There seems to be a common misconception that blogging has to involve writing all about yourself and your personal life! If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then you certainly don’t have to.
I think for a lot of people the word ‘blogging’ conjures up the idea of gap year students writing an online diary, sharing all of their exciting adventures…oh and drunken nights out and embarrassing stories! Or perhaps of stressed, tired mums sharing their motherhood stories…in all of their glory!
But blogging for business is very different – in light of topic content alone!
I think another reason there is a misconception about the level of ‘access’ you need offer is because it is often mentioned that a blog is good way to ‘share your personality’ and a way for people to ‘get to know you’. However, sharing your personality, through the style that you write, is not the same as sharing anything particularly personal about you. Don’t confuse sharing your ‘personal life’ with sharing your ‘professional life’, which can be kept as completely separate things.
Your personality naturally comes across in the way you write your blog, especially if you write often. The phrases you use, the level of formality you feel comfortable with and the areas of your business or service you want to share and why, all present the ‘professional you’.
Blogging absolutely does not have to include an insight in to all you hold dear or offer your opinions on news and current affairs! However, what it should include is your knowledge, your skill, your passion and your interests, in relation to your business.
I think the best blogs answer questions your clients will have. A client is unlikely to want to know what your favourite restaurant is (unless perhaps you work in catering!) or what your weekend plans are (unless you are a tourist guide, perhaps?!?). They want to know the ‘how?’ and ‘what?’ of your business. Potentially, they may be interested in the ‘why?’, which can lead to sharing some personal information – but that can still remain professional and on theme, and the level of ‘exposure’(!) is up to you!
You are in control
At the end of the day, you are in control of your own blog content. Even if you use a ghost writer – you still have the primary input over the content and the final say before it is published. Therefore, only ever write about what you are comfortable with. Stick to topics which interest you the most – at least to start with. Finally, choose how you want to present yourself and be confident with that.
If you want to, use third person. This means using the company name for example, rather than first person, which means using ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘we’ and ‘us’. Keep that distance, if it makes you feel more comfortable. Focus on services, products and business news rather than your feelings, thoughts and insights in to your field. Readers of your blog will get used to this style. It is better than trying to force yourself to do something you are not happy with.
Equally, you can use ‘I’ and ‘me’, which does feel more personal (and friendly) but without going into emotional mushy stuff! Just decide where on the spectrum you feel comfortable.
Identify your audience
If you really don’t know where to pitch your blog, my best advice is to imagine your reader is a ‘first-time enquirer’. For example, someone who has rung you up and asked “what do you do? And can you help me with X?”. The ‘X’ is your blog topic and you are introducing and explaining the concept, service or product available that will help them. As they are a potential new client, you will want to present the very best example of yourself. You will want to get across your expertise, in a clear and concise way, and you will want to give them all of the information they need in the hope that they will buy/agree to using your product/service. You would be friendly but remain professional. You wouldn’t start wittering on about how stressed you are, how you are just too busy to help or what you are planning for dinner!
Blogging to achieve a goal
Finally, blogging for business means that you are trying to improve your business, whether it is getting new clients, retaining current ones or enticing old ones back; increasing sales or increasing website traffic, or perhaps improving social media engagement. Therefore, the way you write and what you write about needs to be the best method to achieve your goals.