Got a great question, or set of questions, this morning on a recent post. My answer got so long, I decided it's a post of its own.
Jim Caruso asked about whether he should start multiple blogs or a single blog since he's thinking about writing for clients/prospects, his peers, and his personal interests.
Here are my thoughts:
For anything we do/write/etc, always begin with the question "who is the audience?" And if the answer is that there are multiple audiences as you've described, you then have to ask yourself, where do their interests intersect and where do they deviate?
The key with writing, especially in a blog where you desire loyal readers and subscribers, is to stay relevant to your audience. If the discussion can stay relevant to all your audiences (covering the "intersection" of interests) then by all means, approach writing for all in one place.
BUT, if one audience will likely be bored, annoyed, or otherwise feel as though the content is not applicable to him or her, then break your blogs up. People, being SO busy and flooded with info, seem to pretty readily unsubscribe from previously interesting things that stop meeting their needs.
The more specific your content is to any one common-interest group (say, martial arts on the personal side, or family-owned businesses on the work side) the more meaningful your content will be.
Sometimes just one off-topic post on my part, and I lose a couple subscribers. Other bloggers I know have lost followers by talking a lot about their sports team or elections...veering off from their usual stuff.
Writing for peers in the same place you write for prospects and clients is probably not the best approach.
A good post on this appeared yesterday by Jordan Furlong on the Stem Legal blog talking about lawyers writing for lawyers versus for others. Jordan wrote that the client cares about what's in the FedEx envelope while lawyers care about how you get to what goes in that envelope.
The occasional post about your personal interests or whatever is great. I've been downright shocked by the warm response to a couple of these that I've shared...like my son's return from Afghanistan (he's a soldier) -- the outpouring from business friends was very moving and that post is among the 10 most "clicked" on my blog.
Pick your audience first.
Ideally this is based on what your greatest business passion is (because blogs without passion are awful).
Think, literally, in terms of "common interest groups."
In the event you choose to focus your business blog on your peer group and not the end client, you can still gain a little out of it for marketing, but it's not truly a marketing effort. Certainly some prospective clients may see this writing and think, wow, he knows what he's doing, and you'll earn some credibility for that. But don't necessarily expect them to subscribe to your feed.
And if you go down the road of a personal blog, assuming the content is publicly appropriate (not airing dirty laundry or constant party pics) go ahead and add the blog to your LinkedIn profile. This shows you are a dynamic person with rich interests. Others who share your interests might ultimately reach out to you on a business level.
Bottom line, think of what you're passionate about (enough to fuel ongoing interest in writing) then think about who the audience for those subjects might be. And then think more broadly about what they do and don't care about. Know your audience well. Stay as true to their needs and interests as possible.