Dear Aunty 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.)
We have an inhouse bet when a new blogger starts at SmartCompany, because bloggers always fall into three categories. Will they be a “one-hit wonder?”, “a five weeker” or a veteran?
Often, high profile entrepreneurs are one-hit wonders. They start with enormous enthusiasm, say everything they have to say in one blog and are distracted by the time the next one is due.
Then there are the five weekers. After five excellent blogs over five weeks, they wander off their topic, repeat themselves or waffle about nothing. They usually have to be moved on. (Sacked.)
Then there are our veterans like Sue Barrett, Lou Coutts, Marcia Griffin, Naomi Simson, Brendan Lewis, Colin Benjamin – the list goes on. Every week, they drill down into their topic and produce an original, fresh perspective that is laden with tips or stretches the mind.
So how do they do that? And why did we chose them?
- First, they are experts in their area so they have real knowledge to impart. Take Sue Barrett. She runs her own sales consultancy, so day in, day out she gives advice on how to sell and how not to sell. She provides examples of what works and what doesn’t and her loyal readers basically do an in-depth sales course every time they read her. Our bloggist Tom McKaskill is a global expert in buying and selling businesses, so each blog he does for SmartCompany is unique.
- Our bloggists are not afraid to express an opinion. This can mean revealing things about yourself to the public and being happy to engage in a two way conversation. Last year founder of RedBalloon Days Naomi Simson discussed her personal challenge of transforming her company into a medium sized business – was she the one to run it? Our readers responded in droves, giving her great advice. Expressing an opinion also means copping criticism on the chin. Our bloggist Marcia Griffin wrote a blog last year on why she finds it harder to respect people who are very overweight without a medical reason! She is a true professional, able to accept criticism in her stride.
- Good bloggists know that building an audience means commitment, consistency and frequency. Some people recommend blogging twice a week, and maybe just a couple of sentences. At SmartCompany we know our readers like more depth of information and encourage people to write once a week, usually 300 or so words.
- Good bloggists are clear about why they are blogging. They don’t expect to be instant worldwide hits and are committed to the long haul. However they are delighted when they receive feedback, get asked to talk at conferences, take board positions or snare book contracts because they have built their profile on SmartCompany.
- Good bloggists are easy to read, even if their material is deep, rich and informative. Some, like the Banker of Last Retort, are natural writers. Others have a strong distinctive voice like Tim Harcourt. Then others, like Kirsty Dunphy, have a nice, informal style that is highly appealing.
GS, I have to go. But tomorrow I will address the next part of your question – why blog and how to start?
Your Aunty B