When I first began this blog, I suffered the same conundrum many beginning business bloggers suffered: How much is too much information? I didn’t want to give away so much info that the services my business offers can be of no use to them. It’s not as dire as giving away trade secrets, but blogging about WordPress design, content, tools, plugins, etc. sometimes means teaching readers how to, when to, and the where to of what I do, on some level. But, does it mean my readers can go out, install, develop, design, update, maintain, and fix bugs in their blogs after they read my posts? Not really. I don’t give away trade secrets, sure (not that much is “secret” in these days on the information superhighway). But, most importantly I’ve learned and I am still learning that what I know is one thing, what I and my business can do is another. Other business bloggers should know this too.
In the February 2008 edition of Seed magazine, I was reading an article titled “Secret Science: Hoarding nuclear secrets–even from enemies–can be downright dangerous”. The writer, Michael Levi, discusses how too many scientists wrongly assume that lack of access to certain information protects us from terrorist attacks or nuclear bombing from other countries when really it can do more harm than good. For example, not letting police officers, border secrity and other “front line” authorities know what certain bombs look like, and other potentially lifesaving ways to detect potential nuclear or terrorist threats. But, as Levi points out, “Considerations such as these suggest a useful starting point in separating information that can be safely shared from skills that should not be”.
In essence, as far as blogging, if you’re a business blogger and you decide to inform readers on your expertise about what you know best, there’s not too much harm in that unless you arm them with the skill set to do it or tell readers how to do what you and the special way you do what you do, step by step. Anyway, blog readers just want information, not second jobs or skill sets. Of course, there are those bloggers that are all about teaching skill sets, but then they also bundle more detailed information in sellable whitepapers, e-books, and so forth. When it comes down to it, as business bloggers, we can’t expect to keep what we know secret ’cause we’re certainly not the only ones who know it…no matter what it is and no matter what delusions you’re under. What we can expect as business bloggers is that our skill sets are unique enough (hopefully) that what we do cannot be copied so easily. If that were the case, our readers wouldn’t take us seriously as experts at anything, right? It’s what we do with what we know, and how we do it, that makes us experts.