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Four Rules for Starting Your Business Blog

If you run a business, you ought to be blogging. Why? Because a blog does two things that your company’s static web page cannot: First it is a platform to continually tell your story, and second it establishes you as a thought leader in your profession or industry.

Whether you are a global corporation, a manufacturing company or a consultancy, a blog with a clearly-established purpose and target audience will keep your company’s communication efforts sustainable over the long haul.

When I help clients with new blogs, I guide them through these four critical elements:

1. Determine your blog’s objective. Is it to provide resources for people in your industry? Demonstrate your knowledge build your online reputation? Mine exists to provide communications insights to other business professionals who want to tell their stories using social media. I also share tips about the types of freelance services I provide (ghost writing, magazine articles, media presence management) to those who are just starting out or who are looking for help with their business communications.

2. Write right. Make sure your posts are excellent and brief. Keep your sentences short and simple, and don’t use flowery writing. One of the best things you can do before you hit that publish button is to read your post out loud. If it sounds dry to your ear, refine your writing. A blog is a conversation, not a technical manuscript. If your post is longer than 3 paragraphs, I suggest using the page break so that readers don’t have to scroll through mountains of text to get to the next story.

3. Talk to us, not at us. If I am a guest on your site, I want to know that you care about me. Make sure you use words like “you” and “your” to let your readers know that you are speaking directly to them as individuals.

4. Image is everything I wouldn’t even think about posting on my blog without some sort of photo, video or other visual. Images draw people in and keep them engaged. Worried about copywrite infringement? Good! Stealing photos for your company blog without giving credit is a no-no. There are plenty of free photo sites like http://morguefile.com/ and http://www.sxc.hu/ (where I found these photos) to keep you out of trouble.

Next: Promotion

Every time you update your blog, you’ll want as many eyeballs on your message as possible.  I’ll post soon on how to maximize your message on Facebook and Twitter, my two top choices for social media promotion.

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