Blogging = Making New Connections

Guest post from Mike Tolinski 

Mike is Contributing Editor, Plastics Engineering magazine (SPE) and the author of Additives for Polyolefins (William Andrew PDL/Elsevier, 2009) & Author of Plastics & Sustainability (Wiley-Scrivener, released Oct. 2011).

“My book, Plastics and Sustainability, came out in October 2011. It’s written for a fairly specialized audience; likely readers already have some knowledge of — and/or a serious interest in — plastics and their related environmental and production issues. Considering the book’s somewhat specialized nature, I wanted to see if I could use a blog to make contact with its audience – and I chose to target specifically the sustainability issues related to plastic packaging.

I wanted an immediate audience for the blog, so I proposed to maintain a new blog for an established plastics industry website. Although I’d never had direct contact with the website people before, they were more than accommodating to my idea, and quickly set up the necessary user-friendly web design.

After finishing my book but before the blog started, I had continued daily to monitor developments in my subject area, so it wasn’t hard to come up with my initial blog topics and links. It only requires a couple hours per week to compose an entry or two, and the writing keeps me sharp on the subject matter and active in communicating in the field. (I’ve been posting usually only once per week, though I’m trying to get that up to two per week, which is the minimum frequency usually recommended for a blog.)

Having had no blogging experience before this project, I’ve read up on some blogging “how-to’s.” But I’ve also used my own instincts and preferences. I particularly believe that blog entries should contain multiple, helpful links that reference and contextualize published articles and other sources, and I feel most blogs incorporate far too few helpful links to support statements made in them, thus becoming little more than opinion/vanity blogs with limited value for a professional audience.

Of course, I always add my own boilerplate bio at the bottom of each blog entry which contains links to my book, website, LinkedIn profile, etc. I also use my Twitter feed to inform followers about each new blog update, and each Twitter alert is also automatically forwarded to my LinkedIn profile. My LinkedIn group forums also seem to present good opportunities for posting new blog postings and requesting comments and making contacts.

It’s still too soon to say much about the results of this extra work, and there’s more I can learn about blogging. But the blog already has allowed me to make some connections with people who’ve commented at the blog. And I did receive a message from a conference organizer wanting me to present at an upcoming event; she had seen one of my blog postings on a relevant subject (though of course I hope she’ll now buy my book too).”

Blog: Sustainable Plastic Packaging (“SPP”) (RSS feed)

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mike-tolinski/5/2b/17

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichaelTolinski

If you have any questions or ideas that you would like to share with us please get in touch in the comments.

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