Blogging Dos and Don'ts from MITX

Posted by Jessica Winston on Fri, Oct 1, 2010

Recently I got into a debate about the things people should and shouldn't do on company blogs. Some company blogs have multiple contributors from within the organization, while others have a dedicated blogger (or at least that's what they'd have you believe - ah, ghost writers).

So, in an environment where you have multiple contributors, as we do here at MITX, what are the best practices? I'd love your thoughts, so please chime in below!

Here are some to start off the conversation:

1. A picture's worth a thousand words. Include a graphic or picture that is relevant to the story. There are a lot of us with A.D.D. who may be swayed into reading your blog based on the creative picture you use. Sad but true.

C  Documents and Settings Gena My Documents My Pictures Blog Photos 071101 business blogging1 tExample: The graphic on the left might be the deciding factor in determining if a casual reader will take the time to read your blog post. This graphic pertains to the topic (even if we don't agree with this practice – see points 6 and 7) and is a little provocative.

2. Short story or 800 page novel - your choice. But I'd guess with the limited amount of time people have, shorter is better. That said, I have two cautions:

  • If you have something resembling "War and Peace," post it over a few days as a series.
  • If your article is very short, try to beef it up to at least 250 words.

3. Blog titles are your hook, so spend a little time choosing them, and consider adding in any key words or phrases you use in your SEO.

4. Whenever you mention someone, it’s a courtesy to link to them at least once. Include the link, and once published, be sure to let them know and invite them to comment on the article.

5. Always set links to open in a new window. No, seriously. Always. Remember, I have the attention span of a gnat, so if I see a link that catches my eye I may move on before I ever finish your story and realize how brilliant you truly are. (And let's face it - you are!)

6. Own your relationships.  Please disclose if you promote a company that is a business partner, particularly if they pay you. If you do anything else, it could come back to haunt you later. It's just easier to own it up front. (BTW, HubSpot is a partner of MITX, and Brian Halligan is on our Board of Directors.)

7. Use your head. It may go without saying, but I’m saying it anyway: companies can be held responsible for statements made by employees that are harmful to others. So while I know you’re all gentle souls, I would ask you to re-read the copy to look for anything that might inadvertently be taken badly, and tweak accordingly.

8. Content is King.  It may feel challenging to keep your blog fresh sometimes, particularly if you're not Chris Brogan.  I think there are two keys to this:

  • Write about whatever you're passionate about.
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Marketing via blog is fine, as long as it's not "in your face." That means different things to different people, but try to make sure you provide value to your readers in whatever you post.

9. Reinforce your company’s core values. At MITX, we focus on: 10. Relax and have fun. Always.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?