There are now 75 local blogs listed on Charlottesville Blogs, with a few more being added every week. (I’m really hoping to break 100 by the end of the year.) In fact, there’s so many posts every day that Joe isn’t so overwhelming anymore. ;) I subscribe to the Charlottesville Blogs RSS feed, and I read it every day — I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it. The topics are as varied as the perspective and while I can’t say that the bloggers are entirely representative of the overall spectrum of the population, it’s definitely getting there.
I’ve noticed a big gap in the offerings, though, and I think it’s something that smart local business owners would do well to take advantage of.
Jim Duncan provides a great example of how a blog can be beneficial to its author and to the community. Until he’d started blogging, I’d never heard his name. Now, if you asked me to name three real estate agents in the area, I don’t doubt that I’d name him. The few hundred subscribers to the Charlottesville Blogs RSS feed may well do the same, as would whatever number of people read his site regularly. The benefit to me is that I now have a sense of area real estate — I understand what the trends are, how we’re impacted by national market changes, and I think I get how real estate fits into the large picture in Charlottesville.
More professionals should be taking advantage of this. I want a Plan 9 blog, where employees tell me what they’re listening to and, while they’re at it, what sales are on at Plan 9. I want a Market Street Wine Shop blog — reading Clinton Johnston’s blog (which I love — it’s the most personal and, I daresay, funniest local blog) is half of it, but I also want wine recommendations, I want to know what great port they just got in and how it was with dinner last night. I want a Cary’s Camera blog, which would feature photos by some of their customers, advice on techniques, explanations of some of the work they do and technical tips on photography. And so on.
Experts gain a lot, I believe, by giving away bits of their expertise in this format. It creates a new customer base, it gives something of value to the community, and it is bound to help forge ties between unlikely groups of people, which is always great. If you have some expertise that would be interesting to share in occasional bite-sized chunks, it’s time to hop on the blogging bandwagon.