Charlie White and John Briggs have written a book for bloggers called Bloggers Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog. They are good people to do this, having been at Gizmodo, TechCrunch, and a host of other cool places before ending up at Mashable and CrunchGear, respectively.
You can read an excerpt of this book at TechCrunch, and you should, because it’s an enjoyable read. The book isn’t really about blogging for your company at your corporate website, but if you follow the advice in it, you will be more likely to have a successful blog of any sort. If you are, like many of our clients, thinking that you’d like to do your own company blogging but not sure how to go about it, this is a good starting point.
The first couple of chapters are about finding something to write about and setting up your blog, neither of which is likely to be an issue if you’re thinking of blogging for business. Chances are you have a blog at your website because you know it’s good for business, and you aren’t writing anything there. It sits on your company site, mocking you or calling out to you plaintively that posting about the company picnic eight months ago just wasn’t enough to count as inbound marketing.
The set up information is followed by several chapters on writing: how to improve your writing, how to find things to write about, how to add more media, how to work with PR people, how to avoid mixing up “it’s” and “its” — stuff like that. It’s all good advice.
Chapter 7, “Mob Rule, Inciting a Riot, and Freedom of Speech,” is an entertaining look at controversy and commenting, how to build a community and what to do with it once you’ve built it. Frankly, few business blogs can afford to be inciting riots, however well it draws traffic. Read “Who’s Wearing the Underwear?” for more on this point.
The next section gives information on how to use social media to spread the word about your blog and how to use analytics to determine whether you’ve done a good job of spreading the word. This section discusses Google Analytics as well as alternatives and has some great basic information. There is a discussion of monetizing your blog with ads, not something you would probably choose to do for your company blog.
The book finishes up with a chapter on ethics, on how to build the next blogging empire, and an appendix with health and wellbeing tips for the professional blogger. Click through the title to read my more general review of the book (and lots of other peoples’ reviews as well). I’d say that most of the information in the final section is also not for the company blogger.
If you’re blogging for your company, however, you will certainly be more successful if you can write good blog posts, and this book has plenty of useful suggestions on this topic. There are plenty of screen shots and stories from the authors’ extensive experience, and you may finish reading and feel energized about the idea of blogging.