I know some people who are developing their own blogs. They’ve asked me for advice a couple of times, and once I wrote here about it.
My basic advice: give some thought to the process. There’s no shortage of advice on how to blog. Just today I ran across this one and I really like it, especially number five, “Begin in Stealth Mode.”
You may be in stealth mode for a while, especially if some (or most) of the people you want to reach don’t read blogs on a regular basis. Don’t feel bad about individually emailing people links to your blog when you publish something that might interest them. I still do that on a regular basis and I have my personal contact database set up with topic tags to simplify the process.
One of the reasons I’m happy to give advice is that I’ve made just about every mistake there is to make in blogging, starting with creating a much too complex blog structure. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve finally spread my basic navigational links across two pages. (Side note: I was recently gratified to receive the following comment via Twitter, where I regularly announce when I have a new blog post: Thanks for the follow. You have a very easy to navigate site. Like the post on why books will survive. Take care.) Holy Cow! He said “easy to navigate”!!!
The most important advice I have is to think about who the people are you want to reach — who are the people, their organizations, their associations, their employers, etc. Then study what these individuals and groups are doing on and off the web. Then create your own “mission statement” to guide what you are doing.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time doing this, but believe me, the planning pays off — as long as you understand that you’ll probably start changing your plans as soon as you start!
Also, if the individuals and groups are so diverse that you can’t come up with a unified mission statement, you should then consider creating separate blogs, each with a separate personality.
Another question I get is, “How long should a blog post be?” My short answer is, “Beats me.” Some of my most consistently popular posts are also my longest, so I have concluded it doesn’t matter with a professional blog.
Copyright (c) 2008 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dr. McDonald is an independent management consultant based in Alexandria, Virginia. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his Twitter ID is @ddmcd.