I want to start a blog. How do I begin?

Dear Auntie B,


I run a small marketing company and would like to start writing a blog to help build brand awareness and to establish me as an expert.


But how do I start? What are the traps? (And how do I get to be one of your bloggists? I am interested in auditioning.)


Byron Bay


OK G, yesterday I explained how you can be a bloggist on SmartCompany. Today let’s get you started and look at the traps.


First, there are very good reasons to be a bloggist. Yes, it builds awareness and establishes you as an expert. The other advantage is you establish a human connection and a two way conversation with customers and suppliers, update employees and pass on the latest news about your company.


It also helps your ranking on Google. Google prefers sites that are updated frequently and linked to other sites. This means that blogs can have a great impact on ranking results. It also helps to use key words in blogs that are used by your customers when they are using search engines.


Here are some do’s and don’ts to start a successful blog:


  1. 1. Buy the software. It is easy to set up a blog; many applications are now free.
  2. Do not be a PR machine. There is nothing worse that reading sales pitches in a blog. Remember there are 100 million blogs in cyberspace. Push your products and you can guarantee yours will be among the millions of blogs never read.
  3. Find your voice. It should be a distinctive voice. The voice should be that of a friend. Respectful, friendly and informal. Find someone in publishing to give you feedback and advice about writing. Very few people can produce a high quality blog first off.
  4. Drill down. The best corporate blogs start with a statement and then explore it – a bit like a university essay. People in business want useful information, not vapid opinions. The worst blogs waffle and cover a wide territory. Business people are time poor and also want to hear from experts and professionals. They want to add to their knowledge, receive tips, be motivated or, on a bad day, entertained.
  5. Link to other influential people writing in your area or industry. Refer to their blogs, agree or disagree with their assertions. This way you can lead a conversation and be seen as the expert.
  6. Concentrate on developing your writing skills. The best blogs are well written. If you can’t write, forget it. No one will wade through badly written prose.
  7. Be careful about how much information you are giving away. Candid revelations might get you a lot of attention but many competitors can get a lot of information from your site, particularly blogs.
  8. Be prepared for the commitment. You have to update blogs regularly – at least once a week. Business people are more likely to be annoyed by clicking on a blog with just several sentences, so make sure there is enough meat in it to justify a visit.
  9. Say something different. Decide to add to the sum of human knowledge and not repeat it! Always respect your reader.


OK, GS. That’s it.


Your Aunty B.


Jacob Aldridge from Shirlaws Coaching writes: Dearest Aunty, I cannot fault the content of your advice, and would love to remind GS at Byron and your many intelligent readers to get clear on the strategic purpose of their blog before they begin. The four questions I coach my clients to get agreement on are the tone of the blog, the frequency, who will write posts (may be multiple), and most importantly, why do you have a website and blog at all? Unsurprisingly, I discussed this last question at length on the Shirlaws blog.


Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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