Professional Blogging 101


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Learn what blogging about your business expertise entails, and learn the fundamentals of planning a new blog and writing effective blog posts.

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Professional Blogging 101

  1. 1. Professional Blogging 101: How to Plan and Write Blogs by SueAnn Spencer Copyright © 2009 by SueAnn Spencer
  2. 2. Why Should You Read This? You have little or no experience with writing blogs. You want to understand what blogging about your business expertise entails. You want to know the fundamentals of good blog writing. You want tips for writing a basic blog post. 2
  3. 3. Topics 1. Overview . . . . 4 2. Planning Your Blog . . . . 18 3. Writing Your Blog Posts . . . . 23 4. Publicizing Your Blog . . . . 37 3
  4. 4. 1. Overview Why Blog? Types of Blogs Blog Web Hosts Question: How Hard Can It Be? Answer: Reality of the Blogosphere Blog Visitors and Tweet Followers 4
  5. 5. Why Blog? Build brand name and brand recognition Gain exposure for your ideas Demonstrate your thought leadership Connect with others in your field Fulfill a job requirement 5
  6. 6. Types of Blogs Blogs (or Weblogs) Tweets (or Microblogs) 6
  7. 7. Blogs (or Weblogs) A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links ( Length not important, within reason Provides a way for web pages to be interactive Author controls content Copying content of others is not good 7
  8. 8. Tweets (or Microblogs) Twitter status updates ( Limited to 140 characters, including spaces This text is 140 characters long, just like Twitter posts. Cryptic!! Microblogging is a good solution for people who aren’t strong writers. Bridges the gap between email and instant messenger Others control content Retweets are good 8
  9. 9. Blog Web Hosts Some free hosts • • • • Your employer Information on hosts that charge • 9
  10. 10. Question: How Hard Can It Be? Blog about what you know well. Talk about your topic until you become an expert acknowledged by others, especially compared to other blogs on the issue. 10
  11. 11. Answer: Reality of the Blogosphere At any given time 7 to 10 million active blogs are on the Internet, but … “… between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views .... There's a joke within the blogging community that most blogs have an audience of one." -- Richard Jalichandra, Technorati chief executive, quoted in San Jose Mercury News, 07-20-09 11
  12. 12. Blog Visitors and Tweet Followers Find blogs by searching for keywords Ask “What's in this for me?” first Scan instead of reading Have short attention spans Can ignore you Come from all cultures and languages 12
  13. 13. 2. Planning Your Blog Research Existing Blogs Choose Your Subject Matter Set Your Policies Develop Your Persona 13
  14. 14. Research Existing Blogs Analyze the top 20 most read sites. • What makes them popular? • How do they present content (text, video, graphics)? Analyze blogs that address your area. • How do they differ from what you want to offer? • What type of reader involvement do they enjoy? Collect ideas that might work for your blog. 14
  15. 15. Choose Your Subject Matter Identify your blog’s main goal. List keywords that support your goal. Define your focus. • What you are passionate about • What you are expert at Define your target audience. • General age • Experience level • Position on the food chain • Interests 15
  16. 16. Set Your Policies Define your policies and plan to publish them. • How you handle comments • Responsibility of readers for feedback that they post • What information you provide about yourself • What links you offer • Other 16
  17. 17. Develop Your Persona Your expertise is key. Avoid being self-absorbed. Find your authentic self. Show your personality, so that your readers can get to know you. Establish a consistent point of view, and write posts that support your position. 17
  18. 18. 3. Writing Your Blog Posts Anatomy of Blog Posts Develop Ideas for Posts Plan Your Post Write Your Content Establish Rapport With Visitors Use Good Mechanics Avoid Legal Liability Remember to Revise, Revise, Revise If All Else Fails … 18
  19. 19. Anatomy of Blog Posts (1) Posts have a fixed structure. • Title • Opening paragraph • Body Title • Includes keywords • Blogger’s chance to turn a visitor into a reader 19
  20. 20. Anatomy of Blog Posts (2) Opening Paragraph • Explains what blog post discusses • Provides a short version of the entire post • Must grab the reader’s interest • Two sentences, maybe three 20
  21. 21. Anatomy of Blog Posts (3) Body • Text or content • Divided into sections with labels or headings • Visuals (optional) 21
