So. You've decided to blog your business.
Now... what the heck do you write about?
Let's make some assumptions, first. Let's assume you want to blog your business for all the reasons I listed earlier, including:
With these goals in mind, let's look at some topics to ALWASY write about, to NEVER write about, and to MAYBE write about.
ALWAYS: Your process
How do you do what you do? Where do you do it? What does your desk look like? What are your favorite tools? People LOVE the “backstage view.” Showing people how you do your work helps them both understand what that work is and how it can help them. Better, it shows your readers that you are an expert.
ALWAYS: Your work
Share videos, pics, case studies, or stories of work you’ve done for a particular client (with their permission, of course!).
ALWAYS: Your vision or purpose
Why do you do what you do? What do you love most about your business? Show readers your passion, and they’ll choose to work with you to feel some of that passion themselves.
ALWAYS: Advice and/or tutorials
Offer help to your readers. Yes, you’re giving away your expertise, but you’re also… giving away your expertise. You’re showing that you ARE an expert, and that you care enough about your potential clients you’re willing to help them even without getting paid.
Also, remember this: just because you know how to do something, doesn’t mean you WANT to do it. You may not have time or tools or desire. Your readers feel the same way. They may read your how-to and realize, whoa. That’s WAY harder than I thought. Maybe I SHOULD hire someone.
ALWAYS: Answer questions
You probably answer the same question from your clients. Over and over and over again. Write up the answer as a blog post! You may save yourself time in the future by NOT having to answer that question, but you’ll also go a long way to showing your expertise. You can build community, also, by pulling questions from your comments section.
ALWAYS: Ask questions
What does your readership want from you and your business? Once you’ve got a few readers, you’ve got a nice focus group. Take advantage of it!
ALWAYS: Industry news
Share industry news and infographics. Ensure you put your own spin on whatever external content you’re sharing. Do you agree or disagree? Is there one portion that really speaks to you? You show yourself as approachable by doing this: you read the same things your followers read, and you read it critically enough to show your expertise in this area.
Everyone needs a laugh sometimes. And the humor you share shows us a lot about YOU, which further makes you and your business approachable. So go ahead and share that (clean!) riddle or kitty video or industry in-joke.
Never, never, never write about politics.
I mean it. Never.
Here’s why. In the past 4 US presidential elections, the margin* between the winner and the loser was:
* If Wikipedia can be trusted.
Those numbers basically mean the country is pretty divided, which means your readership will be pretty divided, which means:
If you post a political opinion, you will piss off roughly HALF of your readership.
And half of your readership is half of your potential customers. I don’t care how strongly you feel about Lawmaker X or Issue Y. One of your readers feels just as passionately about the EXACT OPPOSITE as you. After you have posted your opinion and pissed off that reader, no education or community-building can happen. Just screaming matches.
Don’t give the trolls any opportunity. Leave politics in the bar. With the margaritas.
Caveat: The ONLY time I can envision you breaking this rule is that your business IS politics. Because you are a legislator, lobbyist, donor/fundraiser, or political pundit. In which case, post away. And ensure you have a lot of time to manage your comments.
Interestingly, religion seems to be much less divisive than politics (in my neck of the woods, anyway). Still, religion is a very personal experience that runs the gamut from “don’t got none” to practicing only the secular version of religious holidays to practicing holidays from two faiths to fully devout.
Casual talk of religion often makes people uncomfortable: did she just say God is/is not real? I thought she was smarter than that!
People who have had bad experiences with proselytizers will be extra sensitive to your mission work, looking for a sermon. People whose religion requires wearing certain types of clothing are often sick of answering questions about it (no, Mormons don’t think their undergarments are magic), or are fighting legislators to allow them to wear spaghetti strainers in their driver’s license photos. (And, yes. That was snarky. And disrespectful. See? I don't follow my own advice sometimes. And it's likely to get me in trouble with any Pastafarians reading my page...)
So, take care. If your religion is a part of your business, post away. Otherwise… consider keeping that intimate aspect of your life ... intimate and private.
Family: messy, distracting family. A lot of people still believe that you cannot mix family and business. Too many family stories may suggest to your readers that your family is more important than their priorities. Even if that’s true (and let’s face it, it’s probably true), your clients don’t want to be reminded of that in a way that makes them wonder if you can stay organized and meet their deadlines.
Also: privacy. That cute story you share about your kid forgetting to wipe his bottom is on the interwebs FOREVER. That photo you post of your business partner’s desk covered with crumbs and ants is OUT THERE. FOREVER.
Available for colleges, employers, and clients to find.
Again, take care. Post about your family and family issues if they are a part of your business. Otherwise, well, you know.
A few final caveats
Well? Did I miss any big obvious things to blog about? I'd love to hear your thoughts (and update this list!)
I'm Val Serdy, and I'm an editor. I love writing, and I love writing about writing.