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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
PowerBlog Review: Binza

Editor's note: As we start another year, we are excited to present the forty-sixth in our regular weekly series of PowerBlog Reviews of other weblogs.

We enjoy reviewing blogs that are being put to unusual purposes, and Binza is one of them.

This blog is an interesting example of using a blog as a working tool, to practice writing and to hone the author's writing skills. Chris Bowcutt is that author.

Chris is a professional writer, and has a freelance copywriting site called Binza Group. He uses the blog as one of several methods to promote his writing. He also uses the blog to practice something he calls his hobby -- speechwriting:

"Speechwriting is not a business but a side hobby of mine. One of my goals is to eventually write speeches for high-level people -- but I've yet to build that business! So I write and deliver speeches for fun in my Toastmasters club (a public speaking club). I write mainly to educate and inspire.

The blog has been excellent in helping me hone my writing skills and also to feel more comfortable expressing myself."
The blog sidebar lists several speeches Chris has created (when was the last time you saw speeches listed on a blog sidebar?). One of those, entitled "Responsibility," speaks of the need for people to take individual responsibility for themselves. In addition to having meaning for him, Chris says this speech has resonated the most with audiences.

Unlike a lot of business blogs, Binza doesn't try to maintain a niche focus. Chris writes about anything that interests him, all the while practicing his writing. After all, it's the act of writing that is important to Chris.

Binza has a long history -- long for a weblog, that is. Chris was in the World Trade Center on that fateful day on September 11, 2001. He had started the blog a week before that.

Something unstudied and spontaneous in this blog makes you want to keep reading it. Few of the topics are about business subjects. But the business purpose of the site is there and it stands out.

That said, Chris sees future opportunity in helping others with their blogs, noting "the more I blog and the more I see its value in the marketplace the more likely it is I'll be incorporating 'blog consulting' into my freelance work."

Chris blogs from New York. The name of his blog, Binza, is the name of the neighborhood he lived in from 1984-1989, in Kinshasa, Zaire, (now DR Congo), for which Chris has fond memories. The graphic in the blog header is the (now obsolete) Zairean flag.

The Power: The Power of the Binza blog is in the way it is being used expressly to develop the author's writing skills. Blogs have been described as online diaries, and as such are perfect for this purpose. Unlike the diaries of old -- private items on paper -- the author can point propsective clients to the blog to view his writing samples.
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