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Saturday, August 27, 2011

You've decided to start a blog. Cool! (part 3)

5. Share

There are several blogs that I subscribe to and write comment to on a regular basis. There are many that merely scan the title. I do, after all still have a day-job; and a life.

Commenting on other people’s blogs comes with many benefits, and a few pitfalls:

  • It can provide an opportunity to improve your writing. Even though it’s a comment, use it wisely. Express your idea clearly, coherently and succinctly.

  • Give you exposure to prospective audience; get your name “out”

  • It is an opportunity to meet with and engage some great people, many of whom are willing to help you with an issue

  • It demonstrates your ability to think deeply and critically

  • Caveat: Be sure to read the whole blog if you are going to comment. There is nothing more damaging to you than to come across as a loose cannon, especially when you’re totally off-topic.

  • If you disagree, say so and explain why. Most bloggers are open to honest commentary, both positive and negative. However, stay on-point. This is not a place to promote your blog, promote yourself, or launch a personal attack. If you cannot contribute to what’s being discussed, stay out.

Share the blogs you enjoy with your readers.

6. Invite comments to your own blog

  • Encourage comments

  • Encourage people to disagree, and explain different viewpoints. Who knows, you may even learn something.

  • Acknowledge every comment and view. This is particularly important in the beginning. There is a blog that I read regularly which garners over 100 comments, and the author makes a point to address each comment. Not just some “cut and paste” nonsense, but a thoughtful note, which without asking, serves as an open invitation for me to return.

  • People want to be noticed, they want to be engaged; but mostly they want to be noticed.

7. This is a relationship first and foremost!!!!!

Almost everything we do in life will either add value to or detract from our relationships with others. This is even more of a challenge as we engage in social media. Decisions about your writing, and your character are made very quickly. You don’t have face time to try to recover, like in real life.

The challenge is to cultivate and cherish your readers; and you have precious few seconds to grab their attention.

If you do sell, don’t oversell, don’t be pushy, and don’t try to sell too early in the “relationship.” There is nothing that is more of a turn-off than feeling that you have been pulled into a faux-relationship, only to find out you are just there for the sale; you are just a number. I have unsubscribed from several blogs that I have otherwise enjoyed, because the focus shifted from engaging and enlightening to selling. In fact, just this past week, one of the leadership blogs that I particularly enjoy started pumping out emails about the great opportunity I was obviously not smart enough to purchase. I put up with the first 2 or 3. Then…..Click, and UnSub.

This is a relationship, and you should treat it as such.

Are you here to engage or just to sell?

Is this your mission and ministry, or are you just looking to make money?

It’s a relationship. Show up on time, and show up prepared. Set your schedule and stick to it. If you’re going to be off, or changing your schedule for posting, let your readers know. If you’re going to stop, say so. Like any relationship, if you disappoint them too many times, they will leave you.

8. Enjoy it!

This is the single most piece of advice I can give. If your blog becomes a drudgery, I can guarantee you that you will stop.

Bring your A-game every time out of respect for yourself and your readers. Bring your A-game because you should never bring anything less to your work, especially your ministry work. Bring your A-game every time, because you never know who is checking you out.

           Bring you’re A-game every time,              
and enjoy the ride!

What would you add to this list to help new bloggers?

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