Paul Gillin and I have been having lots of fun doing a weekly podcast series called TechPRwarStories. Paul, for those of you that don’t know him, has been in the high tech publishing business as long as I have, starting TechTarget and running Computerworld’s editorial back in the pre-Web days. He recently wrote this post which I thought you might enjoy:
One of the most common questions I get is should I start a blog for my business, and it’s one of the most difficult to answer. Although plenty of social media consultants will tell you that business blogging is a no-brainer, the reality is that the medium isn’t for everybody. Here are some factors to consider in deciding whether to enter the blogosphere and a little quiz you can take to determine if the blogosphere is right for your business. Answer appropriately and then total up your score.
Do you want to do it? A blog isn’t a short-term project. Once you start, you need to consistently update your site, at least once per week. The novelty will quickly wear off, so ask yourself whether you have the stamina and a wellspring of ideas to keep you going beyond the first few months.
Yes: 5 points; No: 0 points
Do you have a topic in mind? Ideally, your topic should be expressible in less than a dozen words displayed under your blog title. This isn’t always easy. Some markets (marketing, entertainment and sports, for example) have hundreds or thousands of bloggers. In an environment like that, you need to focus your topic very precisely. Other markets (architecture and construction, for example) are nearly wide open. Pick a theme for your blog and be sure it doesn’t duplicate what’s already being said. The more distinctive your topic, the faster you’ll achieve success.
Yes: 3 points; No: 0 points
Are you passionate about the topic? Good blogs have personality and personality is a product of enthusiasm. That doesn’t mean you need to be a cheerleader; in fact, some very successful blogs are negative in tone. It does mean that your topic should be something that you can talk about for hours, because that’s basically what you’ll be doing with your blog.
Yes: 3 points; No: 1 point
Are you knowledgeable about the topic? A public forum isn’t the place to go to school, particularly if you represent a business. It’s important to engage in dialogue and learn something from your readers, but you should also have a point of view backed by expertise and experience that makes you credible.
Yes: 2 points; No: 0 points
Do you communicate well? Some people don’t, and a blog is probably not the right promotional vehicle for them. You don’t necessarily have to be a good writer; many successful bloggers use video and sound to great effect. But you do need to be able to express your thoughts coherently in some form.
Yes: 2 points; No: 1 point Do you have a thick skin? If you’re opinionated enough to sustain a blog, you need to accept the fact that others may differ with you. Assuming you accept comments (and I strongly recommended that you do), be prepared for some pointed response to what you say.
Yes: 2 points; No: 1 point
12 or more points: What are you waiting for?
8 to 12 points: You’re on track, but you need more focus or enthusiasm
5 to 8 points: Think hard about whether this is the right vehicle for you
Less than 5 points: Don’t bother