Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

I was reading a book on business by one of the more famous freelance writers (while the book was on starting a writing business, the section could apply to any small business start up). The author was giving guidance for how to network at meetings and generate leads. One of his first points was this:

Do not try to sell services or products; that is not why you are there.

If you are using or starting or thinking about starting a corporate blog, you should keep this advice in mind. It applies as much to blogging as it does to networking.

Blogging is not like making a sells pitch. It is like going to an event, a meeting of some kind, and trying to meet people. Blogging is networking. You have your business card to give away; that’s your sidebar. But people do not come to your blog or leave comments because they have made an appointment with you to receive a sales pitch. They come for the conversation, the entertainment, and the information.

Naturally, you want your blog to generate leads. Who doesn’t? But trying to sell stuff will kill any chance of that happening. Just like it will be self-defeating when you try to meet people and network. No one will converse with you if they feel pressured to buy something from you every time you open your mouth. You generate leads from networking by being conversational, entertaining, and informative. That is what makes people interested in you and willing to take your business card.

Posted also here.

What to blog about?

Since one of my hats is consulting with businesses starting a corporate blog, I sometimes have to jumpstart topic ideas.

I thought this post from All Freelance Writing was pretty helpful.

Do you ever get blogger’s block – feeling like you’ve already blogged about everything in your niche, where you just can’t seem to come up with new blog ideas to write about? I do. I’d bet most bloggers do from time to time.

No matter how much you’ve written, you probably haven’t really tapped your niche (even if it’s a pretty narrow one). So, when these dry spells happen, how can you come up with blog post ideas to keep your blog fresh? Here are a few suggestions (using the “making money online” niche as an example):


Among my other jobs, one aspect of my business is new media consulting. I recently had to deal with one of the most popular blog publishers for businesses and corporations, Typepad. While I know it is an excellent service, I ran into a problem that I have also encountered in one form or another with several different services. I still haven’t figured out how to fix it.

As I was on the phone with a client about their new blog, I noticed that I wasn’t seeing that many icons on the visual control panel. Since I use a Mac and was viewing the site through Safari, I wasn’t that surprised or concerned. I switched over to Camino and had a much better experience. But options were still missing. So I switched to Firefox (which is somewhat resource-intensive on the Mac, so I only use it as a last resort). I still could not see a simply image-posting button. It simply wasn’t there. I tried Opera. Still no way to post images.

Not a problem. I’m not married to the Mac. I have a PC in the house as well for just this problem. So I went to my PC. First I tried Internet Explorer and then the Windows version of Firefox. Still no way to post images. I searched the knowledge database and found the directions on how to post images. The included a picture of what the screen should look like, and it was different than what was visible in my browser. There was a button for posting images, which I was missing. I have no idea what could be wrong in the case of my PC, unless Typepad’s interface is only fully functional for the XP operating system rather than Vista.

As I said, I’ve run into this problem in other services. I can’t use Safari to post to any of my WordPress blogs anymore, because all paragraphs markers are stripped out of the entry. I typically use Camino.

Has anyone encountered this problem and, perhaps, found a solution. Posting images is a significant feature. I could work around it using html and an offsite storage for the image, but that would be rather clumsy. It would defeat the whole point of a WYSIWYG interface.

Some CEOs who blog

While I doubt my personal site will ever get to the level that it is noticed by copyblogger or problogger, I actually do make some significant money blogging for clients (not enough to live on, by itself, but more than pocket change).

It was all so simple at the start
The first time I started blogging for hire, it was easy. I just searched for terms related to my client’s company and found blog entry’s that were written and read by people who were likely to be interested in the same things I was interested in. I directed traffic there way and basically generated chit chat. Between Technorati and the Google search engine, I had all the tools I needed. The only thing left to do was to learn about SEO.

Stepping into Stepford

Eventually, however, I found a client whose expertise was in an area of interest to litigators, and that was when I discovered the spam blog. Before, it was as if I had a magic guide that would lead me through the crowd to a group that was talking about something that indicated I could meet their needs. I didn’t hard sell or anything. I just had to converse and wear my name tag.

