I suppose I am an expert on how organisations and individuals who wish to write about their sector or core expertise should approach blogging; and I often post about blogging. However, there are plenty of things I don’t do right. So if you want to succeed as a blogger and/or follow blog etiquette, here’s a few things you should do which I always/usually don’t:
- Write about your core expertise and avoid other topics. You want to become a resource by adding value in the area you know best, not by waffling about things you know little about. My utter revulsion for Berlusconi, everything he stands for and what he’s doing to a wonderful country should NOT be the subject of a blog post per month.
- Don’t become too personal. Again, my Berlusconi posts are a case in point. It’s off-putting. I should only write about him if it’s in the context of communications i.e. the confluence of politics and communications, one of the core themes of my blog. Same with you. If you’re an expert on origami don’t suddenly write a post about Greco-Roman wrestling unless there’s a really good reason.
- Engage with other bloggers. I read 10s of posts on other blogs every day but I don’t often enough quote them on my own blog and give my take on their musings. I should. It’s a way of building relationships and it’ll drive traffic via trackbacks and other bloggers taking notice.
- Don’t be too lengthy. A good, long analytical post once in a while is good. Mostly long posts is less good. Average 3-4 paragraphs but don’t worry if one post is just a picture and the next is 10 paragraphs.
- Always credit photos. I find mine by Googling a key term then don’t give credit where credit is due. It’s probably illegal. It’s certainly bad etiquette.
- Reply to all comments (unless you’re a top-tier blogger and get 10+ per day.) I read all comments (there aren’t that many..) And I appreciate all comments. Then I sometimes forget to respond and once I remember it’s too late to bother. Not good. Just saying “thanks for your comment” is often good enough.
- Follow up on key posts. I write about blogging a lot. But I often write one post on another topic which requires follow up a week or month later, but then end up not doing it and writing about Berlusconi instead.
There may very well be more. Feel free to let me know if you think of any, I’m pretty thick-skinned.
3 thoughts on “How this blog isn't a blogging benchmark”
I think these rules are okay, but quite often deviating from the rules doesn’t make a big difference. 🙂
If I want to write a post in French, although 99.8% of my posts are English, then I do it. If I write about something else than European politics once in a while, I’ll do it. It’ll give my readers a sign that, although I have a field of expertise or focus, I have more interests, and the blog is just a focus on one of these interests.
And sometimes it’s worth becoming personal, because it shows that your blog is not just a professional or journalistic tool, but an expression of an individual, with opinions, with feelings, with real reactions to real situations. That is the problem with most blogs of political actors: They rarely have a true personal note, even when they reflect opinions and individual perspectives. But they are always “in role”, and that makes them uninteresting in a long run.
And I don’t mind if there are no reactions to my comments, because sometimes I am not giving any reason for further remarks. I suppose that the author reads my comments, and for me that is usually enough
Well there is another possibility to view this: If people buy you as a consultant then who you are is important. I think writing from your self expression is just another perspective then writing from the professional perspective. In a world where everything gets more and more connected I think the holistic blog is much more interesting.
I agree in that I like it when bloggers are a little less “mechanical” and more personal, even when the focus of their writing is professional. It’s even a bit off-putting when bloggers NEVER write about anything other than their core-expertise. It’s wasting the nature of medium and frankly makes them appear a little dull.. The blog which is consistently ranked most-read globally and which I think is excellent, Seth Godin’s blog, mixes marketing with a little bit of much else, and that’s its charm.
Having said that, in recommending an approach to “professional” bloggers I’d still recommend sticking to core expertise. Many (maybe most) readers still don’t differentiate between blogging and other forms of media in which a more disciplined approach is the norm, so I’d want to avoid risking loss of credibility with that readership. For now.. However I’d still recommend a personal writing style and adding a personal touch WITHIN “professional” content.