To blog or not to blog – that is the question?

blog

In an age where almost everything is available at a touch of a button and people are free to comment on anything they have read over the internet, it is no wonder that blogs are again becoming a popular method of communication.

Twitter and Facebook have long held the top spot.  We all want information in short sharp bursts but there are times when this is just not enough.  140 characters are not going to give me the low down on a new mobile phone and a Facebook page is not going to take me through the pros and cons.  These channels started the engagement but I want real-life opinions and only a techie blog will do.

Before I book a holiday, I turn to TripAdvisor or Holiday Watchdog to read the reviews.  Are these blogs?  Not in its purest form but in a sense, yes they are.  Engaging, full of opinion and content, it leaves me with a transparent view of what I am about to book.

It does not stop there though as we don’t read one review, we read the good, the bad and the ugly and then form our own opinion.  It is the same with a blog.

A true blog is written by the person it is claiming to be written by. Yes, it may need to be finessed to ensure it meets a brand’s guideline if it is being posted on a corporate website, but it is not there to expressly sell a good or service – it is an opinion.

However, this alone will not make it stand out. Personality goes a long way in a blog, but it is the content that engages and holds the reader.

When the ‘Chubby Grocer’ aka Waitrose’s managing director Mark Price started blogging in 2007/8 it was not his everyday life we were interested in.  Who he was meeting, how long it had taken him to get to a store was not of interest but turn it into a food blog and one man’s mission to lose weight whilst not compromising his love of food – that is compelling.

It is no different with other social media channels.  When Cheryl Cole and other celebrities started tweeting, we all held our breath as to how the amusing, quick wit of comedians and the potential celebrity gossip from red carpet goddesses would filter through but we were disappointed because they were holding back or hadn’t mastered the art of engaging content.

Blogging is no different.  If you want to blog, be authentic and keep it short.  A question many people ask is whether to blog or not to blog?

The answer is YES, but follow some simple rules:

–          Make it compelling.  Everything has a value to someone, it is about writing it in a style that informs but does not sell.

–          Be transparent.  Don’t make claims you cannot stand by or truly believe.

–          Keep it short(ish).  No more than 250 – 400 words.  I know – I have just broken my own rule.

–          Engage.  You are not going to please everyone.  If you receive negative feedback, it is an opinion. You have to take the positive with the negative.  Move on but if it is offensive or defamatory seek advice.

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