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How to Business Blog Without Being Unprofessional

Since my limitations post yesterday I have had a couple of people ask me how they can blog about their work without breaking confidences or getting fired.

Writing on your blog is not gossip. While you could get plenty of traffic from your industry by spreading juicy titbits about your competitors and colleagues you will more likely grab yourself a bad reputation rather than more work or industry profile.

Language can be an issue. I am not talking about swearing and such, most business people would know better than to drop bad language into a marketing tool. What I mean is tone and sophistication. You have to fit the voice to the audience. Of course I am pretty laid back here on this blog, while there are quite a few CEOs reading they tend to not be the stuffy stiff necked types (I know, I get emails from them!). You have to tune the language you use appropriately.

The best type of posts you can make, particularly in a service industry, is successful case studies.

  • What was their situation like before?
  • What were their goals or problem?
  • How did you work with them?
  • How did everything work out?

Most clients would be glad of the publicity, you just need to speak to them and get permission. Obviously some will not want specifics mentioning (particularly figures) or even to be named. That’s all fine. What matters is results and that you provide enough detail to be believable.

Talk to your clients about it and you won’t get into trouble. Going behind their backs is when you start getting into the sticky stuff.

The same is true when you want to write about exciting happenings in your own business. I imagine bloggers at Apple and Microsoft have a real hard time keeping mouths shut. There will be policies on what can and can not be talked about. If not, get some. Fast.

Many companies have footers on their emails

  • NOT to be repeated or reproduced
  • OK to email to company
  • OK to email outside company to specified individuals
  • Freely distribute

You can do the same and add a tick box for blogging if freely distribute doesn’t cover that.

Most business niches have news, tactics and events that are safe to blog about. This though is mostly filler. You can get that stuff anywhere. To make it more valuable you need to dig deep and find your hook or angle on it.

The best solution, if you haven’t already got a rich source of content to draw on, is to create some news. Could you run a competition? A survey? Interview some industry figures?

These don’t need to be massive ventures, scale to fit. While one past client of mine had a terrific success year on year with a global survey that was mentioned in television and newspapers around the world, another simply surveyed their own clients and as well as producing an excellent PR story also learned a great deal about what their customers look for and feel.

Bottom line you need to answer the question; “Could this have appeared on a competitors blog with no major changes?“. If the answer is yes you have a bland post and you need to work on it some more.

Just remember you can be interesting without being unprofessional. Focus on your reader. What is useful to them? How have you or your products helped people and businesses just like them?

Most of all, what makes you different to all the other businesses they could go to?

Do you have a business blog? How do you make it interesting while being professional? What do you write about? Let me know in the comments …

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Comments

  1. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this post. This does answer a lot of the questions I was asking you in the previous post.

    I think I will need to come up with a strategy for our business blog.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  2. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this post. This does answer a lot of the questions I was asking you in the previous post.

    I think I will need to come up with a strategy for our business blog.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  3. As a member of IT for a major commercial aerospace manufacturer we are regularly asked to write about some success we had with some hardware or software solution. The company has a policy that we not use the company name in anything that would be an endorsement of a product. So while we can talk about how great the hardware or software is, we have to have it be a personal endorsement. I guess when you have huge purchasing agreements with numerous vendors you don’t want to make one vendor mad by endorsing a competitor.

  4. As a member of IT for a major commercial aerospace manufacturer we are regularly asked to write about some success we had with some hardware or software solution. The company has a policy that we not use the company name in anything that would be an endorsement of a product. So while we can talk about how great the hardware or software is, we have to have it be a personal endorsement. I guess when you have huge purchasing agreements with numerous vendors you don’t want to make one vendor mad by endorsing a competitor.

  5. @Corporate Identity Blog – is that your real name? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good I am glad it clears some things up for you but you know where I am if you still struggle

    @Steve – I can see how that could be tricky. Another way around it is to mention the product category that helped (xyz type storage system, routers that have a abc function, “leading brand of …”) but yeah its not half as good as being specific.

  6. @Corporate Identity Blog – is that your real name? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good I am glad it clears some things up for you but you know where I am if you still struggle

    @Steve – I can see how that could be tricky. Another way around it is to mention the product category that helped (xyz type storage system, routers that have a abc function, “leading brand of …”) but yeah its not half as good as being specific.

  7. You have discussed a very important issue. If you post the blogs with client consent, there should not be any problem. But you must respect and comply with NDA and other documents you have signed.

    RajeshShakya.com

  8. You have discussed a very important issue. If you post the blogs with client consent, there should not be any problem. But you must respect and comply with NDA and other documents you have signed.

    RajeshShakya.com

  9. Chris,

    Interesting post. We just launched a new blog on the Trump University site that is specific to marketing and entrepreneurs. I am trying to take a different approach with this blog as compared to the Donald Trump Blog. If you have a moment I would be interest to hear what you think about the blog so far. Here is the blog

    Thanks.
    Josef Katz

  10. Chris,

    Interesting post. We just launched a new blog on the Trump University site that is specific to marketing and entrepreneurs. I am trying to take a different approach with this blog as compared to the Donald Trump Blog. If you have a moment I would be interest to hear what you think about the blog so far. Here is the blog

    Thanks.
    Josef Katz

  11. @Rajesh – NDAs, yeah best not to mess with them ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Josef – Looks good, I think you are missing a blog from your blogroll though? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. @Rajesh – NDAs, yeah best not to mess with them ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Josef – Looks good, I think you are missing a blog from your blogroll though? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. My bad and easily fixed. Purely an oversight since I have your blog in my RSS feeder.

  14. My bad and easily fixed. Purely an oversight since I have your blog in my RSS feeder.

  15. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Hi Chris,

    My name is Mon, I’m from the Philippines and am the Marketing Manager for an online game publishing firm called Level Up (http://levelupgames.ph). I run a blog to help market our products and services – http://gmtristan.com

    Thanks to this post and your blog, I get good ideas for content everyday. I just started 3 months ago and am making good progress in traffic so far. As an added question, is it ok to include my blog URL in our corporate website?

    Thanks in advance.

  18. Hi Chris,

    My name is Mon, I’m from the Philippines and am the Marketing Manager for an online game publishing firm called Level Up (http://levelupgames.ph). I run a blog to help market our products and services – http://gmtristan.com

    Thanks to this post and your blog, I get good ideas for content everyday. I just started 3 months ago and am making good progress in traffic so far. As an added question, is it ok to include my blog URL in our corporate website?

    Thanks in advance.