Listening is more important than talking when getting ready to engage in a discussion. It’s no different when getting ready to blog.

Amy Gahran has an excellent post on what to do before you start blogging. Here’s a bulleted summary of Amy’s post:

  • Leaping into blogging cold is a mistake.
  • Before doing anything, figure out which groups you wish to engage in a public conversation.
  • Figure out where those groups already spend time online.
  • Search blog search engines like Technorati, Google Blog Search and IceRocket to find blogs that are already succeeding in attracting attention from your core communities.
  • Explore other types of online media — bulletin boards, e-mail lists, wikis, virtual environments (such as Second Life), and citizen media sites (such as YourHub.com) to find good matches.
  • Web sites of local or regional mainstream media also can be useful to watch if they allow comments and foster public discussion in your core communities.
  • Create a short list (just 3-5 blogs or other sites) that you should start reading on a regular basis.
  • Follow their existing conversations.
  • Participate in existing discussions. Take the time to leave comments on blog posts or forum threads, and respond to others’ comments, always being positive and helpful.
  • Don’t be ‘salesy.’ That is, don’t blatantly pump your business or agenda. When you join the public conversation, your guiding motive should always be: ‘What value can I offer this community?’ Abject self-promotion almost always backfires.

Blogging is a conversation. Blogging is not publishing a website. When entering into a conversation, do the right thing. Listen first.