Continue Reading »

The CEO blog watch has published some writing guidelines.  I thought the first two were especially good:

  • Write in your own voice. Don’t try to impress people with your vocabulary. The best blogs convey quality information in a conversational style.
  • Write each blog post so it can stand on its own. Each post should offer value on an individual level (in addition to being  part of a greater whole).

They are all worth reading.

Michael Hyatt may be my favorite blogging CEO (though in fairness to others, I tend to prefer to read the blogs of people I have actually met). He has been blogging from ICRS. Today he reported,

I met with Les Dietzman, president and CEO of Berean Christian Stores. This is the third largest Christian retail chain in our industry (behind Family Christian Stores and Lifeway Christian Stores), with about 22 stores in seven states. Les is the former CEO of Family and a seasoned veteran. He’s also a gracious and trusted colleague….

Interestingly, Les also asked me about blogging. He wanted to know how I got started, why I continued to blog, and what the results have been. I also took the opportunity to encourage him to start his own blog. Note to the industry: we need more CEO bloggers.

Seems like there is a growing market.

Unlike Ms. Rivers, I typically never touch pen or pencil to paper. My father was geek enough that I had a home pc in the house by the time I entered junior high. Word processors are what I do.

Still, I share her conviction that writing is fundamental.

I hear some school systems in Maryland are talking about . . . doing away with teaching creative writing. With the advent of laptop computers, text messaging and other developments taking over mainstream communication, it seems some people don’t see the need to develop the creative thinking process or fine motor skills that come with the age-old technique of putting pen to paper.

I would say in response to this heartfelt column that the development of fine motor skills shouldn’t be confused with the issue of writing, and that reading quality literature is more likely to lead to good writing rather than the other way around. But I have to agree that it is misguided to believe that creative writing is passe.  Just because we now have means of communication that lend themselves to choppier, more terse, forms of writing, doesn’t mean that conventional forms should be left behind. New communication technologies should be seen as an addition, not as a replacement.

I write conventional books for clients, craft newsletter articles, and blog for hire. I don’t see why anyone would think they had to choose one or the other.

I think there are two kinds of political blogs: blogs that are political and political groups or organizations that blog (yes, I know these overlap, but it works for my purposes).

The blog I just found is of the latter kind–a known organization that gained a reputation through other communication media has now started to blog.

And they’re doing it wrong.

  1. A blog should not be a “clipping service.” Everyone on the web already has the ability to use google news or subsribe to a news feed according to the search parameters they select. They don’t need you to post links to news stories. They may find one or two of interest, but they will not be motivated to return to your site.
  2. A blog should be a place, where people know they will receive your analysis. That is what you have to offer that google news can’t: your own voice. People will return, not for just news, but for our spin. You don’t have to write a column (in fact, you shouldn’t produce anything that long), but a few remarks can make a big difference.
  3. A blog should not be aimed at a demographic group that is unlikely to surf the web. You can change this somewhat by advertising your blog, but the fact remains that blog readers tend to be younger. Are you reaching your potential readers or are you assuming that those listening to your radio spot are just as likely to surf the web?
  4. A blog should be designed to appeal to those most likely to be blog readers. This could be as easy as sharing your blog with a couple of other people who fit the demographic better. We’re not talking about every single post, after all, but a general feel.
  5. A blog should not be considered simply a new means to reach the same audience who listen or watch or read you in your older venues. You already have them.
  6. A blog should be a means of reaching new people.
  7. A blog should not be considered simply a means of broadcasting. Yes, I know: you type it and it can be read by anyone. But it is still not a virtual newspaper.
  8. A blog should be a means of getting a conversation going with other bloggers and commenters. This was where I was headed all along. There are lots of bright political bloggers out there. Talk to them. Argue with them. Recommend them and dismiss them. But don’t ignore them. Blogging is more akin to walking in a room where a lot of conversations are already taking place and trying to get in on one, than it is to a magazine column.

I have made progress in promoting a service. I have more work to do, but I think it is ready to be revealed.