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How to do market research via LinkedIn :)

I recently posted a question on LinkedIn, to get some feedback on my blog. I asked people what I should write about on my blog, and for general advice.

I got a number of answers back quite quickly, many of which were quite good! Thanks again Ramachandran, Lori, Michael, Josh, and Jon.

Here’s a sample below…

Ramachandran Iyer writes:

Whatever you please. The whole reason of having or keeping a blog is write off your daily thought and if its good enough there might be folks following it daily as well. So its just what are like and what you are passionate about.

But a general suggestion would be that- stick to some macro topic or subject of disucssion, so for readers there is a continuity aspect. Also when you start writing on a said veritical, there is lot of focus and learning for yourself as well. It also helps gather momemntum on that blog, as it becomes a big repository of collected information ,research articles, which will add lot of value to the readers.

Lori Laurent Smith writes:

Whatever you are passionate about. I started about 4 blogs before I landed on my current one based on finding a really great retail deal at the upscale stores I like to shop at for my family. Web 2.0 is all about YOU, not me or anyone else. Do what you like and people will come…slowly at first and then you will build a following as long as you do it reasonably regularly (every 2-3 days at max, everyday is best but hard). Post comments on other blogs and soon you will find you have a following. Send me a link when you’ve got it up and running. Good luck!

Michael Nachshen writes:

Andrew — to answer your question, I have to ask you one back. Why did you start blogging in the first place? Are you trying to drive business? Educate/inform people? Persuade them? Express yourself? Or are you doing it because everyone has a blog, and by golly, I need one too.

If the answer is the latter, then you are blogging for the wrong reason. Think of it this way. A blog is just another communication channel. Too many people (including, I’m embarassed to say, many communication professionals) think a blog is the end-all-be-all. But it isn’t –-a blog is easy, cheap, and potentially has a great deal of reach. But at the end of the day, Andrew, a blog is just another way to get your message out.

So, to get back to my original question – what is your reason for blogging in the first place? There’s nothing wrong with doing it just to have fun – these days, my favorite blog is about my little brother’s travels throughout Latin America -– but if you want people to read your blog, you should have a reason for blogging in the first place.

Think of it this way – a blog is a conversation between you and potentially millions of people. If you have something to say, then say it. But ask yourself this – would you spend time listening to someone who had absolutely nothing to say, but was simply talking because everyone else was?

Josh Kwan writes:

I’d like to know how you spend your time as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. What interests you as an entrepreneur? How do you prioritize your projects? What evaluation system have you devised to measure potential ideas or business plans? Tell me about the ideas that flow across your desk. How do you rate them, maybe against long-term trends or capacity to scale or strength of technology or quality of management team or personalities of founders? What metrics work for you? And why would you jump in or pass on particular companies? Basically, I would want to read on your blog the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a designated “entrepreneur-in-residence” at a prestigious VC firm. (Granted, you are probably restricted from sharing a lot of what you see and hear because of NDAs…)

Jon Fortt writes:

Right now, your bio is more compelling than your blog. I think that’s because it’s taking me too long to figure out what your blog is about.

I suggest you narrow your focus to “Advice for Entrepreneurs” and change your blog’s title to reflect that focus. Then add categories to your posts that reflect the theme — maybe some posts will be about conferences, some will be your own personal stories, some will be about networking.

I also suggest you pay close attention to the way you title your posts. I love “10 tips for meeting people at industry events” because I know exactly what I’m going to get when I read it. “Eyeball companies vs. revenue companies” is less clear; “check your motives before starting a company” would be better.

Well that was pretty damn useful! I really have to applaud LinkedIn for putting together a service like this, since obviously people are wandering around chiming on subjects, and putting together pretty useful responses.

I think net/net, the main advice is to make the blog more accessible by making clear what the focus of the site is. So if it’s entrepreneurship, the reader has to be able to make that judgement right away, in 30 seconds, or else they will wander off. I’m going to noodle on this a bit further and see where I want to go with it…

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