Let’s say you’ve decided to jump into the blogging world, on behalf of your business. Maybe you’ve even signed up for WordPress, Blogger or another platform already. What do you really need to know?
Here are four tips for getting off on the right foot with your business blog.
- Have a plan. Plan what you’re going to say in advance. You don’t have to write your posts days ahead of time and re-edit them over and over — that’s not worth the effort and will probably require more time than you have to spend. (Certainly, do use spell-check on every post, and if you tend toward careless mistakes, have someone lined up to be your proofreader.) But you should spend a few minutes at the beginning of each week brainstorming about topics. Then, you’ll be ready for the rest of the week. If you don’t have something more newsworthy to say each day, choose one of your pre-planned topics, bang it out and move on with your day.
- Schedule time for blogging. If you don’t set aside time in your schedule every day (or every other day, depending on how often you plan to blog), it will be too easy to let blogging fall by the wayside when you get busy. Related: When you have extra time, write a couple of evergreen posts you can use on a really busy day. After you use one, be sure to replace it in your files with a new evergreen post…because you’ll be busy again soon.
- Don’t be vanilla. There’s almost nothing worse than a boring blog. Show your customers a peek under the hood — how things work at your place. There’s no need to expose more than you’re comfortable saying in public, but tell the stories that make your organization so interesting, and so worthy of your customers’ devotion. (Check out the Zappos blog for an example of a company sharing behind-the-scenes insight, along with great info for customers on products and sales.)
- Keep your mouth shut — sometimes. Each organization will have a different threshold for how much is too much. Know where your line is before you (and especially before a member of your staff) starts blogging. Will you blog about personnel changes? Bad news? Only good news? Employee gatherings? Training? New products? New clients? The more focused you make your blog before you start, the easier it will be later to make decisions about tough topics. There are few right answers about what to say and what not to say — except in areas where you’re subject to legal liability or government regulation. (Some tips on thinking through legal issues at SmartBlog.) Just keep in mind, your blog is a very, very publicly accessible marketing tool. That doesn’t mean you can only speak in happy talk. It does mean you should think through what you’re saying, and understand the consequences.