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Saturday, 4 October 2008

Blogging should be a key strategy for any social start-up or even an established one, primarily because of the collaborative nature of social activity plus the need to build profile and audience ahead of trying to raise funding.

After almost a year of posting I've learned a lot about the value of blogging and how to keep it going, both from a writer and reader perspective. Here's some strategic tips in case you're thinking about starting one either for yourself or your enterprise... social or otherwise!
  1. Think about your blog strategy:
    Figure out what you want to achieve from the blog, then figure out the audience you need. Find the common ground between the two in terms of topics, and start writing about them.

  2. Stay focused on your topics:
    Once you've figured out your strategy, stay focused on it. If you want subscribers you need to stay specific to the audience you want to build. People don't usually subscribe to generic blogs or those that try to cover too many categories because they don't want to be bombarded by stuff they aren't interested in. We're information overloaded as it is, so it may be good for driving search traffic, but terrible for building regular readership.

  3. Don't go crazy with your Tags:
    Select and reduce the number of Tags you use so that they clearly reflect what your blog is about. They should become like a navigation menu rather than a random list of words. See my categories on the right for example. Tag clouds are fun too, but people who aren't into blogs (and thats most of them) don't know what they mean. They also don't attract as much traffic as you'd expect.

  4. Don't confuse your professional blog for a personal one:
    If you've created an info-blog, don't use it as a dumping ground for your opinions on random things, however passionate you are about those. Your subscribers are a trapped audience but they really don't appreciate you abusing their time by switching into 'speakers corner' mode every so often. With the US elections I'm seeing a lot of this... social enterprise bloggers, retail bloggers, innovation bloggers etc etc all chucking in posts about their opinions on US politics. It usually makes me tempted to unsubscribe.

  5. Maintain a sensible level of readability:
    No one has time to read lengthy discourses on anything. They need enough detail to gain value, but short enough to pick it up quickly. Short bullet points make all the difference. With this post for example, I've written enough to provide an explanation if you wanted it, but also split out summary titles as bullet points in case you didn't have time to read all this text.

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