Blogging for your business. How personal should you get?

One of my franchise owners asked me how personal we should get on our business blogs. I had a very strong opinion but researched quite a bit trying to find out if the experts agreed or didn’t agree with my gut decision. I found a couple good articles but didn’t find as many articles as I thought I would have found. The article I found used this great metaphor of braiding.  It was by Shel Israel. I had heard of him before but checked him out a little anyway. He has a published book on Amazon called Naked Conversations with a 4.5 star rating out of 5 with 50 reviews. I am also looking for a great SM book but more about that in a subsequent post.

Shel uses a braiding metaphor. He says we should braid personal narrative into our business conversations just as we do when we meet face to fact. He uses the example of a business breakfast or business lunch. This is such a great example. Think about having a lunch with a vendor or client. It would make us look overly stiff if we could only talk about business. And generally, personal conversation goes a little further than the weather report. We might talk about something we did over the weekend – participate in a race, go biking or maybe attend a great movie. These are safe things to talk about, don’t pin us down to any sort of strange personality or political leaning, and make us seem more real. What’s also important is the length of time we “weave” this personal narrative into our business conversation. This amount of time is small but this part of the braiding is very important.

So, I decided to take the braiding metaphor even further and to identify the 3 strands of the metaphor. The first is, obviously, business appropriate personal, the second strand is pure business and the third strand is the message or relate. Here’s the difference between the business and the message. The business strand is the content. This is the subject of the article/post. The message is why we are writing the post and how it relates to the reader. For example, one of our Outdoor Lighting franchise partners from Northern Virginia does a great job blogging. They wrote a post about burying low-voltage wires. This is the subject. The third part, the message, is the relate. This is why it matters to the reader. In the post, they go on to state why this is important. It also demonstrates why you need a professional outdoor lighting company instead of using a landscaper who either doesn’t know or doesn’t follow the code.

So the 1,2,3 of business blogging braiding is business-appropriate personal, subject/content, and message.


Why We Blog About Our Business

Some of you may wonder if it’s worth your time to blog about your business. After all, time is money and just thinking about what to write about for all those posts or articles makes you wonder how long you can keep it up. You’re trying to manage your business and don’t really need another task added to your plate of weekly activities, right?
Let me tell you, my husband and I thought about those “issues” too, and we bit the bullet and did it anyway. Want to know why?

Our interactive marketing director made some simple suggestions on different avenues we could explore to increase our on-line presence. A blog was one suggestion. Sure, why not? I’m close to 30, so I knew some friends who were into that, but I really did not know much about it. We went to opened a new account, picked a template, customized, and started writing! Patrick would write posts at night when he was home from work, I would edit it, then publish and voilà! We became “bloggers.” Patrick writes new posts every few days (sometimes he writes drafts when he is working during the day on his handy dandy iPhone) and I contribute quite frequently too.

Really, what does it boil down to? Why do we decide to maintain a blog for our business? The answer is: We want our prospects (and customers) to find out more about our business and about us. Have you ever felt limited by how much content you can put on your web page? If you put too much technical information on it, it feels overwhelming to the consumer. If you put too much personal information it may seem cheesy or borderline unprofessional, or perhaps just a sales pitch to use us because “we’re a family business and look isn’t our little baby just the cutest?”

Guess what? A blog is the perfect forum to really “express yourself” and share all the different aspects of your business. Patrick does great posts on particular lighting installations or service work we have done (thus keeping our blog fresh and relevant), technological advancements in lighting, his personal lighting design preferences, and the list goes on. I chime in with posts on lighting from a “non-technical” aspect, special events our company participates in, lighting related events/activities in our area, my thoughts on small family businesses, family fun in our region, updates on our family (yes, Patrick and I love to brag about our son who of course was the “cutest baby ever“), and so on.

Does blogging take up time? Sure it does, but think of it as a way to promote your business, give more insight into how your business operates and what sets you apart, and establish yourself as an “expert” in your field. During each day, remember to jot down ideas for your posts and maybe write quick drafts when something comes to your mind. Have your head installer or LCA technician write guest posts about a certain job you did in which you solved a problem for a customer or somehow went above-and-beyond to make sure the customer was well taken care of. Write posts about working with your favorite trade alliances and how their work compliments yours or vice versa (and be sure to e-mail a link to them to better solidify your partnership). This way blogging about your business won’t seem as time-consuming or overwhelming.

We’ve gotten positive comments and results from our past five months of blogging (I’ll blog about the specific ROI sometime in another future post). You can get results too! Guess what else? It’s free! Now you have no excuse not to try it out. So bite the bullet and start blogging about your business!

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So, the traffic on my own personal blog basically stinks. But on Friday I work in my daughter’s classroom for about an hour. I come home and emote onto my blog about how amazing teachers are and how I can’t possibly fathom how they do it all. I do a few things, go out shopping, have some lunch, and go to do another post. I take a look at my stats and see a bump on my views. So I think I might have had 20 people or so look at it. Then I looked at the scale and it was over 200!! This was in a matter of hours.

So, has the most amazing stats. You are able to click on the blip for that day and it tells you what articles people viewed, what they searched for, what sites sent people, etc.

I saw that the high volume traffic was coming from

I looked up it up and it’s truly legit. It’s a really cool site where when you go to their page, they rotate WordPress blogs that are being updated and published right at that moment. So, you get to see the freshest news hot off the “wire”.

I read some more about the site and they said they were working on a personalization engine that could allow people to see updated blogs that were specifically aligned to their personal preferences. That would be great.

But here’s the real aHa. If you do a post about them, your post is automatically picked up on their site. Take a look at how my traffic went from negligible, to over 200 when my teacher article was picked up, to over 900 when I wrote a post about their site.

I highly recommend it for both viewing enjoyment and also for SEO.