I'm teaching blogging to small business owners more and more, and right now I'm the guest blogger for Sony's presence at the Just For Laughs Festival playing at the Opera House.
This is my second guest blogging assignment and I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time in the blogosphere.
Why am I telling you this? To let you know I've earned some pro blogging credentials.And, as it's often said an expert is someone who's found many ways to fail until they succeed, here are some lessons I've learnt - and continue to learn - on the way to winning good business and financially rewarding projects. I hope they help.
- Blogging is good for business. You display your expertise, your thought leadership, your process, and your style.
- You let your market get to know you and create valuable connections. In other words, they're great for sales.
- You educate your market. And education used well is also a powerful selling tool.
How Not To Blog
Bore people. Give your blog some personality. Be disciplined about informing and helping your market, but have some fun with it. Enthusiatically display your interestingness. And no, I didn't know that word existed either.
Be Too Personal. While it's great to let people get to know you, a business blog is not a personal diary. Use personal experience as a springboard to deepen and strengthen lessons.
Don't spend any time on the title. I've had three titles for this blog, and the reason I discarded the first two is that one was all about me and my current project, the second was uninteresting and the third came to me three days later after being entertained by some outstanding comedians. The title of this blog is also aimed at Gen X and Baby Boomers, who make up the bulk of the blog's readers, many who know the film 'Sex, Lies and Videotape.' Videotape's dated you might say? Great. I've got a reaction. We've made a connection.
If I were writing for Gen Y I'd borrow from Lady Ga Ga and tell them to 'Blog this Way.' A good title is a great hook. Back that title up with solid content and give your audience a payoff.
Play by other people's rules. Someone said about my first ever blog post, 'It has to be shorter.' No it doesn't. It has to be good. It also needs to be relevant, timely, helpful, entertaining, smart, and on brand.
Don't read other blogs. One of my first writing teachers, a brilliant playwright name Timothy Daly, said the most commn mistake most writers make is not reading enough. Follow bloggers who interest you and check out what they do.
Make a schedule and stick to it. And if for some reason you lapse, get back in the swing and keep blogging. Chances are people are searching your name online more and more now, whether it's to headhunt you or do business with you (I got this latest assignment based on the fact that the client liked my online presence as well as my offline performance).
Mix your media. Mix in a podcast, video or even a competition (this one's going gangbusters).
Keep yourself nice. Don't dis others and be honest about your achievements. This platform is a personal PR tool. Be mindful of how you'll be perceived by venting or falsely self promoting here.
If you're already blogging, great. If, like some of my clients, you're scared by the blogosphere, don't be. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can and get a list that tells a story and helps your market get to know you, and want to know more about you.
Now let them know it, and let them get to know you.