This blog was started with the goal of increasing awareness of CAI-U, provide help and a sounding board for our students, and to give tips and tricks outside of our main courses. It’s social in nature (not being rigidly controlled or censored), but it is still a business blog.
Blogs by nature are egotistical
People have plenty to say about themselves, and that’s fine. Blogs should be written by people who are excited about what they are writing, you can always tell when someone is forced. But nobody likes to read a dozen posts by someone who thinks they know everything. Let your blog have room for other voices and opinions. Discussions are always better than lecture.
No one is an island
I’ve noticed the majority of business blog authors do not interact with any other blogs (even within the same company). This is very strange to me coming from a social blogging background. The idea of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ comes into my mind. No blog can be successful if the authors of that blog don’t interact and comment on other blogs.
Think of it this way: what kind of relationship would you have if you never interacted with anyone at work in a social manner? would you be very popular, or be able to call in any favors? Blogs are the same way – you need to be involved in order to be seen and appreciated.
It’s ok to not know, not like, or not care
I like reading blogs that give me a sense of the writer and how they really feel about a program, tool, or person. It’s so easy to sniff out someone who is praising the benefits of an item because they work for the company. Writing about your concerns is a great way to prove you aren’t a robot. Just keep it respectful and reserved if you’re frightened of backlash. Or you can avoid sounding like a parrot by following the advice our mother’s gave: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
As an example, check out Robert Scoble’s blog. He started a blog while working for Microsoft and wasn’t always star shine and rainbows in his review of products or process. The backlash: he became famous for his critiques and increased interest in Microsoft and himself.
Write more than once a week
Ok, most people don’t particularly like writing. I get it. But blogging demands attention and constant content. You can’t expect a blog post every month to keep readership or interest up. Who would read the New York Times if it came out every three weeks?
My advice is this: create an editor’s calendar for yourself. Write down article types (book review, question and answer, new product day) on the calendar so you start getting used to thinking about that topic before you need to write it. This way, your mind is already coming up with paragraphs and layouts without you panicking over a keyboard. It saves loads of time, too.
If you get really stuck and don’t have anything to post, post someone else’s material. No, don’t steal. Writing a quick “hey, I found this blog post and thought it was interesting” intro with a link underneath is perfectly acceptable. It breaks up your posts and makes it more interesting for your readership. Furthermore, if you can link to a YouTube video you liked or other multimedia, go for it. Everyone likes a visual break from text.
Links are awesome. Instead of writing a huge section of text and taking up boatloads of time (I am exaggerating), you can just link out to another site to do the talking for you. You do run the risk of losing that reader to another site, but it’s a risk I’ve found worth while.
For example, I could try to explain to you what String theory is, or I could just do this: String Theory. So much easier, right?
Also, on a side note, I couldn’t possibly explain String theory to you.
Links are also a nice way to show respect and appreciation to fellow bloggers. When a blogger links a post you wrote or your blog, they are creating a relationship with you (hopefully a positive one). Using links ads dimension to your blog, shows you have proof to back up what you’re saying (and researched it), and that you are willing to interact with the world at large.
What tips do you have for business blogging? I’m new to this and would appreciate any insight.