To blog or not to blog...?

This is a blog about blogging.

A blog is essentially an online diary; a journal of thoughts and opinions. Sometimes people blog on their own behalf (and the really good ones make quite a tidy income from it), others blog on behalf of a business. Whatever the reason for a blog, one thing is certain – blogs are with us for the long haul.

Here’s why …

Personally, I prefer to read a blog over an article. If I’m researching a topic or looking for information, I often find that blogs produce better quality information. Most likely this is because the blogger has chosen to write about a topic they have a strong understanding of, which makes the knowledge they impart more reliable. That’s not to say that all blogs should be taken as gospel, but experience has shown me that blogs can be great fodder for quality intel.

Most blogs are written in a conversational tone, often involve wit and overall I find them an easier and more entertaining read. People like to read things that are written the way we speak. And when you read something you enjoy, you’re far more likely to take on board what is being said.

So back to the topic of this blog; whether or not you should blog.

The short answer is yes. We all have something to say and from a business perspective, you’re in business because you’re good at something.  Being good at something means you’ll have experience, knowledge and learnings you could impart to others.

Blogs are a great way to add value. Through your blog, you have the ability to demonstrate your capability by sharing knowledge in a passive and controlled manner. Your audience seeks you out instead of having messages pushed to them, therefore your messages are read with intent and more readily absorbed.

The marketing landscape has vastly changed over the last decade. Customers don’t like to be hit with one dimensional advertising messages. And the expectation is that the relationship now goes two ways; they expect to receive from you, as you do from them. A blog is a great vehicle for ‘giving’ back to your audience, providing knowledge and information at no cost, on their terms. It’s win win.

And if that wasn’t argument enough, I read some stats recently that said business that regularly post content to their blogs receive 55% more web traffic than those that don’t.

But before you jump to your computer and starting laying down some words, here are some business blogging guidelines.  

Write what you would want to read.

Your content should be interesting, well written and easy to digest. Think about what you would like to read, and write to that style.

Commit.

If you’re going to set up a blog, then you absolutely must commit to populating it with regular content. You can have a variety of different contributors so that it doesn’t always fall to the same person, and in fact I encourage this as it keeps things interesting and dynamic. If you have some down time, get some blogs written and in the bank so that during busy times, you can just pop one up.

Interact with your audience.

You should look at your blog as more of a forum and less of a message board. Ask questions, encourage your audience to post comments to your blog post. Dialogue is healthy, and it shows people are interacting with your brand.

Do not hard sell.

There are channels for salesy speak. A blog is not one of these. Blogs are tools to elevate your brand (personal or business), which in the end, results in sales. Pushing products or services shamelessly on your blog will not inspire people to keep reading.   

Include imagery.

It doesn’t all have to be words on a page. Include images, videos, drawings. Break it up.

Don’t waffle.

Short is sweet. You don’t have to write war and peace to get your point across. If it’s turning into something bigger than Ben Hur, then perhaps it may be better as a two or three part blog.

And on that note, I shall take my own advice and call this blog a day. Hopefully at the end, you’ve left the reader satisfied, but wanting more…!