Five Tips For Better Business Blogging (and Why You Should Care…)

Written on 05 March, 2008 by Jonathan Crossfield
Categories MarketingSocial Media

Why has Netregistry got a blog?

A strong blog takes effort, planning and focus, but the outcome can be very rewarding. Corporate blogging has become popular in recent years. In the US, businesses are taking up blogging at an incredible rate. 87% of enterprise business respondents to a recent survey indicated they use blogging as part of their online marketing strategy.

The Benefits of Corporate Blogging

Blogging has become a favourite pastime of the search engine optimisation community. With the ability to have posts syndicated across the internet quickly and effectively, blogs can draw a lot of attention, links and traffic to your website. Each blog post creates fresh content for your site – another search engine goody – as well as creating more reasons for other websites to talk about and link to you.

For the reader, blogs have become a popular source of online information, opinion and comment. Many people regularly subscribe to a large number of blogs to stay in touch with their chosen field. A blog allows customers to converse with the business in a less formal environment, providing feedback and comments. Blogs break down the wall between the business and the customer, creating a stronger relationship and greater responsiveness.

But a bad blog can be as damaging as a good blog can be effective.

Five Tips to Succeed With Blogging

Many blogs never achieve online fame (or infamy) because, to be frank, they suck. There are many ways a blog can fail. If you are planning to enhance your own online business with a corporate blog, consider the following tips to design a better bogging strategy.

1. Plan Ahead and Post Regularly

Blogs die quickly without nurturing. They are like ravenous beasts, screaming for fresh content to keep them alive and active, especially in the first few months. If you don’t provide fresh posts to your blog on a very regular basis, interest in the blog will wane and your target audience will drift away.

The Planet Domain blog will be updated every Wednesday afternoon as a minimum. Planning this in advance allowed us to schedule the time and resources to make sure this can happen.

2. Be Original and Fresh

Often, I come across an online marketing blog that offers obvious tips, tired and unremarkable comments and old news. If a blog wants to entice a reader to subscribe, it has to offer something that can’t be found elsewhere.

The key is to know your target audience and the information they crave. Present opinion, offer original suggestions or provide alternative or quirky viewpoints to current industry trends.

Some blogs address this problem by finding an original style, such as humour or satire, to cast a different viewpoint on otherwise established news. Others attempt to remain original by posting quickly after relevant news events or industry developments with insightful comment. Being the first to provide a view on industry news can quickly give your blog the reputation of being a thought leader.

3. Personality Counts

Confine the legal speak and marketing talk to the rest of your website and use the blog to show off personality. One of the prime reasons why blogs have exploded as an online phenomenon is that they allow faceless entities to appear human again. Blog posts haven’t been through the filters of legal departments and five tiers of management approval before being served up in a homogenised and bland form, and even if they do, they shouldn’t read like it.

Blog posts should read like a conversation between you and the reader. Casual language is good. Humour is fantastic. The best and most effective copy is that which gets the reader to the last line.

4. Social Media Means “Social”

If your blog doesn’t have comments activated, it isn’t a blog – it’s a webpage. Invite comments. Encourage people to leave responses, both good and bad, and don’t be offended or feel the urge to argue with the bad press.

Also, no blog should operate as an island. Any blogger should interact with other blogs, leaving comments, reading and subscribing. Blogging is a community activity and you can’t hope to receive without giving first.

Most blogs gain traction through participating in social applications like DiggFacebook or Del.icio.us. These can be a huge source of traffic and if the content is strong enough, a lot of this traffic will subscribe and keep returning.

Some industries also have very specific social networks. For example, the online marketing field has a very good community at Sphinn and anyone interested in marketing their website or blogging should become a member.

5. Write Well, or Find Someone Who Can

You may be thinking that tips one to four are all about good writing, but they aren’t. You can be original, witty, organised and social and still turn readers off with poor writing.

Bad grammar, poor spelling, overlong sentence structures and vague statements can make an otherwise clever post irritating to the reader. Strong writing is a skill that is developed over time. If you are not confident in your abilities to write concise, clear copy, it is best to find someone who can, rather than risk blog failure.

Vibrant copywriting is about simple words without complex structure. George Orwell said it best when he constructed his five laws of clear writing.

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Before submitting each post, it is worth reading a couple of times and removing absolutely anything that isn’t essential to the point. The shorter and clearer each post is, the more digestible it becomes to an internet readership.

Time to Blog

Blogging is not a quick activity. Many blogs don’t gain traction for months as they slowly build a stockpile of archived posts. By staying committed for the long term and devoting time every week, blogging can become a fun outlet that can eventually reap huge benefits.