerging professional, an instructor or a CEO, a blog is your chance to show what you know and our turn to say "prove it".