In his presentation to our Circle Business Network group (a group he’d co-founded 2 ½ decades ago), Richard W. Smith made an interesting distinction. The word “teach”, he explained, is related to the concept of “putting in”, whereas the word “education” derives from Latin words meaning “drawing out” or “bringing forth”.
Smith, who serves on the faculties of several universities in different parts of the world, calls himself a “depth educator”. His efforts are clearly focused on the education aspect, “bringing out” what is already within the hearts and minds of his leadership workshop participants..
Blog posts can certainly teach, “putting in” information that can be valuable to online visitors, showcasing your expertise in your field while confirming knowledge that readers may already have. Going one step further than that, you can try to capture concepts in a whole new way, evoking in your readers an “I didn’t know that!” response.
Teaching can transition into education when readers are inspired to think of new ways in which your products and services can be helpful to them, given their specific needs. In other words, the testimonials, the anecdotes, or the insights you’ve provided in your blog posts “bring out” ideas and solutions on the part of your online visitors!
Business blogs can play many roles:
- A “ handshake” and a welcoming “smile”, assuring searchers they’ve come to the right place for the information, products, and services they need
- A “teacher” or information source
- A dialogue starter, where readers leave comments, click on links to learn more, ask questions
- An “educator” that brings out and stimulates new ways of looking at the subject
Should you teach or educate in your blog? The answer is YES!