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Effective use of blogs in a business setting requires understanding several key attributes. Among these are: voice, frequency, style, and passion. Each attribute represents a component of an overall personality for the blog and will determine the types of audience that will find the blog useful or interesting. Blogs can be written from many different perspectives. A blog’s voice refers to the way the entries are presented and worded. For most blogs, this means a departure from a journalism type voice where facts and events are described, and instead creating an everyday conversation that makes the messages sound personal to the readers. Most blogs are not a collection of articles. Instead, readers expect to find specific opinions, and a representation of the person doing the writing. When comparing blog entries to newspaper writing, it is helpful to think of the blogs being more similar to opinion columns and editorials than to headline articles. A blog’s voice will embody the approach the writer takes for communication. Blogs often use humor, sarcasm, self-deprecation, irony, over-the-top seriousness, or other approaches to create a voice that captures the readers’ attention.
A second attribute of a blog’s personality is the frequency with which articles are published. Remember blogs are a form of technology that allows the writer’s material to be instantly available to the public. Timely material can be published and a sense of immediacy may be expected of the blog. So, when a significant event occurs, it is helpful to update the blog right away. It is also helpful for the readers if the writer of the blog never allows more than a predetermined time to pass without adding an article. Depending on the audience and the goals for a blog, this might be a day, a week, or some other time frame. Most people subscribe to blogs so your updates will automatically become available to them when you publish an entry. It can be a fine balance between too many entries and not enough. By monitoring your blog’s traffic statistics, you can eventually determine a good entry frequency approach.
Blog style can also be important to success and readership. A blog that looks amateurish will reflect on readers’ perceptions of your business. Most blog hosting sites offer themes which are preformatted configurations. Themes may be free or they may be premium and cost money. Thousands of customizable themes are available for use on WordPress.
Finally, blogs need to exhibit passion for the subject covered. They work best as direct-to-the-point entries that don’t get too wordy or long. The following suggestions can help a writer ensure their material conveys passion:
Read Fresh and Though-Provoking Material: Don’t limit your reading to current news and the same blog entries that everyone else reads. The writing in your blog will reflect it. It will lack freshness and fail to have a unique voice. Writing output directly relates to reading input. Absorb new and fresh ideas by observing the world, by talking to people working in related areas, by reading old and usual books, and by spending time reflecting and thinking. It is possible to discover useful subject matter not related to your blog that will add value because of the author’s style or way of approaching topics. It is possible to find unexpected inspiration and new ways of viewing your topics from these alternative sources.
Blogs Don’t Need to be Balanced: Blogs are useful in conveying an opinion. Remember, people reading blogs will read more than just your company blog. For a specific blog entry, it is better to choose a direction and make a strong case for it. Reader comments can provide alternative points of view and perhaps build a case for the opposing set of arguments. This is a good way to create a discussion online. If an entry is meant to influence readers, provide them with the best arguments for your opinion. This will convey passion.
Passion becomes the elusive but essential component to powerful and compelling writing. A blog entry with passion will unleash the opinions of others and compel them to reply and provide their thoughts to the community a business blog seeks to build. Passion will ensure a blog’s message is carried beyond the website. Good writing may challenge opinions, offer alternatives to the traditional, and even offend or scare some readers. A passionate entry may be proven wrong and perhaps ruffle feathers but it will change minds and help build a reader base.
From: Web 2.0 and Social Media for Business by Roger McHaney, 2012