No matter how hard we try, sometimes we let jealousy overtake us. We troll blogs of our competitors and the big guns in our industries, wondering how on earth they manage to blog consistently, never running out of new and interesting ideas. Because anyone with a blog knows, coming up with new and interesting ideas is often the most painful part of business blogging.
What makes these bloggers so different from mere mortals? What do they do to keep their blog flowing so freely?
Business Blogging Habit #1: Read Voraciously
The best business bloggers do an awful lot of reading. And not just trade journals or blogs associated with work. In order to breathe life into your own writing, you have to read. Ask any professional writer and they will tell you the best way to improve your writing is to read, read, and read some more.
While it is critical to stay on top of news and developments in your industry, your reading material should cover a variety of topics. What are your hobbies? What could you talk about or read about all day if you didn’t have to actually get paid? Seek out new and interesting websites on topics that have absolutely nothing to do with work. If you’re bored on a Sunday afternoon, venture to your local public library and check out some books that you’ve been thinking about reading. Discover and dive into new fiction, nonfiction, biographies – whatever strikes your fancy.
When you read a wide variety of material, you’ll have more styles to draw from when it comes time to do some writing. What techniques capture your interest when you read? What types of storytelling keep you riveted until the end? Consume lots of great content and you’ll produce lots of great content.
Business Blogging Habit #2: Write, Already
Fear is often the biggest barrier for many business bloggers.
There are many reasons people are afraid of writing. Some people think they simply aren’t good at it. Others are afraid to commit to an opinion for fear of being wrong.
The best way to get over your fear of writing is to just write. Block out one hour a week to bang something out. Just get your idea onto a document. No excuses. No self-criticism. Just do it. You’ll find that once you get started, the process becomes much easier.
And the more you write, the more comfortable you’ll be. But in the beginning, it can be terrifying posting new items to your blog. But lucky for you, when you’re new to business blogging, you probably don’t have a huge audience. So you don’t have to be embarrassed about anything you say.
Business Blogging Habit #3: Know How To Accept Criticism
Your audience will be small in the early stages of your business blog. As it progresses, your audience will grow. And there will be people who offer you some critiques and criticism along the way. Don’t pack it in when someone offers you advice. Take it, use it, and move on.
Your critics may have something valuable to add. They may show you a side of an issue you hadn’t previously thought of. They may offer you helpful tools that you can use in the future. Don’t take criticism personally.
There will be the occasional troll. Someone who hangs out in your blog comments for the sole purpose of relieving himself in your Easter basket. Know the difference between a helpful critic and someone with an agenda. These trolls are unhappy people who typically don’t contribute much to the world around them. Do your best to ignore these types of comments and don’t let them steal your thunder.
Business Blogging Habit #4: Fly Your Flag
Your business blog doesn’t have to be dry and boring. If you are known for your wit, go ahead and be witty. If sass is your thing, sass it up. Let your personality shine in your blog.
I once worked with an equity investment firm going through a rebranding. Or so I thought. They initially said they wanted to stand out from the stuffy world of capital investing by showing their personalities. But when it came time to put that theory into practice, they clammed up. This was a mistake. The firm was full of young hotshots with interesting stories to tell. But they were too afraid of looking “unprofessional.”
Showing personality doesn’t necessarily mean dropping f-bombs, posting selfies, or ranting about the traffic on the freeway. But it does mean letting the unique aspects of you and your brand show through. In fact, your blog is a great place to test the waters for new brand positioning. Don’t be afraid to be different.
Business Blogging Habit #5: Plan
Blogging is hard when you don’t have a plan. If you have no idea who you’re talking to, what you’re going to say, or when to say it, you’ll be nothing but overwhelmed when it comes time to write a post.
Before committing to your business blog, develop a plan. Create an editorial calendar. It can be helpful to choose a theme for each month and go from there. If you don’t like the theme idea, start digging through customer emails and make a list of the most common questions. Develop blog posts that answer those questions.
No matter how you choose to create your calendar, just create it. Commit to a publishing schedule and follow through. To paraphrase Seth Godin, “Effective business bloggers ship.” Don’t get hung up on choosing the perfect image or font, or gathering just the right quote. Commit. Write. Push “publish.” Move on to the next.
Business Blogging Habit #6: Be Persistent
Your blog is not going become successful overnight. You’re not going to publish one post and suddenly have more leads than you know what to do with. Building a business blog takes lots of time. Keep at it. You will start to see a gradual increase in traffic, increase in rankings, and an increase in leads. But this is not the road to instant success. It’s a long and winding road, but it can only work for you if you stick with it.
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