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25 November 2010

Top Tips

10 Insider Secrets of Brilliant Bloggers

If you're pondering taking your first steps into the blogosphere, you're probably wondering how to encourage a loyal following. What to write about, how long to write for, how often and in what kind of style?

Relax. The basics you need to start are all here...

What are you trying to achieve?

Don't just jump on the blogging bandwagon. Have an aim. For example, you may want to get ahead of your competitors who may not have a blog; it may be relevant in your business to show an embracing of new methods of communicating. Or you may simply want to prove that you are highly knowledgeable, an expert in your given field, and moreso than your rivals. Or do you perhaps want to use a regular blog to respond to global news relevant to your sector, getting your view out there before anyone else?

Who will read your blog and for what purpose?

You may not be the world's best writer, but that doesn't mean you can't still engage people by being the mine of information on whatever it is you're blogging about. Provide your readership with relevant useful information they can't find anywhere else, and you've got 'em hooked. Not sure what will get them coming back for more? Then decide what you're writing about, and then seek out a handful of people who have a need for information on this area. By questioning them, it will help you decide how formal to be in your language, what they find interesting and what they consider old hat.

What kind of research do you need to do?

If you're truly passionate about what you do, part of your daily routine will be spent gathering information on your given subject, via news feeds, specialist publications and other insider sources. Use this knowledge in your blogs and it will show, much to your credit.

Be an expert, don't generalise...

Some bloggers write about anything and everything. But if you concentrate on just one area, word will spread far quicker - but only if you know what you're talking about!
How often should you blog?

It all depends on what you're blogging about - don't feel the need to keep up with bloggers who create a new post every day if there isn't that much to say about your given subject. Don't blog for the sake of it. But however frequently you decide to write, make sure it's a frequency you can maintain and BE CONSISTENT.

Stay original and true to yourself

While it's a great idea to respond to items in the news, it shouldn't be the be all and end all of your blog. And neither should your blog be a series of links to other websites. It's tedious to read, and it's downright lazy and shows a lack of respect and engagement with the reader.

Embrace hecklers

This may seem similar to shoving your head into the lion's mouth, but seriously, the worst thing you can do is ignore an adverse comment. I'm not suggesting that you should have unread comments on show to your readers, but once you've decided how to respond, make the comments - and your considered reply - available for all to see. If you've made a mistake, admit it. If they've added to the information you've already published, thank them for it. By running and hiding, you're showing that you feel threatened and unsure of yourself. Remember: nobody can know everything, no matter how much of an expert they are.

Become your own marketing machine

Now this may come as a shock, but if you don't know how to spread the word that you've started a blog, you could be talking to yourself for eternity. Don't worry - it needn't cost you a penny. You're probably already aware of other bloggers in your subject area, so start commenting on their blogs regularly. Or send them a Tweet to alert them to your own posts. You may also fancy attending a face to face blog meet near you.

Check, check and check again...

Incredibly, the vast majority of bloggers don't check their entries before hitting the Post button. Just as with any piece of copy entering the public domain, if it's got your reputation riding on it, you should check it all at least 3 times.

Good Books to read

"Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers," by Michael A Banks

"Blog Schmog: The Truth About What Blogs Can (and Can't) Do For Your Business," by Robert W Bly

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