15 Rules for Business Bloggers
Ian Lurie Nov 11 2008
Blogs are the new web sites. Marketers launch ‘em because they think they need ‘em. They don’t consider the time commitment required, goals or why their audience would want to hear from them.
Then the blog dangles off the corporate site like an appendix until it irritates someone in the organization, at which point it’s removed.
It’s a shame, because blogs can do a lot for your business:
- Humanize it.
- Let the you share your business philosophy.
- Leak exciting news or ‘teasers’ about new products.
- Allow you to solicit direct feedback.
- Add search-engine-friendly content to your site.
So make the most of business blogging. Follow a few rules and you’ll have a business blog that actually helps you grow online:
- Take the B.S. test. Can you come up with three things to write that won’t include one shred of marketing B.S. about your organization? If so, move on to #2. If you can’t, give it up. No one wants to read a blog that does nothing but hawk your own products/services. It’s like going on a really bad date where your companion constantly talks about themselves.
- Write your passion. Write about what you care about. If you’re the head of marketing for a plumber, write about that time your toilet got plugged up. If you own a chicken farm, write about the beauty of eggs.
- Don’t worry about what ‘they’ want to read. ‘They’ are not your audience. Your audience will show up as you write to your passion, because they share it. And don’t tell me no one else cares. With 6 billion people on this polluted planet, you can probably find a few thousand interested in just about everything.
- Commit to writing. Plan to write 30 minutes a day. That may not produce one post a day. That’s fine. But by writing 30 minutes a day you refine your art, practice writing and pull together a consistent stream of useful content. Some posts may take 15 minutes to write. Others may take a week. It’s the steady work that matters.
- Look in the mirror. Say “But I don’t have anything to say 50 times. Each time you say it, slap yourself silly. Eventually, you’ll train yourself out of that ridiculous statement. You’ve got a career, a life, a business. You have things you care about. You definitely have something to say.
- Learn grammar. You’re representing your business. You’d better be able to write a complete sentence.
- Learn to spell. Actually, you don’t even have to learn to spell. Learn to use a spell checker. Learn not to mis-spell.
- Set up a Feedburner feed. Visit Feedburner.com and ‘burn’ your RSS feed. If you don’t know what that means, learn.
- Read other blogs. Learn to use Google Reader or a similar feed reader. Follow other blogs you like. They don’t all have to be related to yours. Learn the medium.
- Don’t advertise. If you’re blogging on your company site, don’t include ads. They won’t earn anything anyway, and they’ll drive away readers.
- Comment on other blogs. See an interesting post on a related blog? Join the discussion! Leave a comment. It’s the best way to introduce yourself. Bloggers don’t meet by accident – you need to get the conversation going.
- Link to between your blog posts. Link to other related posts on your blog, because that draws the reader further in, which translates to a more interested visitor.
- Link to other blogs. If you find a great post on another blog, link to it and explain why your readers should see it. That blog’s author will see the link and may someday reciprocate.
- Take responsibility. Learn the tools you’re using to blog. Learn to create a heading, a link, a list and a blockquote using your blog editor. Learn to work with images, too. These are not difficult things to do, or to learn. It’s your responsibility to know them so that you can produce the best-quality blog posts possible.
- Enjoy! If blogging becomes slogging, you need a break.
This post is part of a four-post series by myself, Marcelo Calbucci, Carolynn Duncan and Scot Herrick. Read their excellent pieces:
Finding Your Blogging Voice by Marcelo Calbucci
Setting up your Blog by Carolynn Duncan
Blogging for your Career by Scot Herrick
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More