Hello Polite Readers!
Recently some of my fellow business-ladies have complained about how hard it is to maintain a blog. As someone who has three blogs of her own and writes occasional content for other blogs and ezines, I understand. Even if you have a lot to say like I do, the well can eventually run dry. And if you're not a natural writer, it can be hard to know what to say. To that end, I thought I'd write a little post containing my thoughts on how to keep your blog professional, polite, and fun!
Note: I blog a lot but I am not a "social media expert". If you are looking for advice on maximizing the SEO potential of your blog, you are definitely in the wrong place. I am just a wordsmith and I am here to help you write, not to help your ranking.
-Remember that your blog is part of the public face of your business! Try to keep a professional tone. Now, I don't mean you have to talk like a businessman, but I do mean that you should avoid using your blog to trash-talk your competitors or otherwise engage in unprofessional behavior.
-Spelling and grammar count. Blogs are semi-casual but you still want to come across as well-written. Proof-read your posts! If you struggle with language, find a friend who excels at it and is willing to be your beta-reader.
-If your blog is for your business, talk primarily about your business. I'll discuss exceptions in the "fun" section, but for the most part your blog should talk about things like your products, upcoming shows, and goings-on in your industry.
-Try to keep it positive. It is alright to occasionally post about how illness is keeping you from working as hard as you would like or that a sudden tragedy is weighing heavy on your heart, but if your blog is always negative customers will not want to come back. Focus on your business's success, happy events in your life, fun things happening in your field.
-Your blog is not the place to air your grievances with customers, competitors, suppliers, or the government. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to write a scathing post but I've held back because I remembered how I felt when I read similar columns from other writers. It comes across as very bitter, especially if you do it often. The exception to this rule is that you can offer occasional humorous bad customer type stories, or use your blog to spread a warning about scammers in your field. Otherwise, these complaints should be saved for private professional groups where you and your fellow vendors can vent.
-Don't feed the trolls. I know it's tempting to argue with them, but if your blog gets trolled (and I hope it doesn't!) you should ignore and probably even delete the comment. Trolls call this "censorship" without realizing that free speech does not grant you the right to say whatever you want on someone's blog. Don't let them guilt-trip you.
-If you need to correct misinformation, do it politely. If someone says "That's a beautiful pair of ruby earrings!" the proper response is "Thank you! I can see how you would mistake them for rubies but they're actually made with Swarovski crystals. I do hope to work with more genuine gemstones in the future." Correct them without making them feel stupid.
Fun (aka, writing stuff people want to read)
-Show people that you're a human being. Yes, you want to primarily write about your business, but share a bit about yourself, too. The occasional pet picture, kid story, and mention of the good book you just read helps readers get a sense of who you are.
-Share your creative process! Post in-progress pictures. Discuss the design process. Share your inspiration. Get people excited about the fact that you make what you sell and that you are an artist.
-Set up a regular feature. If you have something that you do, say, every Friday, it makes sure that you blog at least once a week and that your readers come back at least once a week. This can be a weekly picture of your workspace, or an opinion piece about trends in your field, or book reviews.
-Be passionate. If you aren't excited about your business, why should your readers get excited? Gush about your favorite materials. Wax poetic about the early days of your career. Swoon over the work of your idols. Geek out! Freak out! Passion is contagious.
-When you're struggling for inspiration, go read some successful blogs. What are they writing about? What are their readers responding to? Is there something similar in your life that you can write about? Read the blogs of those working in your field, and the blogs of people who are doing something completely different.
-Think about what you would like to read. If the thought of certain content bores you, it probably bores your readers, too. And if you're bored writing it, it will come across to the reader. Write things that you enjoy, and you will eventually attract readers who enjoy it.
-Start discussions. Ask questions in your posts! Encourage people to share their own experiences. Engage your readers. Just don't do it in every single post if you post daily, because that looks desperate.
-And remember, you are probably reaching more people than you think. When I go through a long period of not getting comments, I ask myself why I bother blogging... But oftentimes people comment on Facebook instead, or mention it in e-mail, or when we see each other in person. So don't get discouraged by all those posts that say "No Comments."
If this post inspires you to kickstart your own blogging efforts, post your blog in the comments! I'll have fun weeding out the real bloggers from the spammers. And remember, you can always send your questions to Politelyworded@gmail.com to be included in a future post.