If you’ve worked in corporate America, chances are you’ve heard of the movie Office Space.  In a previous life, I cannot recall how many times I jokingly asked a co-worker to “make sure and drop off the TPS reports on my desk before you leave”.

While the movie has its share of questionable dialogue, the cubical life parody rings true to many who work the typical 8-5 routine.  While I’ve received many “memos” prior to working at Krengeltech, I never did receive the memo outlining how one should go about writing a blog.

Memos aside, here are 7 tips to create an effective blog and ensure your audience keeps coming back for more:

1.  Interject your personality.  Many forms of marketing cannot take on the conversational tone which I believe blogs were created for.  Take writing ad copy for example.   You can’t interject a whole lot of personal opinion into corporate ad copy unless you want the VP of Marketing to take you out for a few lashings behind the wood shed.  But blogs?  They should be a true reflection of the author and the platform the author is passionate about.  I work with a bunch of geeks <I mean programmers>.  (Smart programmers I will add).  There’s no way I could pretend to write a “How-to” programming article that would be typically showcased in our IBM i Technical Blog.

Although I should try that sometime.  It could be a real hoot.

2.  Use a conversational tone.  Blogging even allows for writing in fragmented sentences.  I was almost an English major and I’m OK with fragments in blogs.  There, I said it (sorry Mrs.Korteum).  Plus I just started a sentence with “And”.  As another example, “Didn’t think so.” could be an excellent sentence in a blog.  Has absolutely no subject but is short, includes a touch of sass, and conveys the point!

3.  Narrate your work.  I was asked this week to implement the CRM application salesforce.com for one of our clients.  I’ve been a salesforce.com user and administrator for over 10 years so this is a relatively seamless exercise for me.  Yet, there are probably hundreds of steps I could document that would be useful for others to read and benefit from through a series of blog posts.

What do you do everyday?

Write code?  Make sales calls?  Manage people?  Design ads?  Manage projects?  Take out the trash?

Even if you think your daily tasks are beyond mundane, my guess is you’ve learned some tips and tricks along the way which others in your field would find brilliant.

So take some screen shots.  Shoot some pictures.  Film some video.  And start narrating your work to expand your realm of authority.

4.  Choose a platform.  Put simply, your platform is the core subject matter you aspire to be an authority on.  My platform revolves around marketing and technology.  Hopefully you see that consistency by reading my blog.  And hopefully you don’t see a future post on Accounting best practices from me.

The platform of our IBM i Technical Blog features programming-specific content related to the IBM i server.  Krengeltech has also started a blog promoting best practices involving Planet Press software development.

Your platform is a reflection of you.  You can’t fake your platform.  Don’t try to.

5. Be consistent.  This is a tough one for me.  My goal is to write one new post per week.  Some weeks work (or life) gets in the way.  I follow various bloggers on Twitter who post good content daily.   That schedule isn’t a reality for most of us with wide-ranging job responsibilities.  To me once a week is a great initial goal.  This frequency keeps you relatively “in sight and in mind” with your audience, yet doesn’t overwhelm you from the onset.

6.  Cheerlead others (sincerely).  Nothing will send your readers fleeing faster than consistent self-promotion.  Make it a point to write about other individuals, companies, or products that have made a difference in your life or profession.  Include these  references as features within your posts and draw attention to what they do well.  Include their twitter profiles, facebook pages, and website urls within your posts.  When your post is live, send them a brief FYI with the link and a simple “Thanks for making a difference”, expecting nothing in return.

The more you give, the more you will receive.  I heard that from a pretty good source.

And just so I’m following my own advice, if you’re looking for one of my favorite blogging “technology friends”, check out SnagIt.  SnagIt is an easy-to-use tool to capture images, edit images, post images to urls for public viewing, and more.  As a blogger, I can’t live without it.  Follow everything new from Snagit on Twitter and Facebook.

7.  Find the right technology.  Blogger is a great free starting point.  WordPress requires a bit more technical implementation know-how but features hundreds of themes and useful “widgets” used by serious bloggers.  Both allow for your own custom web address.

So there you go.  You’ve now received my introductory memo on “How to get started blogging and ensure your audience keeps coming back for more”.  

Oh, you’re already blogging?  Well share your url in the comments section of this post and promote your platform!

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