Business Blogs Good For Seniors As Personal Marketing And Visibility Enhancers: An Interview with Margaret Stead
Blogging can prove to be an effective and highly rewarding business strategy for senior executives and retired professionals who want to keep themselves involved in their field of interest.
Photo credit: Fred Goldstein
Margaret Stead, a professional communication and career consultant in the UK, thinks the same way as me, and she has been making of this belief a definite resource of income. Margaret consults with senior executives helping them manage their post-corporate careers and professional opportunities by coaching them in the intelligent use of blogs.
And as she herself recounts, the practice seems to count more enthusiastic participants than deluded drop-outs. Senior executives and retired professionals find blogging exciting, easy to do and highly rewarding for their personal career and self-esteem.
I invite you to listen to this short conversation (12 mins) with Margaret, in which you can hear yourself what she is doing with blogs, and why she thinks they can be so effective.
Here is a fully downloadable .mp3 file of the conversation audio recording, or you can start streaming the interview in a matter of seconds by simply pressing the play button here below. A full English text transcript follows as well.
Margaret Stead - Photo credit: CareerDevelopment.com
Full text transcript of interview with Margaret Stead
Robin Good: Hello everyone! Here is Robin Good live from Rome in Italy and I am together with Margaret... Stead?
Margaret Stead: Yes.
Robin Good: Oh... I pronounced it correctly. Good. Where are you Margaret, right now?
Margaret Stead: Well, I'm in sunny Birmingham.
Robin Good: Sunny Birmingham. That is... United Kingdom.
Margaret Stead: It's in the middle, yes.
Robin Good: All right. Good. It's a pleasure to meet you and I've had the fortune of finding out about Margaret because she has written to me about a new book she has been writing about... What Margaret?
Margaret Stead: It's about how to develop your career.
Robin Good: And it has to do a lot with new media technologies as well.
Margaret Stead: Well, yes. I'm very fond of blogs. Weblogs as they're sometimes called.
Robin Good: Why are you so fond of them?
Margaret Stead: Well, for years... I have been working with senior people to develop their CVs or resumes as they call them, and, about three years ago I started putting their CVs online and hosting them on my sites.
And then I found weblogs. Now, I last saw weblogs in '97. It's a long time ago now. And I thought they were fantastic then. I really did. I thought they were the coming thing but the problem was I just bought a website so I couldn't afford any more technology at that time.
Robin Good: I see. And may I ask you how young are you, Margaret?
Margaret Stead: I'm middle aged, I suppose. You might say.
Robin Good: So you're not in your twenties any more, correct?
Margaret Stead: Not any more, no.
Robin Good: And you have a main job, an official day job, or you are a professional consultant?
Margaret Stead: I'm a professional consultant. I have my company careers international. And I've been working on the Internet since '96.
Robin Good: So, what is the unique thing about blogs that makes them so valuable in your eyes to the type of people you've been talking to for many years?
Margaret Stead: Blogs have every functionality that you could possibly want in a website and far, far more and they have the interactivity that, I think, the new generations are looking for. I think people are fed up of sitting and watching television, and watching reality programs. I think they want to interact with the world. And blogs are the perfect playground.
Robin Good: So, you're saying that these are tools that offer a lot in terms of being able to communicate and interact but people generally, who may be listening or reading through what we are conversating now, their general first reaction is about how difficult it is. What do I need to know? And, in that direction, what has been your experience, especially because I understand your customers, your clients are people that, many times, are beyond their fifties. Is that correct?
Margaret Stead: On many occasions, yes. I couldn't believe how easy they were. I believe that if you can use the Microsoft Word package you can blog. In fact, it's easier than Word, I think. And I spent all Saturday afternoon... this Saturday working with an eightytwo year old who now has seven blogs that I helped put together, it's showcasing her life's work. She wants to do another one and I was going to talk to you about it in a free moment because she's decided what she would like to do is talk about how modern equipment is difficult for elderly people.
Robin Good: Absolutely. That is a great topic.
Margaret Stead: Isn't it?
Robin Good: She's sure after it...
Margaret Stead: Isn't it fantastic?
Robin Good: Yeah, it is.
Margaret Stead: Yes. So, if she can do it, anybody can do it. And even I can do it. And it's got so many uses. You can work with a blog and you know, have your private musings but you can also develop your weblog as a platform for you to promote yourself and what you want to achieve.
Robin Good: So, it can be used as a personal marketing and visibility tool to let other people learn more about you and find out or get in touch with you. Is that what you're saying?
