Dont’ Be the Bore at the Blog Party

In the last post, I mentioned that 95 percent of blogs have been abandoned, or at least untouched for three months or more. But what about those blogs that remain active? Are the authors getting the most from their online exposure?

I have been reading Paul Gillin’s book, The Secrets of Social Media Marketing, and visited his blog to see what he had to say. Paul offers some insights into the basics of successful blogging in three separate blog posts. I want to share his list of “blogging blunders” here:

1. Handing blogging off to PR. This is a tricky problem for me. I have written before about the challenge of online authenticity and the fact that PR and marketing professionals are better at messaging than conversation. Paul’s point that PR professionals tend to use the blog as another channel for news release is not inaccurate. However, I find that getting the real experts to contribute to the conversation can be equally challenging. Executives understand the value of social media, but don’t want to take the time to engage. Hence, PR moves from advisor to ghostwriter, which is where things can go wrong if you let them.

2. It’s all about me. If you are writing a humor blog or online diary that’s one thing. But for corporate bloggers, the key is to converse, not pontificate. It’s just like talking to a bore at a cocktail party; it it’s all about me, you tend not to talk with that individual.

3. A look that is boring. Well, we all can’t be design mavens, but I think the point really is that by investing in the look of your blog, you are showing you are invested in the blog itself.

4. Failure to link. Paul calls links “online currency,” which is an accurate statement. The power of the web is in the threads you can create to promote discussion. Linking not only acknowledges your sources and helps promote traffic for their blogs and web sites, it promotes threaded conversation, which is what the web is all about.

5. Treating your blog as a wire service. No brainer. That’s what web sites and wire services are for.

6. Being irrelevant. By their nature, blogs are dynamic, which means they should reflect events of the day and new ideas.

7. Turning off comments. Is it true that 20 percent of business blogs turn off comments? Why would you? That just shuts down the conversation. Beside, you are always in control of comments, and the feedback should be valuable.

8. Nothing more to say. If you are going to blog, you have to make sure your online commentary has depth. I thought long and hard about the structure of the PRagmatist before I launched it. You want to make sure there is enough in the discussion to be engaging, interesting, and to promote your personal brand without running out of steam. I maintain an electronic clip file of potential topics I encounter on the web so I am never short of topics.

9. Too busy to blog. I have had a couple of colleagues say, “when do you find the time?” Short entries don’t take long to create. Blogging is not like writing War and Peace.

10. Nobody came. As I have noted in a previous post, patience is required, as well as self-promotion. Put blog entries out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other outlets, otherwise you are just talking to yourself.

If you are going to blog for profit and to build brand awareness, you have to understand how to make the most of the medium. It’s always about conversation and engaging with others, not just self-promotion. Too many marketeers lose sight of that when they turn to the web to carry their message.

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