I have been blogging for about 18 months now and while I have enjoyed the writing, I’ve also had an unexpected bonus. I started blogging from my perspective of feminism vs. femininity in order to share my thoughts with other women business leaders and entrepreneurs – but soon learned that I really had to dig into my soul to make an impact. In doing this, I learned about myself and how to take those experiences and ask,”What does this teach me?” Needless to say, this had an enormous impact on how I am dealing with my recent diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. Blogging can be a wonderful experience and I thought I’d share these blogging tips from Jeff Hayden with you.
Jeff wrote the following list to help you avoid some typical business blog mistakes, and I think you’ll appreciate his tips along with his humor:
- Don’t write in the dead zone
Commenting on breaking news is smart since timely relevance attracts interest. But there’s a definite timeliness window; fall outside it and you always lose. Either immediately post your thoughts on breaking news or wait months or years to let time and hindsight provide the spark for re-imagining the topic.
- Don’t play the catchy headline game
Headlines need to spark interest, but misleading or over-selling is the blog kiss of death. Never write a post based solely on a catchy headline, and never tack on a click-generating headline unless those are the last clicks you actually want to generate. Be clear, straightforward, and whenever possible, include the benefit to the reader.
- Don’t write because it’s on your calendar
Lots of experts say publishing on a schedule is necessary to establish predictability and build an audience. They’re probably right, but schedule or not, writing a throwaway post just to maintain a schedule is a waste of your reader’s time—and your time.
- Don’t try to be Bill Simmons
ESPN’s Bill Simmons’s Sports Guy columns are a cool blend of sports, movies, TV, and pop culture, written without pretense of neutrality. He’s arguably the most popular sports columnist in America—and one of the most imitated. If you’re struggling to find your style, just write like you speak. You may not build a huge audience … but you will build a long-term audience.
- Avoid writing “I Think” posts
Qualifying words make sense if you’re a lawyer or working in compliance for a financial services firm and need to make sure you don’t make promises you have to keep. Otherwise, be bold and direct. Take a stand. Don’t share rambling, unfocused thoughts; provide solutions.
- Don’t preach to your choir
Readers want to learn new things and take new perspectives. While you should never be contrary just for the sake of contrariness, write and respond thoughtfully and your readers will too, and they’ll gain respect for your opinions even when—sometimes especially when—they don’t agree.
I have certainly learned a lot during my blogging career so far. And I have appreciated to advice from industry experts like Jeff. If you’d like more tips on blogging, here are a few of my favorites, “10 Questions Women Business Leaders Should Ask Before Starting to Blog,” and “Women Business Leaders: 3 Tactics for a Better Business Blog.”