The second-most oft-asked question we get from clients, after “Should I have a blog?” is, “How do I know what to blog about?” (You do.) Or, sometimes it’s “Why would anyone care what I have to say?” (They do.)
While there is no commonly accepted standard or code of conduct with respect to blogging, I offer my two cents worth of advice here:
1. Write what you know. You give advice all day…to clients, to colleagues, to associates. Put some of those pearls of wisdom into a blog, making observations about what you, as the boots on the ground, see happening in your industry. What may seem like a basic or banal subject to you (hey! like this one!) might just be of great interest to your key audiences.
2. Be interesting. No one wants to be bored. Few people want to read these days. Virtually NO ONE wants to be bored while reading. Find a way to keep it interesting. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re passionate, be passionate. If you’re controversial, be controversial. But…
3.) Stay on brand. If your company is sophisticated, make sure your content is sophisticated. If you’re brand is silly, it’s okay to be silly. Be mindful of the image you’re trying elsewhere to project in your brand, and let that shine through in your writing.
4.) Make a list. (Hey! Like this one!) Provide information in digestible bits that your readers can nibble on. Brevity is the soul of wit, and makes an otherwise lengthy post seem and be consumable.
5.) Add value. Sure, you’re afraid that if you give away free advice, no one will want to pay for it. But you can provide the milk for free and still get customers who will want to buy the cow for its beef. If you’re so guarded about the information you share, no one will care…and no one will read.
6.) Be informative. No one follows your industry like you do…at least not your existing and potential clients. They rely on you to be the conduit to the issues that matter most to them. Give them news and information that they can truly use, which goes back to adding value.
7.) Be brief. Your blog posts don’t need to be Shakespeare. It’s okay to be brief and to the point. Your readers will thank you for it.
8.) DON’T be brief. (Like I said, there are no rules.) Sometimes, the subject matter calls for the deep-dive. That’s okay now and again. Just remember that you need to be interesting, add value and/or be informative in order to keep readers’ interest.
9.) Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It’s okay to revisit topics from time to time. Blog posts, by their nature, are fleeting, and are soon painted over by the next blog post and topic. Be realistic and accept the fact that not everyone you’re targeting will be reading each and every post you author. Coming back to subject matter will offer new information to some readers, and will reinforce your key messages for others.
10.) Always end the list with #10. Well, you don’t have to, but I did. Ending at nine is DEFINITELY against the rules. BEWARE!
That should get you started. If I think of more, I’ll be sure to revisit the topic. ;-/
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You’d be surprised who’s listening, or willing to listen. Over time, you will build a readership base that, with any luck, will be loyal to your brand and perhaps even be evangelists for your blog and message. Then your blog serves as one more outpost that is leading traffic back to your website…and to you.