Ed Note: if all this is old hat for you, consider entering the 3p writing contest to show off your skills. Entries are due Dec 29th!
The benefits of blogging from a professional perspective are endless. Blogging can help you build a personal brand, gain recognition as a subject expert, network with professional colleagues, test out new ideas and get feedback on them. It’s a great medium and if you enjoy writing, it’s fun to boot. Yet, I know so many smart people in real life who have not gotten into blogging. It’s easier than you think! Here are my tips for getting started:
- Keep it simple, smarty
A lot of new bloggers get hung up on trying to share an idea that has never been shared before in all of humanity. It’s as if they get overwhelmed by the enormous amount of content on the internet and think they need to match it with a brilliantly unique diatribe that is the length of a dissertation. You’re better off saying one smart nugget and saving the rest for your next 5 posts than trying to cram a whole theory into a single post if it’s too complicated to explain in a couple of pages.
- Avoid endless background
For a subject matter blog like Triple Pundit, it’s safe to assume that your readers are familiar with the reasons why global warming is bad, or the reasons why biking is good. Don’t make them scan to half way down your post to get to the good stuff. Give them a link or two to background so you don’t alienate new readers and then get right to the point.
- Keep it brief
It turns out that readers of the internet have short attention spans. [see the infinity of other options available for reading.] Ideal post length is 400-600 words at 3p. That means less is more.
- Write for the distracted
Yes, internet readers are a fickle bunch. Rather than fight it, you should assume your audience has email alerts, text messages, and humans asking questions all competing for your readers attention. Make it easy on them. Write short paragraphs with short, clear sentence structure. Bold your subject headers for easy scanning.
- Keep it fun
I like to remind new writers that our audience are business people on their lunch breaks. Yes, they are smart and professional and passionate about sustainable business, but they are probably reading the internet because they are taking a break from the heavy part of their work day. Make your prose interesting and fun to read, and you’ll make the smart stuff easier to comprehend.
- Make it timely
A post on the Kyoto Protocol is probably not going to get a ton of traffic since it was signed in 1997 and will expire in 2012. That doesn’t mean that all is lost for Kyoto experts. No, no, no. Pair that old idea with a fresh one and suddenly you have the perfect angle for a blog post. Try a comparison between the process that led to the signing of Kyoto with the recent sputtering failure in Cancun. Share your ideas about what caused the change in outcome (feel free to borrow that one- I’m no Kyoto expert)
- Don’t write in a vacuum
It’s called the web for a reason. Other bloggers will be more likely to read your posts if you respond to something they’ve written, especially if you link to it. Be generous with your links! It will garner you goodwill and bloggers will notice because they’ll get a record of the trackback. This all adds up to more interesting discourse and ultimately more traffic, which is a good thing for everyone.
- Put your own spin on your content
With so much information on the web, there’s no way your content will be the most bestest unique thing ever. Don’t put pressure on yourself to meet that standard. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be producing something a little bit different.If you’re struggling to think of a green business topic that is timely and interesting, try looking at a business articles on a site like Forbes until you find one that has an unexplored social or environmental impact to it. Boom! This trick works the other way as well. Look at environmental sites like Grist or Mongabay and find an unexplored business angle: is there a way to solve that problem with a business solution? Triple Pundit readers would love to hear about that!
Think you’ve got what it takes? Consider entering the Triple Pundit Year End Writing Contest. The prompt is “reflect on the year in sustainable business” – but we’ll take pretty much anything that is interesting and well written on the topic of sustainable business.
Have tips I forgot to mention? Add your own in the comments!