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Prevailing Wisdom

 

TEN BLOG COMMANDMENTS

by Bill Arnold
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They said it was easy, just start writing. If only writing blogs were that simple.

We have all been there. You grab a cup of coffee and sit down in a quiet space to compose the next article, which will astound the world. Then, nothing…. Maybe I need just a few more cups of coffee.

Well, before you start bouncing off the wall, take a moment to deconstruct the process and relax. After all, that blog will still be waiting for you tomorrow.

In the spirit of Hamilton the Musical, which may be the best play ever (sorry Shakespeare), I have written the Ten Blog Commandments. It blatantly lifts from the musical and its theme. I just hope Lin-Manuel Miranda has a sense of humor or that New Jersey has outlawed dueling (“Everything is legal in New Jersey”).

music-note.png1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…. Ten Blog Commandmentsmusic-note.png

Number 1 – The Challenge - Demand a Topic

Picking a blog topic is never easy. First, it must be something you know enough to churn out at least 600 words (1,500 and your golden). So what to write about…

If you’re not in sales, talk to your sales person and ask them what questions potential clients have been asking. Often, these are the best blog topics, since real people are asking about them. One caveat, it can’t be a question about your product or service (always a catch). It needs to be something more worldly. In the past week, we have been asked pricing, the nature of our services, and where do we get our blog topics - (see it works).

If you get stuck for a topic, try out the HubSpot Blog Topic Generator. Here is an example of how it works.

 

Number 2 – Grab a Copywriter – That’s your Second

So, you figured out a topic that will mesmerize the world, but that will never happen if your blog is filled with spelling errors or grammatical gaffs. Have your Second proof the document to ensure that Hamilton would approve.

Number 3 – Have your Designer and Copywriter (Seconds) – Meet face to face

Alright, they don’t actually have to meet face to face, but a little camaraderie wouldn’t hurt either. The point is, you need cool images. Blogs with just words can be terribly boring. So, your Second should negotiate the imagery or negotiate who is going to tell you to scrap the blog altogether.

This is common place. Most of my blogs die, and nobody is worse off.

Number 4 – If they don’t kill the article, that is alright – Time to get the SEO expert on site

Hopefully, you wrote the blog using your normal tone and words. I tried Shakespeare before, and all I got were angry English teachers. But, you also have to speak Google. Your SEO expert will strategically, and hopefully without changing the tone or context, insert key words that Google will love and share with the world.

Remember to treat your SEO expert with civility, and before you publish the blog, have him turn around so he can have deniability.

Number 5 – Before the sun is in the sky – Pick the best time to publish your blog

You might actually get in a duel about the best time to publish a blog. If it is for a business, then usually Monday – Friday are the best days, and 9 AM and 11 AM EST tend to work best. However, experiment; try different times, and see what gets the best results.

Number 6 – Leave some social posts for your next of kin

After all, your family needs to know that you have a published a blog so they can all like and retweet/share it with their friends. (Who else is going to care?)

All blogs deserve the chance to be loved. So, share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (the last one was just so we did not offend the Google gods). Pray that Google (Hell or Heaven – Depends on the day), let’s you in.

Number 7 – Consent to have the blog comments

Yes, I understand your scared that someone may actually read your blog and think you’re an idiot. Its okay. First, no one is going to read your blog (besides Mom and Dad). But, if someone does read it and leaves a nasty comment, they are the only person who will have read it. If they make a nasty comment, nobody will know.

But, let’s pretend lots of readers will see it. Allowing visitors to leave comments turns your site into a community where they can ask questions, share their views, and become friends.

Okay, you're right. None of that will happen, but Mom still wants a place she can say, “Good job, Sweetie."

Number 8 – Last Chance to Proof

Before you pull the trigger and release your blog, take a moment to read it to ensure you are not making a complete fool of yourself. (If you are reading this blog, I obviously did not heed my own advice).

Remember, once you post, the blog will live on for eternity. Once online, it has a life of its own.

I sent in my Seconds, and they agreed this whole concept was dumb and immature, sir, but I retorted that I love Hamilton and have to pay it homage even if I get sued….They warned me this could be ruinous… but I said

"So we are doing it"

Number 9 – When your boss tells you it’s bad – Look him in the eye

Tell him with all the courage you can muster that this is hip, and he is just too old to get it.  Tell him this will go viral and make him proud. The fact I used "hip" shows that I am too old.

Count

music-note.png1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…. Ten Blog Commandmentsmusic-note.png

Number 10 - PUBLISH

My apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda, the entire cast and crew, and everyone who has seen Hamilton.  It could not be helped. I had to take my shot.

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