blogging tips

On the Blog Wagon — How to Fall Off and Get Back to It

By Communications, Social Media

It was pointed out to me today that I haven’t been blogging much at all. And a lack of blogging for me means a lack of Twitter or Facebook interaction and a general sense of missing-in-action for my followers and for me, personally as well. I miss it, and being busy with client work, while true, is not an acceptable excuse. Writers’ block doesn’t suffice as an excuse and isn’t the case, either. It just happens, once in awhile. My appetite wanes, I guess.

So how to re-energize the process?

I’m mixing up my content by adding a couple of contributors: Jaggers Communications team members Rusty Speidel and Erika Gennari have recently contributed blog posts. I’m also thinking philosophically about what content I want to post, categorically, and thinking about reorganizing categories to reflect the firm’s capabilities. I also know from a look at analytics that the more personal I am in my posts, the more reflective about my business or the more fired up I am about a particular communications issue, the larger the audience.

You guys sure like it when I get pissy.

So I’m considering all of that, and working on getting back to posting much more often.

Suggestions, demands and questions will be entertained by the management. Comment below.

8 Ways to Be a Better Blogger

By Social Media

It’s hard to be a blogger. It’s especially difficult if you are blogging for business, and not personal reasons. Here are a few tips to help the process, re-energize you and your content and improve your life as a business blogger.

  1. Read a lot of content (blogs) outside of your industry for inspiration.
  2. Make a list of what you see on other blogs that you like. Is there a technique, a style or a format you find especially appealing?
  3. Share a link to a blog post you have published and are particularly proud of, to a select group of trusted friends and advisers. Ask for honest feedback — a review, if you will — and ideas for how you can improve.
  4. If you don’t already have this in place, work with someone to provide a “second pair of eyes” on your content, to eliminate distracting grammatical errors and typos.
  5. Brainstorm an “editorial calendar” of topics to get you through the next dozen posts. Don’t do it alone — invite a group to help you think out loud over lunch.
  6. Write a post for someone else’s blog — sometimes stepping off of your own web page can provide unexpected inspiration.
  7. Strive for consistency in publishing. It doesn’t matter when you write; it matters when you publish. Select days and times and stick to them, to meet your community’s expectations.
  8. Regularly review your analytics. Is your content trending the way it should? Are people finding your content because of appropriate search terms?  Paying attention to what’s popular and, if it’s on target, replicating that success will help you build your online community.

What other tips can you offer to business bloggers?

Blogging: What Inspires You?

By Social Media

Gini DietrichMy friend Gini Dietrich is such a jerk. She’s the only blogger I’ve ever known who can write a blog post about absolutely nothing and get more than 350 comments. So while I’m seething with professional jealousy, I’m also thinking about inspiration, and the process I go through when I’m stuck and can’t think of anything to write.

For the most part, I rely on my feed reader. I read other posts and ideas bubble up; before I’ve finished my reading I have several ideas for future posts.

I go offline a lot, too, reading magazines and books, making notes or even, sometimes immediately creating a first draft of a blog post.

Lately I’ve been trying a few other avenues to boost creativity. I’m curious, though . . .

What do you do to find inspiration?

P.S. Gini, you know I love you!


Businesses: Backing into Blogging

By Communications

It’s funny how businesses have thrown themselves into Twitter and Facebook interaction without backing up and considering blogging. Many of them have blogs that were once established but now, sadly neglected. To what do they link on these other platforms, if not ever their own valuable content? While I endorse the use of social networks to engage with and build a community, doing so without a blog is very odd.

Businesses need blogs for several reasons.

  1. A blog will create organic search engine optimization. Nothing is more valuable to a business than a website with frequently updated content as a method of activating the search engines and attracting customers to your business’ content.
  2. Blog content demonstrates thought leadership — if you can say all you have to say 140 characters at a time, be my guest, but most of us need a bit more room to demonstrate our wealth of knowledge on a particular topic.
  3. A blog creates an archive of information that represents your business. It’s common for a visitor to your website to spend time on several pages of content — give them a reason to stick around.
  4. Blogging helps create relationships between the business and its customers. When visitors read content by individuals in the business, they come to know those people and relationships form over time. Allow this to happen; it’s powerful stuff.
  5. Blogging helps businesses figure out who they are. Due to two-way conversation, invited feedback and discussion and often the process of writing and working things out with words, sometimes businesses have watershed moments and redefine their mission. It’s very cool to watch.

If your business has jumped into Twitter and Facebook based on peer pressure, but has skipped blogging entirely let me know. Why? And do you agree that it’s time to start blogging?

Six Ways to Keep your Blogging Commitment

By Communications

More than 95 percent of blogs are abandoned! By virtue of sticking it out, staying in the game and continuing to blog, you (and I) become leaders in the blogosphere. Here are six ways to keep up the blog:

1. Schedule your time to write. What time can you give to your blogging efforts? 20 minutes a day when you’ve turned everything else off and you’re in a chair tapping away at a keyboard will do the trick. Are you a better writer in the morning or evening? Put that time on your calendar and protect it like it’s your child.

2. Get a blogging partner – keep one another accountable by reading and commenting on each other’s posts.

3. Guest post for someone else – sometimes a deadline on someone else’s schedule will kick your butt into gear.

4. Institute a bribe (or get your partner to do it. ) I will share with you that I just offered my teammates for the collaborative corporate blog I manage an opportunity to win a Jar of Pie. Suddenly everyone is enthusiastic.

5. Join a group of other local bloggers and meet them for coffee, lunch, drinks — whatever — just get together in person periodically to talk about the blogging process, to learn from one another and be inspired.

6. Think about why you started your blog. Why was it important to you? What is the blog’s purpose? Write that down and stick it on the wall or the fridge or somewhere you’ll see it and it will remind you, often, of why you’re here, blogging like the rest of us nut jobs. It’s important, and you ARE making a difference to someone.

Need more help? I highly recommend Chris Brogan’s post How to Blog Almost Every Day.