10 Dos and Don'ts of starting a business blog

The variables and planning required for starting a business versus a personal blog have some overlap, but business blogs need to be more strategic from the beginning. With a little creativity and a solid strategy, nearly any business can start and run a successful, informative, useful blog for its customers, prospects and other stakeholders. Here are a few considerations that should be taken into account.

  1. DO have a plan. Setting up a Blogger account and throwing a few thoughts related to your business out there isn't a plan. If you're blogging to share knowledge and generate leads, you need to have a solid strategy that supports your business' mission and vision.

  2. DON'T rely on design to carry you. Appearances mean nothing if you don't have a steady stream of solid content to share, (though an appealing design that reinforces your brand is still a good idea). Brainstorm and come up with 10 blog post ideas before you move forward.

  3. DO create an editorial calendar. Take those 10 post ideas you brainstormed and decide the frequency you're going to post and set up a calendar. If you need a review process for consistent messaging, build that into your timelines.

  4. DON'T forget to promote. You've got a great design and content that's going to help your prospects and customers, but how do you get eyeballs looking at it? You can't rely on customers to just happen across your blog. That may happen, but be proactive - share to Twitter, Facebook, professional associations, industry and other link-sharing sites.

  5. DO be consistent. Are you committed to posting daily? That's a tall order, but it's doable with the right resources. Weekdays only? Three times a week? Whatever the frequency, be consistent. Actively look for new topics to explore so that the ideas don't run dry.

  6. DON'T air dirty laundry. I once saw a ranty blog post by a company that indicated the company wasn't performing up to standard. It was less an apology than a criticism of staff. Had I been a prospect, I wouldn't have purchased their product. If I was already a customer, I'd have cancelled my contract.

  7. DO edit, edit and edit some more. Or let someone who's a proofreading whiz read your content before you hit publish. If at all possible it's best to avoid spelling and grammar errors that stick out and detract from your message.

  8. DON'T be afraid of criticism. Even if you're writing what you know, there will be criticism and differing points of view. It' all part of the conversation. Engage with respect and respect will be returned.

  9. DO have community guidelines. Also known as terms of use, this gives you the authority to moderate comments that are inappropriate or deliberately provoking a reaction.

  10. DON'T get caught up in "best practices". You can follow the formula that this blogger uses or go with another, but the best practice would be to determine the formula that works for you and your audience.

Blogging can be a rewarding (and even fun) way to share knowledge that pertains to your business with others. It can take time to grow your blog's following, but building a base of content that can be re-purposed in other areas is never a waste of resources.

What business(es) would you like to see start a blog? What advice would you give them?