10 Commandments of Business Blogging
Whatever you do, you need passion!
What exactly is business blogging? To me it applies to any blogging motivated by the advancement of any business or marketing goals.
It may even apply to blogging for a cause like many green bloggers do: blogging that reaches beyond personal interest.
Business blogging does not have to be blogging about business as some people apparently assume.
Business blogging might be done by an individual who is a freelancer like I am (a freelance SEO consultant in Germany) but also part of a larger business or a company.
Also you have to differentiate: business blogging is not necessarily corporate or problogging but might be one of the two or both.
Search industry examples
In the search industry bloggers Brian Dean and Rand Fishkin are probably the best examples of business blogging I refer to.
It’s business blogging that is neither really private nor really corporate. There are many agency blogs but Brian is just one person while Moz is not an agency anymore. They serve the webmaster community by now.
Business blogging gets practiced very successfully not only in the search industry.
There seems to persist a large amount of uncertainty about the nature of it though. We even witnessed some spectacular failures of business blogs.
To establish a few guidelines for proper business blog behavior there arises a need for a set of “social values” especially in connection and to deal with social media.
These guidelines are indeed fairly simple and self-evident once written down.
Take a look at the 10 commandments of business blogging and also make sure to read my introduction called the 10 simplest ways to boost your social media credibility right from the start:
1. Use your real name
In case you want people to take you seriously you have to use your real name for your blog. It doesn’t have to be in the domain name.
It must be clear who blogs and what the person is about.
For team blogs create an about page that show images of the bloggers involved. Let everybody explain what they stand for.
2. Disclose what company you are working for and what exactly you do there
Do not blog under false pretenses. Disclose from the start
- who you are
- who you work for
- who pays you
- why you blog
- what your exact responsibilities are
It’s a big difference whether you’re from the PR department or you’re the CEO.
3. Blog yourself
Do not use ghostwriting services under your name. In case you have not enough time do not blog.
Blog for yourself in your own name not for your company, people will cite you and not the company.
Above all be yourself, not solely a CEO, entrepreneur, engineer or consultant.
Make people feel that you’re a real human being. Shoot pictures of your cat or dog. Do not cover your family though, that might be even dangerous.
Protect your privacy but don’t be just a generic business person.
4. Do not sell, inform
Do not attempt to sell your products via your blog posts. Inform people. Make your readers aware of your products but mainly inform.
Educate your audience about the issues of your trade or industry, not solely your own business.
You may explain how your products and services solve problems. Do not advertise, help people instead.
5. Do not “blog” press releases, tell stories
Well, this is kind of evident although many people will do it anyway. Press releases are for the press, blogs are your interface to social media.
You might even employ social media press releases but keep your blog clean. It doesn’t make sense to regurgitate or even simply publish press releases on your blog.
6. Engage your audience
Blogs are defined by the conversations of real people. It’s about dialogue. Again, when you do not have the time to reply to comments, do not blog.
In case you just start a monologue your business blog will fail. Blogs are not top down or about broadcasting like TV. You need to communicate on eye level with your audience.
7. Use casual language not corporate doublespeak
Everybody hates corporate doublespeak. Many people do not even understand the meaning of it.
Drop the acronyms only insiders know and the overblown marketese.
Use casual language, but do not swear or ridicule yourself too much. Wearing oversize sombreros like I do on my avatar is OK though.
8. Do not demean others, especially competitors, but deal with criticism
Positivity and honesty are key for a successful blog, even more for a business blog. People are wary of being lied to by corporate or business entities.
Do not tell people how bad your competitors are show how well you perform instead.
Also deal honestly with issues, especially criticism regarding your work and company. Do not feed the troll though.
Respond when it’s not slander. For the latter call your lawyers, but do not call your lawyers in cases of decent criticism!
9. Do not make your employees vote you up
Well, ever wondered why Apple stories are popular on social media? A huge corporation with thousands of employees can create buzz with ease.
When you submit and your teams votes up something on a niche community like Growth Hackers that’s a problem though.
Voting up your company’s blog is vote fraud on social media. In case you have more than 5 – 10 employees you should forbid it altogether.
10. Do not hide facts when you describe something
Telling only half the truth is like lying on blogs and social media. People will tell you anyways.
Try to anticipate what others think and take a proactive stance.