Margaret Stead: Absolutely. And journalists love them. If you're interested in featuring on Oprah Winfrey, you've got to have a blog.
Robin Good: But then, most people would... Second question would be but... then let's suppose you are correct and these blogs supposedly are easy to use. I will not get too stressed not any more than Microsoft Word already had me. And the next question is generally "...but who will come and look at this?" Their next worry is ...but how people will find out about it (the blog) ...and, is that the correct question to ask? ...and, what is your advice when they come to that point?
Margaret Stead: Well, it depends on how you set them up, of course. And what people have to do is find the right keywords to represent themselves. And in so doing, they often find out about themselves and find out about where their audience actually lies. But blogs in themselves are very search engine friendly. I mean, as long as you are putting rich, relevant content on your blog and you are using your keywords freely, the likelihood is that people will find you because the search engines are looking for just those... that sort of functionality.
Robin Good: So, what Margaret is saying, in other words is that if you are going to be using a blog and define for yourself a specific theme or topic or interest area that you are going to follow, inevitably, you will develop some keywords, some key phrases that represent your domain. Let's say online collaborations versus expensive luxury cars. Whatever your passion interest is, if you have a strong focus on that the use of those keywords in the title, in the name of your site, in the URL, in the content you write will re-enforce the message from you to the search engines.
Say "Guys! That's what I talk about. That's what I'm expert about!" So, when people will be searching for that topic, your news, as long as they're fresh and rich with information on that topic, I mean, rich in those keywords, it would come up high in the search results especially if people are looking through now those many blog search engines there are out there.
So it is nothing difficult or that requires you to to know some special tool or functionality. It's just that you will naturally develop a way to work around a certain, defined topic. If your blog is just about a personal diary, like traditionally blogs have been promoted to be, to recount all the things you want to...yes, that can be so too.
But then it would not have a strong relevance inside the infinite library that is the Internet. And when people go to search engines, of course they don't find much about you unless they know your URL (web address).
If (instead) you're constantly hammering that topic, using those keywords and your titles, not in a forced way but simply because they are part of the stories that you are telling, then, naturally your blog content will become relevant.
And then, I will add to your answer that it is not meant that a blog or a website is there to attract a large audience or traffic by default. I mean, especially in the case of your customers. I think, if you use the blog to promote yourself and to expose your credentials, it's like an "extended" business card. A business card is not more valuable if you put it on the windshield of all the cars parked on the street here. It's not very valuable at all. But when I hand it out to specific people then it can make a big difference.
So, that website can be a dedicated personal, high value personal card that is meant only for special communication and connection, and networking and is not meant to be like a television ad, that needs to have millions of viewers.
So, there's so many possible different uses for blogs that we tend to fall into the trap of categorizing what web sites and blogs need to be in too a general way. What do you think Margaret?
Margaret Stead: Well, I think it's also... There's a special magic to blogs that I've discovered over the last few years. It seems that when my coaching clients can send their blog live.. that almost overnight... they get super job offers and work projects that are fantastic.
And, it's not just the people who are reading their material.
I think putting together a weblog and sending it out there and telling the universe what you want to do and what your dream is... makes you a very... attractive person. It makes you appear confident. It gives you a platform and an expertise that you perhaps didn't, you know, recognize before and other people didn't recognize.
And I've had extraordinary results with very thinful weblogs. In fact on weblogs that still need finishing now that people are busy and in senior positions.
Robin Good: So, what is your final tip or advice or recommendation to anybody who has now been motivated enough to go out and spend half an hour testing this crazy idea of ours. Where would you send... Is there a URL or service that they need to remember? You have thirty seconds to give them the best you've got to move in that direction. What are you going to use those thirty seconds for?
Margaret Stead: I would say that the words you use to describe yourself are not necessarily the words that your customer or your audience will use when they want to find you. That's what you have to figure out. So you have to use all the tools available to find the keywords that the people who would want to hear about you would use to find you.
Robin Good: And if people want to want to know more about you Margaret where shall they go?
Margaret Stead: Well, they should go to one of my sites at www.careersnet.co.uk or give me a call or email me at margaret [at] careersnet.com.
Robin Good: Margaret, that was fantastic. I appreciate your time and sharing some of your experiences with blogs, with senior people, executives and the use and applications of them in realms that are not just the ones that techy people talk about all day. So that was quite a learning experience and I do appreciate your time.
Margaret Stead: Thank you very much, Robin.
Robin Good: Thank you, Margaret.
Margaret Stead: Bye bye.
Robin Good: Talk to you soon. Bye.Robin Good -
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