Your blogging is stale. It seems like a chore. You’re not really adding value to anyone. Your blog is not taking off. You question why you, your corporation, your small business or your non-profit has a blog in the first place! Just like a good marriage, every now and again it’s time to think back to why you’re blogging and to Renew Your Blogging Vows.
Here are my Blogging Vows. What are yours? Leave them in the comments…
16 Blogging Vows
Vow 1) I will remind myself as to how my blog can add value to my business. If written well, blog posts can improve your perceived authority, add SEO value, get shared broadly via Social Media, give you a chance to show your lighter side and let potential customers get familiar with you and learn to trust you. If you do a poor job of blogging, the opposite can be true. Jay Baer was recently quoted as calling a good blog post an “information annuity”.
Vow 2) I will strive to be different, to avoid copying the other blogs in my industry and I won’t be afraid to stand out. Exceptional gets noticed, average doesn’t. For inspiration, check out these 26 Business Blog Post Ideas.
Vow 3) I will keep my targets in mind – potential customers and industry influencers/content-spreaders. When I write, I will work to make sure they content gets in front of influencers so they can pass it along. Make the content valuable for your potential customers – what questions do they have? What resources do they need? Is there a checklist, how-to video, simple tool or buyer’s guide that they need?
Vow 4) I will learn Search Engine Optimization basics for blog posts so I don’t waste the opportunity to improve my search rankings for keywords my industry or potential customers care about. For SEO tools such as keyword research tools, take a look at our sister blog (DirectionSEO.com).
Vow 5) I will make sure my blog is set up on my own Web site, not a separate site or a site hosted by a blog company. You want to SEO value to accrue to your domain. Having your blog on a free blog hosting platform minimizes a lot of the SEO value of your blog and also can look bad from a branding perspective.
Vow 6) I will decide a theme, “voice” and posting strategy for my blog, but will allow it to evolve over time as needed. It’s better to have a plan that changes than not to have a plan at all.
Vow 7) I will use different media (text, pictures, video, audio) where possible in the posts. At a minimum a picture per post (and it doesn’t have to be from a stock photo site but you can start there).
Vow 8) I will post to the blog consistently and won’t give up. From a selfish perspective the world doesn’t need any more average or below average blog posts. But from a coaching perspective, blog writing is an important skill that most people should be developing today. Blog writing is also closely related to Social Media posting – and having a good Social Media IQ is also important these days.
Vow 9) I will enable easy sharing via Social Media directly on my blog posts. Many blogs (corporate, small biz, nonprofit, personal) make the cardinal sin of not encouraging sharing by enabling it with share buttons. The share buttons on the right and bottom of this post easily allow anyone to share this and other posts on various Social Media sites directly as they’re reading the post. The tracking of the number of shares can also further encourage people to join in the “share-fest” on particularly popular posts.
Vow 10) I will measure my blog statistics using analytics. If you’re not measuring your blog and Website traffic you’re flying blind. For free options, try Google Analytics or Piwik (an Open Source alternative). There are plenty of paid options as well, especially for larger corporations.
Vow 11) I will proactively promote my blog content via my Social Media channels, email lists and word of mouth. Different than having the sharing buttons on your posts, you need to post your great content excerpts on Social Media Sites (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook), Social Bookmarking/News Sites (Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon) and send them appropriately to your email subscribers. You can also put a link to your blog or a great post in your email footer and reference your blog posts to potential customers who might find the information valuable. Another key option is to send in your posts to respected industry news sites, association, industry journals or popular industry blogs that may share it with their readers.
Vow 12) I will take the extra time to format and correct the content. Don’t give a negative impression with poor grammar, pointless posts, half-sentences or poor formatting.
Vow 13) (Contradiction Alert!): I won’t get caught up in analysis paralysis, fear of failure or an endless refinement loop and be afraid to push publish. Push publish already! (see this post here about the “Princess Syndrome”).
Vow 14) I will link out to other blogs in my posts and engage with other bloggers. Sharing “link love” can come back to you when they share your post with their audience or link back to it. Posting comments in another blog can also bring traffic to your blog.
Vow 15) I will link within the post to other relevant posts or pages on my Website (such as this interesting Seth Godin post) to keep the reader on the site.
Vow 16) I will be conscious of timing for publishing posts. Don’t publish on a Friday when a lot of people take a break from their computers. I like to publish on Monday or Tuesday before noon so the post has time to percolate through the various Social Media sites throughout the day and rest of the week.
You may want to take the time to renew your Blogging Vows. What Blogging Vows do you suggest? Leave them in the comments below.
Learn more about how to make your small business blog work for you by watching this free webinar: Better Business Blogging