  22. 22. Develop Ideas for Posts Establish your goal. • Build awareness • Inform • Promote • Help • Educate • Opine Brainstorm. • Identify six to 10 possible blog post topics. 22
  23. 23. Plan Your Post (1) Prepare original content. • Discuss your own ideas. • Describe your experience. • Offer experience, advice, solutions. • Take an opposing stance to some form of online collective wisdom. Share Information. • Report on an event or a meeting. • Explain how a news event affects your field. 23
  24. 24. Plan Your Post (2) Synthesize other information • Aggregate content into one place. • Summarize a complex document or idea. For non-experts For people who probably won’t read the original text • Analyze and expand on a favorite blogger's posts. 24
  25. 25. Write Your Content (1) Write the way you talk. Write so that neophytes understand you, and so that experts don’t think you are talking down to them. Avoid topics that others have already blogged about. • To say something about what another blogger writes, post your ideas on that blog. 25
  26. 26. Write Your Content (2) Write a title that grabs interest. • Question: Does Cloud Computing Have a Future? • Provoke: Let's Get Rid of Support Centers • Report: Green Engineering Takes Hold in Europe • How to: How to Optimize Your Blog • Steps: 5 Ways to Write Attention-Getting Titles • Humor: The IT Manager Made Me Do It • Opinion: Every Blogger Should Learn Karate 26
  27. 27. Write Your Content (2) Use your keywords. • In the title • In the opening paragraph • In the headings • In your text Refer to original content of others. Do not repeat it. • Hyperlink to the original content. 27
  28. 28. Write Your Content (3) Give credit to others. • Cite ideas, paraphrases, quotations, graphics, structure, organization • Anything that can be attributed to someone else Skip citing some information. • Common knowledge (what is widely known, or what is historical fact) • Your own ideas and assertions, if not already published 28
  29. 29. Write Your Content (4) Include non-text elements, if they help you make your point. • Graphics • Clip art • Photographs • Videos 29
  30. 30. Establish Rapport with Your Visitors Refer to common experiences. • Corporate news • Economy • Famous person’s life or death • Popular culture Use, but don’t overuse, everyday expressions. • Can you believe it? • Go figure! • Who knew? How about that? 30
  31. 31. Use Good Mechanics (1) Keep your posts short. • Aim for no more than 30 lines unless you are posting a how-to article. • Remove text that doesn’t add to your point. • Break up one long topic into several short topics. • Publish a long topic in parts. Discuss one topic per sentence. Use short sentences and paragraphs. Keep words, phrases, illustrations simple. 31
  32. 32. Use Good Mechanics (2) Use active voice, not passive voice. • Yes: People read your blog. • No: Your blog is read by people. Use headings to organize your content. Use bullets to organize your points, or numbered lists if sequence is key. Spell out all but most common acronyms. 32
  33. 33. Use Good Mechanics (3) Standardize the way you present your content. • Text • Punctuation • Spelling • Visuals • Graphics 33
  34. 34. Avoid Legal Liability Know what liability means. • Misrepresenting another site's content or your association with it • Defamation • Trademark infringement • False advertising Acknowledge copyrights and trademarks. Comply with your employer’s policies. 34
  35. 35. Remember to Revise, Revise, Revise Remove excess words. Simplify sentence structure. Remove repetition. Add missing detail. Verify links. Check grammar and punctuation again. Check spelling again. 35
  36. 36. If All Else Fails …. Find a blog buddy to review what you write. Hire a ghost blogger. Invite a guest blogger. Hire a blogging coach. Blog with others. Comment on other blog posts. Send Tweets. 36
  37. 37. 4. Publicizing Your Blog Promote Yourself Get Others to Talk About You 37
  38. 38. Promote Yourself List your blog on blog directories. • • • • Directories that cater to your field Tweet about your blog and individual posts. Notify people you know. • Professional contacts • Online networks Add an RSS feed to your blog. 38
  39. 39. Get Others to Talk About You Develop relationships with bloggers in your field. • Find blogs that are similar to yours. • Provide links to these blogs. Post comments on related sites. • Add value. Don't just say, “I agree!” or “Good points!” • Include a link to your blog. Respond to substantial comments from your visitors. 39
  40. 40. That’s All … 40