• Blogging Etiquette for Small Businesses

Blogging Etiquette for BusinessSocial media encourages society to embrace the constant publicizing of one’s opinions, beliefs, and experiences. These networks have evolved into personal cyber megaphones for everyone to share their thoughts with the world.

For some, the notion of posting personal thoughts comes naturally. Many people can articulate their opinions with ease and feel comfortable sharing them with large audiences. Others however, have a harder time putting themselves out there.

Individuals can take liberties with their personal social media accounts, posting any type of content they want, whether it’s daily documentations of routines and experiences, the occasional vent, or nothing at all. However, managing your personal social media account is very different from managing the voice of your business’s blog.

This blog post will explain the dos and don’ts of small business blogging etiquette. We’ll show you how you can embrace a personable voice while maintaining a professional voice when writing for your business’s blog.

1. Be Conversational

Although your English teachers might have always forbidden you from starting sentences with “and” or “but,” this type of writing style is typical in conversational pieces. Nonetheless, make sure you don’t get carried away with your experimentation of the English language. Keep the sentences smooth and fluid.

When using a conversational tone, you should still bide by basic grammatical structures while experimenting with your literary voice. You don’t want your posts to be written in a formal and stiff voice. But (see what I did there? Starting a sentence with “but?”) anything in between those two extremes can work, as you find your own voice. Pretend you’re writing to a friend. At the end of the day, that’s what you’re trying to do; convince your audience that every one of them is your friend, and should follow your advice.

Another strategy to determine how you can write in your own voice is to record yourself having a conversation, and then typing out and editing what you say into complete sentences. This tone usually contains shorter sentences, and is in the first or second person. For small business blogs, it’s preferable to stick to second person as opposed to first. This informal writing style is discouraged in formal publications or projects, but it’s great for small business blogs.

2. Stay Consistent

Small business blogging serves as a means of building your brand’s personality. As you work to find your voice and topics to write about, make sure the material stays relatively consistent with the posts in your other marketing channels.

To test whether you’re maintaining a professional demeanor or not, consider how comfortable you are about having the blog post as a first impression of your business. The main reason for small business blog posts is to create material that will attract more traffic, and engage potential customers. Since this might be the first encounter a potential customer has with your business, you want your posts to be consistent with your branding.

Consider blogging as the “casual and friendly” face of your business. Engage your audience with a conversational tone, and provoke them to learn more about who you are.

3. Discuss Current Events

A strategy that allows one to be both personable and professional is to discuss current events in respect to the business or industry.

As discussed in the previous point, your blog posts should be consistent with the content and voice that audiences see on your website. That’s why  your blog posts should be related to your business or industry in some way or another.

If there’s a topic you’re passionate about, you can approach it from a unique angle. For example, during the 2014 World Cup, I was fascinated by the commercials that various companies came up with. Even though it didn’t have much to do with small business marketing, I found a unique and relevant angle to write from. The blog post reviewed various commercials and extracted marketing lessons that small business owners can use for their own marketing initiatives.

Blogging allows you to experiment with different strategies. By writing about various topics and events, the spectrum of people that you’ll reach will expand. Don’t be afraid to write about unconventional topics; just add your own twist and relate it back to your business.

4. Don’t Share Extreme Viewpoints

While there might be topics that you’re passionate about, sharing extreme viewpoints on political or social topics can drive away potential business. So, what type of topics should you avoid, and which should you consider?

In general, it’s recommended for small businesses to avoid controversial subjects. If a topic is controversial, blogging in support of one side or the other will alienate potential customers who  disagree with you. As passionate as you might be on controversial issues, it’s best to stay neutral, especially about politics.

Nonetheless, this point is not black and white and there may be some situations in which commenting on a controversial issue would be appropriate for a specific business. Be the judge and consider the costs and benefits of your decision.

Regardless, however, it’s important to avoid any sort of ranting or venting. Don’t allow your audience to associate your business with negativity.

In the end, it’s best to stick to current events that won’t make your audiences squirm or sigh. Sporting events, celebrity news, or national holidays all fall under this category.

5. Recount Experiences with Customers

A personable, professional, and ideal topic to write about is customer experiences.

This topic allows you to share with the public accounts on interactions that you’ve had with your customers. In so doing, you’re showing the personable and relatable side of your business. You’re giving your audience insight into how your customers are treated, and what they can expect from you and your employees.

 6. Don’t Speak Negatively or Without Permission

Before sharing information about your clients, make sure you have their permission to do so. Regardless of how positive the experience might have been, it’s always best to ask permission from the people involved before posting on the internet.

You must also avoid commenting on negative experiences you have with your customers. Just as negative customer reviews will hurt you, this negativity will be just as detrimental for your business if it’s coming from you. If you share customer interactions, make sure you stay as positive as possible. Your content serves as a reflection on your business, so make sure you associate yourself with positive experiences.

The benefits of small business blogging make it worth leaving your comfort zone. Just keep the language friendly and casual, talk about things that interest you and that relate to your business, and emit positive energy. Just keep calm and carry on blogging.

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