I was asked to provide some advice on Corporate Blogging Do’s and Don’t’s for an upcoming article in the Globe and Mail. Here’s what I suggested:
Social media is about communities of interest. Before you start writing, you should find your online community. Who writes about the things you care about? Who do you find most insightful and persuasive. Subscribe to their feeds, read them regularly and comment on their blogs. Doing this before you start to write your own blog will give you both a better sense of what you have to say that will benefit the people you care about. It will also help you to build your own credibility with them.
Write about things you are passionate about.
After the rush of the first few posts is over, it may become harder to generate posts. If you write about the things that interest you and on which you have a definite point of view, you’ll find that you are able to sustain your blog for the long term.
Give without asking for a return.
Social media is propelled by the desire we all have to connect with people who share our interests and with whom we feel some attachment. Just like in real life, the best relationships are driven by a sense that the other person is genuinely interested in you and your wellbeing. In social media, this has translated into a “culture of generosity.” The most successful bloggers are those who constantly give to their communities – interesting content, insight, a look into their world – without asking for anything in return. In my experience, those who understand and embrace this principle receive much more than they could have expected in return from others.
Keep it positive.
The world is full of too many sarcastic, snide, flip people. And criticizing is easy. Serious people balance their criticisms with a vision of what they would do instead. Unless you’re setting out to create an entertainment or gossip blog, put negativism aside. Be positive in your posts. Of course, sometimes you’ll want to write posts that are critical. But if you are generally positive, those critical posts will be better received and more credible.
Be patient and persistent
It will take time for your community to find you. Don’t be discouraged if the number of subscribers and comments you have at the outset is small. If you offer interesting content, they will come.
Don’t use a ghostwriter.
Social media is about real people connecting with real people. It’s also about responding to comments. Your contributions should be in your own voice. And if you aren’t prepared to do that, then social media isn’t for you.
Don’t fake it.
Social media is propelled by millions of people sharing with one another. If you present a false front, pretending to be something other than what you are (e.g. a fair employer; a responsible corporate citizen), you will soon find that people who know you for what you really are call you out. And bloggers are hard, very hard, on those who have failed the authenticity and transparency tests.
Don’t give up.
Remember, it will take time to build interest and community around your blog. Hang in there. Be patient and don’t give up too soon. Strong relationships take time to build.
What do you think of this advice? Do you agree with these points? Are there other equally important points that you would add?