Last week my colleague Catharine offered insights on how to start measuring the impact of your company's social media program.  So, in the spirit of providing best practices for online business strategies, I thought I'd offer a few of my own tips on blogging.  After all, if your company wants to participate in social media, you should definitely have a blog.  Now I don't consider myself an expert blogger, and I don't even have my own blog, but that's the point — you don't have to be a lifelong blogger to start a successful blog.  You just have to write about what you know, write often, and listen to your readers. 

Here are basic tips for those that are starting out:

1) Write about what you know:

Last week I read a great blog entry from client Harvest Power in which a member of the finance team wanted to give perspective on how the organic waste industry and public awareness of recycling organic waste is evolving.  She is transparent about the fact that she knows investing, but doesn't witness a whole lot of what her company does in the field.  So she stuck to what she knows — simple examples of organic waste recycling from her day-to-day life.  She offered an excellent anecdote about a friend's company:

"She has a recycling bin of course (a generously over-sized one), but the only trash bin she gets is a tiny, soup can-sized bin that fits on her desk.  And recycling bins are at every corner and in every room, but trash bins are only in the kitchen.  And there’s no trash collection service, so every day she needs to empty her trash bin into the kitchen one."
The author told me that she didn't know what to write about, so she just wrote what was familiar to her.  And I think that is they key: if you write about your own interests, that enthusiasm will shine through in the blog, and your writing will naturally become more compelling.  Try it.

2) Invite others:

Don't let all the blogging fall on your shoulders.  Readers want to see conversation and activity, and hear other people's opinions too.  So two immediate suggestions include:

  • Conduct interviews and post them on your blog (always great when you don't know what to write about).  You can talk to customers, luminaries, friends, anyone that has something interesting to say that is relevant to your business.  Here is an example from our own blog.
  • Invite guest bloggers: if you don't have a blog idea, see if someone else in your company or circle of friends/colleagues does — a fresh voice can always attract new readers.

The more people that inhabit your blog, the larger the conversation.  So go ahead: share, invite, co-author, collaborate.

3) Converse with Your Community:

Once you've built a following, others may start to reference your posts.  Acknowledge them and link back to them, and respond to their posts.  A blog is meant to be a form of conversation.  Also, make sure to check your readers' comments and see if they ask questions or provide thoughts that can be the springboard for a new idea.  That's the point of commenting; it elicits a response.  You know your blog has started to gain traction when the number of comments starts to increase.

I also found a couple of interesting reads with some blogging best practices and wanted to pass them along:

Good luck, and if you need more general blogging tips hit us up for suggestions.
Contributed by Susan Wise.  Follow her @swise