Mark Suster (Both Sides of the Table) wrote a great blog on why you should blog.  Below I’ve summarized his argument and applied it to education.

1. Why blog?  Blogging is a great way to connect and influence the edu-dialog.  Mark suggests that:

If you care about accessing customers, reaching an audience, communicating your vision, influencing people in your industry, marketing your services or just plain engaging in a dialog with others in your industry a blog is a great way to achieve this.

2. What you should blog about?  Mark and I suggest you write about what you know best—education.

My friends at Edmodo use the blog to highlight product features like this post on creating a personal learning network.

3. Where to blog?  Mark suggests blogging for your company:

If you’re a company and if hanging it off of your company website makes sense for the link traffic – go for it. If you’re head of marketing at a company and keeping a more generalized blog (in addition to your company blog) so that you can influence brands & agencies – it can be separate.

Like Mark, I keep my blog separate from our venture fund.  He said:

I chose for my blog to be independent of my firm, GRP Partners.  The reason is that I wanted to be free to say what I was thinking independently of my partners. My views don’t always represent theirs and vice-versa even though we’re pretty like-minded

4. How to blog?  Good advice on this front:

Be authentic. Don’t try to sound too smart or too funny.  Just be yourself.  People will see who you are in your words.  If you try to make everything too perfect you’ll never hit publish.  If you try to sound too intelligent you’ll likely be boring as shit.  Most blogs are.  I hate reading blow hards who try to sound like they’re smarter than the rest of us. Be open and transparent.  Get inside your reader’s minds.  Try to think about what they would want to know from you.  In fact, ask them!

Here’s more important advice (especially on drogging):

Don’t be offensive – it’s never worth it to offend great masses of people.  But that doesn’t mean sitting on the fence.  I have a point of view and I’m sure sometimes it rankles.  But I try to be respectful about it.  Sitting on the fence on all issues is also pretty boring.  And don’t blog drunk.  Or at least don’t hit publish  Mostly, have fun.  If you can’t do that you won’t last very long.

Like Mark, “Every time I write a post I send it out on Twitter.  I try to send out the Twitter link when more people are online.”

5. When to blog?  I blog after running the dog early in the morning and late at night and on airplane.  Find a rhythm that works for you and do it every day.

6. What’s next?  Mark suggests that “You have to respond to comments.  He likes disqus; I use it but don’t find it awkward for me and readers.

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Tom Vander Ark
Tom Vander Ark is author of Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of 4.0 Schools, eduInnovation, Digital Learning Institute, Imagination Foundation, Charter Board Partners and Bloomboard. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.

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