To blog or not to blog…

That is the question… a client asked a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what I suggested.

Before you get started

Figure out your objective. The blogosphere can be a good way to build awareness for you and your brand, but that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow burn, like media relations, and requires your full attention. In addition, you have to be passionate about writing (hopefully good writing).

Entering the fray

OK, you’ve done your soul searching and decided that blogging is something you want to do. Here’s what comes next:

  1. Select the topic. It should be something you love, intimately know about and where you’re positioned to become a thought-leader.
  2. Linkability builds credibility. Identify the players, the high profile and oft-quoted bloggers in your sector and start reading their blogs. And when you have an insight to share, post a comment. That way the bloggers start to know and build a relationship with you. Again, a slow burn which generally takes three to six months (or more).
  3. Decide on your format, which software works best for your needs and how often you’re going to post. Then stick to it. (Ideally this should be at least a couple of times per week in order to build a following.)
  4. It’s a DIY culture and publishing is as important as writing. I spend about one to two hours per post, researching, checking facts and links, copy editing and proofing. This isn’t something you can pass along to staff.
  5. The blog needs a voice – yours. There’s been negative backlash when people find out a site has been ‘ghost-blogged’. The most successful CEO bloggers write the posts themselves. This authenticity is what makes their blogs so powerful.
  6. You should be transparent, listen, admit any errors quickly and respond to comments in a timely manner.

Will this get you any business? In the long run, maybe. As I said, blogging can build your profile the same as marketing, PR, speaking engagements, etc.

Our advice? Unless you have the drive, energy and hours to spend, blogging may not be the most strategic thing for you to do.

Think of it as a part-time job with a full-time commitment.