Blog Basics for Business

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Is your blog helping your business? Or is it time to turn your dog of a blog into a pedigree showcase? Whether you have a blog or are thinking of starting one, there are some things you need to know. Commentary by Linden Gross, One Stop Writing Shop

1)     How to begin. Every blog post needs a hook to attract reader attention. Think fishing. Think bait.
2)     What to write. Catching readers is hard enough. But then you have to hang onto them with content that leaves them wanting more.
3)     The right tone to use. Your blog must be approachable and needs to sound like you only better.
4)     What you’re trying to accomplish.

•    Are you trying to convince people to buy your product or service?
•    Is your blog providing information to help build your credibility or to get people talking?
•    Perhaps you just want to give people a peek into how you think and what you value.
•    Or just maybe you’re looking to do all three.

Being clear about your goal is critical. You can’t reach your destination unless you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

That’s where a blog coach can come in handy. Whether I’m dealing with clients like social media/technology guru Philippe Cesson or cardiac surgeon and author Dr. Surender R. Neravetla, I help people figure out how to promote themselves, their ideas and their products or services through their blogs.

I may be a blog coach now, but just a few years ago I resisted the idea of blogging like a stiff-legged mule refusing to budge. I didn’t read blogs (at least not then). And I sure as heck didn’t want to write one.
I figured that my professional background was enough of a calling card. After all, how many writing coaches have written a national bestseller or worked as an editor on the staff of the Ladies’ Home Journal and the Los Angeles Times Magazine?

Still, a number of friends from the Web world kept urging me to start blogging. Finally one of them said, “Your website gives people information about your credentials and samples of the writing you’ve done. But it doesn’t give them a real sense of who you are.” That’s all it took. I started my blog the next day.

Do you need a blog? Maybe not. If you’re selling carburetors, unless you have a unique technique for restoring them or unless you race or show vintage cars in which you’ve installed your own carburetors, a blog probably won’t do you much good.

On the other hand, if your business requires you to distinguish yourself from your competition or relies on your personality in any way, shape or form, a blog could be just the ticket. Besides, a blog provides your site with fresh new content, which helps with your search engine ratings. And who doesn’t need that?
Of course, the operative words here are fresh and new.

That means that once you start a blog, you actually have to write fresh, new posts on a regular basis. How regular? I tell my clients that they really need to shoot for once a week. More would be great, but unrealistic for most of us. Less than once a week happens, but it shouldn’t happen often.

The fact is that you can’t develop much of a following if you don’t give people a predictable schedule to, yes, follow. That’s not always easy what with work, relationships, and life in general.

Providing accountability is one of the reasons I decided to offer blog coach services. But there are others.
A lot of folks I talk to just aren’t sure what to write in their blogs. That makes sense since most of them don’t have a marketing background. Coming up with ideas that will help further business can be a daunting proposition. Add in a blog coach and a little brainstorming, and that dynamic completely turns around. What was once overwhelming becomes, dare I say it, fun and gratifying.

Tone is another challenge for many. Again, a writing-coach-turned-blog-coach can help. The fact is that once you find your voice, the writing gets pretty easy. The hard part is trying to sound like someone else, and that’s precisely what you don’t want to do in your blog. Blogs are all about transparency. From content to tone, you want the real you to show through.

Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable writing your blog it’s going to be hard to share that real you with your readers. And it’s going to be even harder to make yourself write those weekly posts. That’s why I love the quote about the blog coach process by Cesson 3.0’s Philippe Cesson. “Linden doesn’t just make you a better, more successful blog author, she actually makes writing something you look forward to doing.”

If that sounds good, let’s talk about creating a blog that actually works for you.
Linden Gross is a bestselling writer, successful writing coach and blog coach, and the founder of the One Stop Writing Shop. Drawing on her editing and writing background, as well as her experience with and love for teaching, she helps make your writing sound like you—only better.

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