4 Reasons to Consider a Surrogate Blog

July 16, 2013

BlogAs online reputation and digital footprint become more important for professionals, blogging has to play into your strategy.  Unlike purely social applications, a blog represents one of the best ways to define and park your ideas for others to see.

Conversation and curation are good, but creating the stuff that everyone talks about is the ultimate footprint move.

I also realize that this isn’t realistic.

So a surrogate platform may represent a good solution.  A surrogate blog is one that belongs to someone else but hosts guest bloggers.  Good examples are KevinMD who provides a great place for general medical commentary.  Wing of Zock offers a solution for academic physicians looking to share ideas that may not fit in a traditional journal.  And if I didn’t spend so much time here, I’d write more for Medicine | Milestones | Miracles or Momentum, the blogs of my own Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine.  Most institutions these days have blogs and they’re typically thrilled to have a member of the medical staff or faculty willing to pitch in with good thinking.

So when should you consider a surrogate blogging platform?

  • Fear – When you don’t want to go it alone.  When the perceived risk of owning a site is more than you can think about, you might want to write out of harm’s way.
  • Money – When you don’t want to spend the cash.  When done right, keeping a blog costs money.  Writing in someone else’s space saves you the cost of web development, maintenance and other hidden costs.
  • Time – When you haven’t got the time.  Looking after a busy blog can eat your bandwidth.  And if you’re only in it for a couple of posts a month, maintaining a site may be more trouble than it’s worth.  The surrogate site does the heavy lifting by taking care of issues such as setup and server issues.
  • Reach – When you need more reach.  When you blog on someone else’s site, you ride on their Google juice.  An established blog will offer instant reach and visibility that takes years to develop on your own.

Of course there are more reasons.  Why else would you consider a surrogate platform for blogging?


{ 4 comments }

Skeptical Scalpel July 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I agree with most of what you said. It also might be a good way to get started with blogging.

I’m not with you on the cost. I’ve been using Blogger for three years. It hasn’t cost me a penny. I know if you use WordPress and want to get rid of the video advertisement, you have to pay $30 per year.

What other costs are there?

DrV July 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

SS, Yes, you’re right. There are a variety of options for blogging ranging from Tumblr and blogger to self-hosted Wordpress sites. I was referring to self-hosted, which is what I do. But your point is key since maintaining your own space can be done on the cheap as you’ve done.

Medium is another evolving new platform from the founders of Blogger, in fact. It’s one to watch. Feels like Blogger in the early days.

Thanks for clarifying.

Kevin July 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm

I’m not sure how I feel about Medium. There are some good signals there but the noise seems to be detrimental towards keeping my interests.

Also the goal of Medium isn’t to promote individuals but all the voices and I don’t think its being done very well. The design and everything is very elegant, but there’s just something about the integration of all those disparate voices and topics that puts me off of the service.

Julia July 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I think this is a great post to encourage non-bloggers to contribute to the blogosphere. I’m actually surprised to see the vast, vast, vast majority of contributors to surrogate platforms, e.g. KevinMD, remains to be seasoned bloggers with their own website. Come to think of it, I don’t recall the last time I’ve seen a non-blogger post on that site.

This could very well be an editorial bias, but it also suggests that it is the principle — rather than time/money/logistics in designing and maintaining a blog — that is the primary deterrent for most people. Leaving an electronic footprint is scary for many physicians. Saying something (vs. nothing at all) has a greater tendency to polarize an audience, and this is particularly concerning when your audience is your patients. I think this is why many tend to say nothing at all.

Just a thought.

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