Show them your unique selling proposition like saying “we’re the first to introduce these features”.
Now will following these 10 commandments make you a great business blogger? No, they most probably won’t on their own, but without them your business blog will fail.
To stretch my commandment metaphor: It’s not enough to play by the rules, you need faith. With blogging it’s more about the enthusiasm or the passion.
Disclaimer: While I’m a Christian myself I do not want to hurt anyone’s religious feelings.
The metaphor of the commandments is not meant to disrespect the real ten commandments. In contrast, it’s to highlight that there is
the need for ethics in every discipline even such a worldly one like blogging for business purposes.
To my Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic and other readers: this is also not a way to disrespect any other religion or philosophy as inferior. It’s just a way of explaining things.
Last updated: May 11th, 2018.
* (CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons image by Mangaka Maiden Photography
Spot on – had to pick it up. Thanks for boiling down the basic tenants of game time.
Thanks for simplifying things for the rest of us!
Thanks guys for the appreciation. Cool blogs btw.
Great list Tad! #8 and #9 are really important – both make themselves (the companies employing these tactics) look bad in public.
Thanks Jenn. Yours is not bad either, you’re invited to drop a followed link anytime.
This is definitely a list worth spreading.
VOTED for you at:
Thanks Geo. What’s Newsdots?
Its just another version of Digg.
About 5200 members.
i’ll aplly these in my blog….
You make some very good points. Call me ignorant, but is #9 saying that you know for sure Apple employees are instructed to vote up pro-Apple articles on social bookmarking sites?
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John: I guess they aren’t but just look at who the “employees” are. Apple is Made In China (60+h work week for Chinese minimum wage) so the Digg users from western countries who vote Apple up are all those who have some personal gain from it, the designers, the Apple product sellers, the Apple fan bloggers (who advertise for Apple and live off it). Of course there are plenty of people who just substituted nationalism or religion with their bought Apple identity, the Apple cult members.
The new iPod whatsoever does not get popular on Mixx because here it makes no sense for the Apple spammers due to the small amount of traffic.
What it all boils down to is “honesty is the best policy”
(I must say, I enjoyed my iPod nano a lot less after finding out it was made by someone earning £27 a month.. ugh)
I’m sure digg fraud happens with many of the top page stories, Apple included. I wonder what the front pages of social bookmarking sites would actually look like without any click or vote fraud? Might be an interesting comparison if it were possible to know…
Weak shot at Apple, cheapened the article a bit. Otherwise, some good tips – if not a summary of common sense.
Well, said! Of particular importance is what you mentioned first — your name. With a business blog full disclosure isn’t a suggestion, it should be mandatory. It is all about reputation, putting your own name on the line solidifies that.
Yeah, Graham, good summary.
John: Comapre Digg and Mixx. Mixx is clean. Also where does the legitimate marketing and PR end where does the manipulation and vote fraud start?
Spencer: Sorry, Apple sucks big time. It’s the Nike of computers. Cool design, big hype and behind the scenes sheer ugliness. I guess you believe the cool mantra. Do you think slave labour is fine?
Matt: Yeah. Unfortunately my name is useless here as it’s unpronunecable everywhere outside Poland. Thus the invention of Tad Chef.
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It’s not a case of whether or not I agree with you about Apple – it’s a case of Apple really having nothing to do with blogging, or SEO, and that remark really didn’t belong in the article.
If you just offered tips and hints – I might probably have subscribed to your feed, but if you’re on a mission to quietly ‘save the world’ and slip in ludicrous claims about companies in articles here and there – you’ll annoy me more than the articles’ worth, and I won’t subscribe.
One of your blogging tips should have been: “Keep it on topic”.
Thanks for the great, simple list. I’m new as a professional (i.e. paid) business blogger and it is good to get a reminder of where to start — with honesty and passion.
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Thank you so much for the great info.
Nice reading. I will attempt to apply them if I have the time. I hope it helps.
[…] 10 Commandments of Business Blogging: If you want to be taken seriously as a business blogger, there are some rules you need to follow. […]
Nice simple list. Greatly appreciated. Nice to hear a different perspective on this facinating world of Blogging.
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This content is really key to your business blogging. I have surfed the net quite a bit and this is the first time I have read such overall information with concrete facts.