"I just don't know what I would say."

I must have heard this a dozen times at Small Business Marketing Unleashed from attendees that were trying to explain why they aren't blogging or aren't on Twitter.  But almost everyone that I talked to was interested in learning more about blogging and Twitter, yet the fear of not knowing what to say was holding them back.

Here is a secret about blogging; most of us have absolutely no idea what we are doing when we start.  Seriously.  And here's another secret; there is always something new to learn.  That is the beauty of blogging and social media, we create by sharing.  We find our voice by communicating with others.   It's not about figuring out what you can say, it's about communicating with others.  When you start sharing and connecting with other people, you will find that your blogging voice was always there, but now you'll have the confidence to share it with the world. 

And don't worry if someone disagrees with what you might say, that WILL happen.  And when it does, it will likely lead to some excellent discussions!  If everyone likes you, then you don't know enough people. 

So if you are in this place, you are curious about social media, but have no idea how to participate, then start by observing.  Start reading blogs that cover your industry.  Leave comments as you find posts that interest you.  I stressed this point during my Blogging for Business presentation, that you do NOT have to blog, but you MUST monitor the blogosphere.  Know what is being said about you and your industry. 

Start small, take baby steps, be curious.  But if nothing else, don't let the fear make the decision for you.  The true beauty of blogging is that it gives everyone the chance to have a voice, and it would be a shame if you let fear rob us of the chance to hear yours.

April 24, 2008

Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.


Our law firm fell in this boat before I heard you speak at Unleashed. We knew we should blog, but we didn't know why we should do it or if we even had anything interesting to say-- nor did we realize that we could monitor what others were saying about us! You have a very clear and honest way of teaching and our firm finally has a clear blogging plan going forward!

Thanks Amber! And shoot me an email at mack.collier@gmail.com I have some suggestions for your blog.

Wow, Mack, this is so true. I don't think I realized just how true it was about ME until I read this. I was really bummed I didn't get a chance to sit in on your session at Small Business Marketing Unleashed. I've been using getting ready for Unleashed as an excuse for delaying my own blogging endeavors. Well, I clearly can't use that excuse anymore, so now I just have the real reason, which is fear, like you said. And since I don't like letting anything have control over me, I guess I better get on the ball! Thank you so much for everything.

We'll be blogging newbies together, ok? Keep us posted and don't be afraid to ask questions. BTW- It was really nice meeting you and your husband at Unleashed. :)

Good to meet you Rachel! What really concerned me was that the people that said that they "don't know what they would say" seemed to be the ones with the most interesting stories to tell!

I came to unleashed to learn and one of the pieces i'm really missing is an understanding of social media marketing and how it works. You broke it down perfectly in a statement "it's just conversation” i have an entirely new clear view of what i need to do. Thanks for the opportunity to learn from you...i did.. we will start over with correct motives to just talk and enjoy the “conversations”


More often than not, those with the most interesting stories don't realise it until someone asks them a question. What I've done to get the ball rolling once in a while is asked a few colleagues to ask me about something they may have interest in. From that I can usually come up with an article of some kind.

I've just finished a long write up about a simple question a client asked. So I would suggest the "queries box" is a good place to start.

Sam to break it down even further, think of social media as tools your customers are using to communicate with each other. When you think of it that way, then you realize that if you try to use social media to send advertisements to them, well you can guess what the reaction will be. This is why I say that companies have to use these tools in the same way that their customers are, and for the same reasons. Customers are using social media to communicate and share content and ideas, so companies need to do the same thing. Those that can, will be rewarded.

Robert that's a great point. I probably explained Twitter to a dozen people this week, people who had no idea what Twitter was, or why they should care. As a result, guess what I'll probably be talking about in my next post here? Ways you can use Twitter, which proves your point!

This is so true Mack. When I first started blogging I was absolutely clueless. I chose to lurk for while and I eventually got the hang of it. The same goes for Twitter.

It is kind of like merging onto the freeway. You just need to buck up and put the pedal to the metal. Once you are up to speed, it becomes time to merge.


I'm one of those dozen, and it's already a constant on my desktop.

I agree with the other commenters, your common sense to these potentially new and scary concepts makes them really approachable.

Will it just so happens that one of the areas where Twitter excels is live-event coverage. We were able to give you guys a real-time demonstration of this with the sessions. Now think of what it would be like at a larger conference with 5-10 sessions going simultaneously.

And thanks for the compliment! I just try to make sure that I bring the reader's point of view into my explanation of blogging because I know that you can't have a successful business blog if you aren't appealing to your readers. I'm not as worried about getting into the 'how do we make money off this?' angle, because if you can use your blog to connect with your readers, your business WILL benefit. Once again, great to meet you and Jennifer at SBMU!

Great article, and really good pointers for newbies! Getting started truly is the hardest part. We had NO idea what to say in the beginning of our blog. The first entry was nerve wracking! Will people read this? Will they think we're dumb? Do we have anything worthwhile to say? So, we started on the sidelines. The advice about reading and becoming part of the conversation on blogs in your field of work (or interest) is right on. It's much easier to get started that way. Less scary, too. As you go along, you'll get more courageous and might welcome a good debate. When you take a stand on an issue it can be fun and the comments section can really become educational and entertaining.

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