It’s taken me a while to come to the realization, but it’s true. Someone asked me the other day, “Are you a blogger?” I shocked myself by replying ‘yes.’ Not only do I blog, I am a blogger. I type my thoughts into Movable Type and post them online. And I hope people read what I write.
My blog is part of the Jupiter Research Analyst Weblog collection. About 18 months ago, I was assigned to blog. I’d experimented with some systems in the past, but I really had no intention of doing this more than spare time. My goal was to post weekly. Now, with few exceptions, I post daily. When I don’t find something to blog, I feel guilty.
The Jupiter blogs are marketing vehicles. Exposing our analysts’ insights helps establish us as thought leaders. I’m in an interesting, self-referential space; I blog about marketing and advertising on a blog that serves as a marketing and advertising vehicle.
What can a blog do to promote a company? I’ve reached a few conclusions. Here are my personal best practices, gleaned from the blogging trenches:
- Enhance the conversation. In a blog, nothing’s worse than a link to something already known. Determine if the information you’re writing about is already widely known. If it is, there’s little value in simply pointing to it. If something significant happens, post about it only if add clear value. The best way to do this is to provide commentary. Incorporate the information into your post in a way that assumes readers already know about it; make your mention of it the link.
- Link to and comment on others. I read about a dozen blogs regularly, all essentially covering the same topic I blog about. A great practice is to occasionally blog specifically about something another blogger said or did. Your post isn’t about a particular event but what the other blogger wrote about that event. This is core blogging practice, but careful — don’t let it lead to a tight loop in which you blog about someone else blogging, then she blogs about your blogging. Ugh. No one wants to read intimate conversations between a few friends.
- Include topic-related keywords in titles. I don’t do this frequently enough, but it’s a great practice. If you blog about duct tape, use “duct tape” in your posts’ titles. This is pure SEO (define). It’s cool if someone does a search on your name and blog. But it’s better and more valuable if someone searches a general term and your blog comes up as highly relevant. It’s a great opportunity to acquire new customers.
- Unearth interesting things to share. This is another aspect of enhancing conversations. I use an RSS (define) aggregator to search for particular terms: “desktop search,” “AdSense,” “corporate blog.” Fairly often, I find tidbits the community at large has missed. Bringing these up can catalyze conversations, and you’ll often get links back to you.
- Let your personality out. I’ve found out about my favorite bloggers’ vacations, engagements, and interests. On occasion, I’ll blog about cycling, generally in a way related to advertising but sometimes tenuously. Blogs are about topics, but they also have a very strong personality element. Find ways to occasionally break the barrier and demonstrate you’re a real person. It helps build a relationship between you and your audience and humanizes the blog’s overall feel.
I love to blog. I’m not sure what the draw is. Perhaps it’s the immediacy of the medium. Perhaps because it’s a bit of a writing sandbox. Blogs shouldn’t have formal style guides and structures, but a way of being. These tips should help you establish what that should be.