Chances are, if you have a website, you’ve thought about establishing a blog. But deciding to start a blog is a lot like deciding to get a puppy — you realize pretty quick that you underestimated just how much time, effort, and planning was needed to own one. Before you know it, six months have gone by and you’ve written one measly post.
If you’re running a business, this can drag down your whole online presence. Outdated content can give customers the feeling that you have problems with follow-through, or that you can’t commit to your ideas.
So if you’re thinking about starting a blog, or if you’ve started a blog and it’s quickly devolved into what I like to call a “blahg,” here are a few things to keep in mind.
Blogging Tip #1: Get personal
Too many people confuse blogs with news articles. A great blog is conversational. It uses second person pronouns a LOT. If you need a little help on this front, pretend you’re writing your entries to a friend that’s interested in what you do.
Also, if the Ten Commandments of Blogging existed, this would probably be at the top: If the blog is under your name, the posts should be written by YOU, not a staff member who’s lower on the food chain. I see this happen a lot with organizations. The blog posts are supposedly coming from the CEO, but he/she is too busy to write them him/herself. If you don’t have time to write the blog posts yourself, either don’t start a blog, or give ownership to the entire organization. Taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own is unethical.
Blogging Tip #2: Make a list
If you’re not used to creating content all the time, coming up with new things to talk about can be really difficult. So before you get clacking, make a list of all the topics you’d like to touch on.
At this point, nothing is off limits. If it crosses your mind and it’s related to what you do, put it on the list. You can always decide not to write about it later.
Blogging Tip #3: Create a schedule
Successful blogs feature new content on a regular basis. Think of it like your favorite TV show — if it came on at a different night and time every week, it would drive you crazy. Eventually, you might even stop watching it. Your followers feel the same way about unreliable posting habits.
How often should you post? That depends on a little on your industry, and a whole lot on what you can realistically commit to. A good rule of thumb is posting at least once a week.
Blogging Tip #4: Be helpful
I cannot say this enough: GIVE. Give people knowledge that is insightful or helpful…or both! When readers gain valuable information by reading your posts — not just news about your program or details about your product — they’ll keep coming back. It shows you prioritize their best interests over your bottom line.
If you want to squeeze in a sentence or two at the bottom about a product, and it’s actually relevant, that’s perfectly acceptable. Just make sure that your overall focus is on giving, not selling.