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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Blog About Blogs

Do you blog? Should you?

Many of you know that blogs are important marketing tools for businesses. An ebook by Hubspot, An Introduction to Business Blogging, stated that companies that blog have 55% more website visitors. Yet you may not have considered that writing a blog can have positive benefits for you as a businessperson, as well. It can add to your credibility, improve your writing skills, and provide a creative outlet for you.

At my suggestion, my son, a recent interior-design graduate, started a blogHow Do You Spell Home? His comments about space planning, use of accessories, and furniture choices should help to demonstrate to future employers what his interests are in this field, and how he implements his ideas.

In 2009, I joined the blogosphere. In 2010, I turned my blogs into my ninth book, GREET! EAT! TWEET! And next year, a revised and expanded version of the book will be published by McGraw-Hill. What a great outcome from blogging!

The following nine suggestions will help you start your own blog:

1. Just do it. If you are reading this, then presumably you are already interested in blogs. Go to blogger.com or wordpress.com to set up a free blog. Both those sites, and others, make it very easy to set up your own blog. Important point: If you work for a company, make sure you are familiar with its policy on blogging. If it has such a policy, be careful to follow its directives.

2. Determine your purpose. Concentrate on a specific area that will allow you to develop, or continue to develop, an area of expertise or interest. Ask yourself: Is there a particular part of your job that you want to explore? Are you a seasoned professional who could help others by sharing your knowledge? Will blogging about your profession cause prospective employers to view you as a serious candidate? Do you want to share your hobby experiences with others?

3. Attend to the logistics. Choose a blog name/design that will keep you focused on your area of interest. My colleague, Jacqueline Whitmore, created a unique title for her blog, A few “Whit-Bits” about my life and observations as an etiquette expert, and my son created a great graphic for his blog. (See below) Put your photo, a short bio, and contact information on your site. Include a link for people to sign up to receive your blog by email.


4. Have a schedule. If you set a time frame (once a week, twice a month, etc) for your blog, you are more apt to keep it. Companies may blog daily, but you need to establish a schedule that is realistic for you.

5. Keep it professional. Once the blog is posted on the web, you never know who will see it. That is both good and bad news. What you write can come back to haunt you. Do not use your blog to vent about your coworkers or bosses or anyone else. One teacher lost her job because she talked negatively about her students in her blog. If you are unsure whether you should blog about something, don’t!

6. Use a catchy title for each posting. Using “how to” or a number in the title can be very successful. (For example: 10 Suggestions for Accessories at Work) Also, if you include your industry keywords in the title, your blog is more likely to appear when people search those words. (For example: The Etiquette of Talking TO Your Phone)

7. Become a resource. Add links to other sites that support your comments. Photos or graphics will enhance the text. Commenting in an informed way on timely issues or concerns can help you become a thought leader in your industry. Tie your comments to current events. For example, my blog What Do 33 Miners and Your Shoes Have In Common? discussed why 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped underground were eager to polish their shoes before being reunited with their families, and tied that to the importance of good grooming in the workplace.

8. Write well. Writing a blog is a great way to improve your writing skills. Your comments should be clear and concise, and easy for others to read. Keep paragraphs short, but vary their length. Eliminate long, rambling sentences. Use bullets. Edit what you write before you post it, to make sure there are no spelling errors or typos.

9. Let people know about your blog. Post your blog to your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Include social-media sharing buttons. Share your blog with your groups on LinkedIn. Add your blog address to your personal email signature. Put your blog address on your resume and business card. Find other sites that will post your blog. For example, Blogher.com, the largest community of women who blog, has posted my blogs on its site.

These suggestions should help you get started. But to hone your skills, continue to read some of the many articles that have been written about successful blogging. Here’s a good place to start: The Seven Minute Blog Strategy Workbook

5 comments:

  1. Barbara, this is one of the best articles I have read about blogging. Congratulations.

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  2. Thank you. Your comment means a lot to me.

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  3. Barbara, you are too marvelous for words! I started my blog in January, and have downloaded your Workbook. Thank you!

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  4. How did you know I was thinking of starting a blog today? Thanks so much for the handy tips!

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