Probably the most asked question during business blogging training courses is about what to write once the blog is up and running. If you’re generally stuck for words when meeting someone for coffee then you might have a fair point that you have nothing to say but otherwise there’s an infinite amount of material from people. We’re all able to write blog posts. It just takes time. Eventually you’ll get to the moment where you’ll find yourself thinking “I’m blogging this”. Some suggestions:
Tell your story
When Pat Phelan started out with his blog many moons ago he blogged about how he got to where he was. It was great. It was like a mini-series and was done in a great personal way so it was like VH1’s behind the music. People these days expect some personal in a business. They want to connect with people. Blogging “The Story of Us” is a way you could start your blog out and line up the protagonists. There’s loads of backstory in every business and in every blog. Share it.
It’s your blog, it’s your opinion. Consider yourself one of those commentators on the radio or TV. Journalists interviewing journalists about events. If something is news and is relevant to your business segment, do an opinon piece on it. This shows you know what you’re talking about and oftentimes you can present a different view or take on it.
How many times do we see official Government reports come out and not have an iota about what it means? Why not use your expertise and ability to convert the GovSpeak or CorpSpeak into plainer english? It’d certainly be a public service.
Photo owned by studentofrhythm (cc)
What’s your business segment, what’s your blogging niche? Why not do a round-up of what blogs in your niche are discussing at the moment? Electric News to a daily “What’s in the papers?” and it’s hugely popular. Why not be the source of the round-ups and be the jumping off point for your niche area?
Isn’t this a guide? Why not use your expertise to write about something which helps others out? Write a guide on how to file taxes online or how to find good developers or how to sort your accounts quickly. Are you a Wine seller? Do a bluffers guide to wine. Guides can become quite long depending on the subject matter so they can always be split into two or three or five parts. There’s five blog posts right there.
Elaborating on comments
Years back my first blog posts were as a result of comments I left on other blog posts or on discussion forums and where I’d go off on a tangent and they were off-topic on the blog post or on the discussion forum. Sometimes a small comment on another blog can turn into a much larger piece of writing on your blog. Go with it.
- Some see lists as downright lazy and all about linkbaiting.
- They convey a lot of information in a short space.
- They’re very easy to write.
- Example: Top 9 ways to save bank charges.
- Odd numbered lists are nicer.
Pepper those posts!
Don’t forget to write easy to digest blog posts and to pepper them or break up text with images. Use tools like Jazzbiscuit’s Image Search to add royalty-free images to your posts.
Solicit for help
Like I’m doing now. Use a blog post to “crowdsource” products and information. Use those that read the blog to be your researchers for you. Ask them to add tips and suggestions to ones you already made. So please add more suggestions on what people can write in their blog posts and techniques to get them to be inspired.
Don’t write about
At MulleyWorld we’ll make sure that all your needs are catered for. Our well-trained staff. Blah de blah. No brochure crap please. No advertorials about how you guys rock. Stop. Remember it’s a conversation and it is meant to engage with people. Will what you write get questions and comments? Do not copy and paste press releases into a blog post. People will never come back with that kind of fodder on the blog. If you’re a business, stick to mostly posts about business with the odd personal flirtation with a hobbyhorse. If you are the only person in the company blogging or you’re the head honcho there’s more leeway for that as you in a way are also a personality. Businesses posting YouTube videos too frequently won’t get the critical mass of people from their niche area hanging around. If you as a business go down the popculture route you might as well blog about Britney and Camel Toes.
Anyone got other suggestions? A previous post on procrastination might be useful too.
I’d put it forward for Blog Post of the Month over at http://www.awards.ie but it would be refused. Besides if you wont I’d be screaming FIX.
Competitions, events in your field, reviews? A bit of humour never hurts. Bubble Bros is a great example.
Great blog post built from a lot of experience, I’d imagine. Can I shine a light on the final paragraph of this post and stress its importance? This is where a lot of business blogs go wrong.
The best business blogs are those that demonstrate an authority in an area, but with a distinguishable voice behind it. Like your example of Pat. He straddles a number of different styles that make his blog very entertaining, educational and newsworthy. Pat shares experiences, suggests cost-effective solutions for consumers, tracks new advances in his business sector and congratulates people in the industry (even his competitors). That’s a heady mix. But at the end of the day, its still Pat. I can almost hear his voice. That’s a strong recommendation.
For someone who doesn’t know Pat from Adam, it gives them a sense of his business style and interests. Were I in the telecoms business and looking at Pat’s business to do synergies, his blog would be a powerful magnet. To me, it brands his business, but more importantly it gives me a strong impression of the man behind the desk. If anyone wants to succeed in business blogging, I think that having a strong but honest blog voice speaks volumes. It generates business and opens a lot of doors.
Oh and even-numbered lists work too. 🙂
I recently started a blog to document my progress as I develop a couple of software programmes in a ‘Tell your story’ kind of way.
I find myself wondering what I can add to the blog at times because I’ve been lucky enough to meet some very good people in the past few weeks and it would feel like im only name dropping if I was to mention these sorts in the blog.
Having said that, I would love to mention some of the people I’ve met recently because as a direct result of blogging and tools like Twitter I came to meet these people and no doubt if I do get anywhere with these products it will be largely in part to these peoples advise or expertise.
Great post, Damien. And very timely for me, having been so caught up in deadlines for other things to have been seriously slack in the blogging department this past week or so.
My suggestion is under the heading of Reciprocate. Thus for example, Damien Mulley links to a post of Des Walsh, who then in scanning his feed reader for what’s interesting to riff on for a post sees the heading Irish Blogs, then Damien Mulley, then this post. Aha! Hits the spot. I’ll write about that – and link of course to DM, so as well as having a timeless topic to which I can add some personal thoughts I’m able at the same time to do the right thing by DM in the recripocity department.
Virtuous circle stuff.
[…] What did help was to notice a post by Irish blogger and social media wiz Damien Mulley on the made-to-order-for-me-today topic, Words don’t come easy – What to blog about? […]
[…] using a feedreader or email. Thanks for visiting – Damien.A kind of followup to this post about what to write and this post about WordPress installs. Even with guides on what to write, some companies still […]
I’d be really interested to hear your views on what NOT to blog about.
Is it uncool to use trackbacks as posts in themselves? How personal is personal? Are there mistakes or blunders bloggers often make?
I think a fear of messing up holds a lot of people back from realising their full potential. Certainly does me. However I find these recent guides for bloggers really helpful, More please!