Steve Jobs and Pixar Illustrate an Important Principle of Blogging


My realtor friend Steve Rupp sent me a piece with the following story about Steve Jobs….

After purchasing computer manufacturer Pixar, Jobs relocated the company to an abandoned factory, re-organizing the physical structure with offices and workspaces around a large, central atrium. Under this new (at the time) very unusual arrangement, the mailboxes, meeting room, cafeteria, coffee bar, and gift shop were all in the center of the space. The underlying principle? “When people run into each other and make eye contact, things happen.” Of course, electronic messages could have been sent throughout the Pixar building in a millisecond, Jobs realized, but the community context of the message is the part that would help people understand each other and work together.

Could Jobs have avoided restructuring the entire complex of buildings, relying on mandatory periodic meetings or even informal periodic staff get-togethers to accomplish his goal of employees “running into each other”? Perhaps, but that “eye contact”, “context-sharing” and cross-pollination of ideas, Jobs understood, needed to happen frequently in order to be meaningful.

At Say It For You, after years of being involved in all aspects of corporate blog writing and blogging training, one irony I’ve found is that business owners who “show up” with new content on their websites are rare. There’s a tremendous fall-off rate, with most blogs abandoned months or even weeks after they’re begun. That sense of community Steve Jobs was after in the redesign of the Pixar facility? You might say the first job of a blog content writer is to help a business or a professional practice “get its frequency on”. What the blog does is get the business owners and practitioners into the “atrium” to “run into” their readers!

Good things happen in the blog frequency “atrium” for business owners who make blogging part of their routine as part of an overall business marketing strategy, with blog posts providing a steady stream of “sound bites” – little bits of different, interesting, and helpful content.

Steve Jobs building design was meant to encourage employees to “hang out” with each other in the Pixar atrium area whenever their schedules allowed, with no regular times posted. Over the years, relates, various studies have analyzed data to find out the best time to publish a blog post. Most often, though, we find that the issue is less that of choosing the optimal posting time and more about finding the time to create content to post in the first place!

Our mission, then as blog content writers, is to create an “atrium” where business owners and practitioners can share ideas with readers.


Don’t Keep Yourself a Secret in Your Blog

“What we’re marketing is Y-O-U”,” career strategist Diane Wingerter reminds clients, subjecting their personal profiles to her “’red pen review”: It’s a mistake to introduce yourself to a prospective customer or employer with a laundry list of all the things you do, she teaches . In order to focus on how you want the reader of the profile to feel about you, weave your bio into a narrative that reveals your personality.

In fact, two P’s of business blogging, we remind clients of Say It For You, are Passion and Personality. As compared to brochures and advertisements, blog posts are ideal for revealing, while imparting valuable information to visitors, the unique personality and core beliefs of the business or practice owners.

Used to be, the emphasis in marketing was on conveying a USP, a unique selling proposition. Today, however, we should move in the direction of ESPs – emotional selling propositions,” Jeanette McMurtry cautions in Marketing for Dummies. And, in online communication, while need may have brought visitors to your blog, it’s their want (their desire to do business with you) that will move those visitors “down the sales funnel”.

Based on my years as a college career mentor, helping students secure internships, I have come to compare blog posts to long interviews. Searchers on the web are “recruiting” help, and just as in a face-to-face interview, they evaluate your content in light of their own needs. It’s more than that, as Diane Wingerter so aptly emphasizes. What interviewers really do, as the Helium Jobs & Careers website says, is “get a look at your personality.”

Business blog posts, shorter, less formal, and more personal than websites, are the perfect venue to showcase your personality and your unique approach to your field. Yes, a marketing blog must demonstrate what you have, what you do, and what you know how to do, but, whatever you do – don’t keep yourself a secret in your blog!