Christian Piatt is an author, columnist and owner of MyWordTree.com, a marketing, writing and editing service for small businesses.
Blogging is a big buzzword these days. It seems like everyone's doing it, but why? I get inquiries every day about assistance with blogs as they relate to business, because people recognize it as a powerful tool with great potential, but few know how to put it to best use.
The word "Blog" comes from "Web log," a sort of web-based diary that's available to the world. People can browse your entries, comment on them, and even forward them to others unless you limit your readership to select subscribers. It's truly amazing how much some people disclose about themselves in their blogs. They'll talk openly about things they would never share with a close friend over coffee.
What started as a tool for personal expression now is being effectively employed as a business marketing tool. The problem is that there's so much out there in cyberspace, we owe it to our readers to offer them useful, compelling content if they're going to invest the time to read what we have to say.
Here are a few tips about what to do - and what not to do - when blogging.
DO keep it brief: We're all stretched for time, so respect your readers' attention by getting to the point.
DO lead people to useful resources: instead of trying to cover everything about a topic in one blog, direct people to other places where they can read more if they're curious. For example, if you want to know more about blogging, feel free to email me at email@example.com, or visit a site like WordPress to see examples of blogs, how to set one up, and how to connect them to your website.
DON'T expect miracles: I've been doing blogs about two of my books and other topics for about two years. Though I now have more than 10,000 "clicks" (people who have read my columns), it was slow going. I'd have a few here and there at first, and in time, it grew to as many as 200-250 hits a week.
DON'T just advertise: People look at blogs as resources for information they need. If you only try to hard-sell people, they won't come back. That's not to say you can't inform people about what you do, but it should not be the only focus. This is a chance for you to share your expertise, and at the same time, establish yourself as a credible source for information. When someone needs what you have to offer, they're more likely to think of you, but don't expect the sales to come pouring in because you posted a couple of articles.
DO keep it professional, but not too professional: A blog is a relatively casual forum, and depending on the context, you can use varying degrees of casual language. Though blogs should never read like a business letter, you also should avoid slang, explicit language and typos. Read over your post, aloud if necessary, before you post it to make sure you're saying what you mean to say. Remember, them ore you respect your audience, the more likely they are to come back.
Still have questions about blogging? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
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