Here at Border Crossing Media we always try something before we recommend it.  This month I have signed myself up for the HubSpot Inbound Marketing University. I hope that after my 16 hours of lectures and homework assignments I’ll get a nice shiny badge and will have picked up some useful information along the way.

My first lecture has been ‘How to Blog Effectively for Business’ and my homework is to write a blog piece about 3 best practices for blogging.  So I have watched the video, listened to the questions and even printed out and scrawled all over the slides.  But was it interesting

Some of it was and whilst the rest of it was fairly obvious it is always good to get a gentle reminder as to what you should be doing.  I have picked out three of their recommendations that I fully agree with and that we recommend to our Clients who are going to commence blogging:

1. Be a content creator.

This seems obvious but is often missed.  You are creating content that your Customers or users will want to read IN ADDITION to the information that is already available on your site.  Your blog is a smart way to create organic SEO and interact with your Customers outside of your usual activities.   Most blog readers are very internet savvy.  They won’t be fooled by a blog post that is trying to upsell a product or service as a post of any value.  That is not to say that you can’t talk about your services or products at all in blogs, just make sure that you are giving added value to your reader and that the reason for the post is for additional information and not a marketing ploy.

2. Its a way of life

This is probably the hardest bit in many ways.  If you start a blog, you have to keep going.  There is nothing worse than coming across a blog that started in Jan 2009 and only has post up to March 2009.  Even if the company  has gone from strength to strength the blog leaves the reader with a negative perception of the company.  Therefore before you commence your company blog you have to make sure that you will commit to it in the long term.

One piece of advice that we have recently given our clients is to trial how much blog content you can produce in a week and see how many people are interested in reading it.  The Client in question wanted a bespoke blog to be built and released before they had even tested the waters or tried to write a piece.  Now I know that the Client has time constraints as it is, so I wasn’t sure they’d have the extra hours to generate content and administer the blog.  Rather than sell them a site that they don’t need and then upsell administrating it for them we recommended that they use their Facebook Page and if it takes off after a couple of months we’ll build them a  blog. If it doesn’t they have’nt lost any money nor will they see a negative impact on their perception as an organization.

3. Be open about your commenting policy

One of the main advantages of writing a blog piece is that the reader is able to leave a comment to express their opinion. This is a great way to start a two-way conversation and engage with your customers or users. However nothing will put off a reader more than leaving a comment and then seeing it disappear or maybe never appearing. The solution to this is to be upfront and open about your commenting policy.

We personally have all comments modified. This is because we receive a lot of spam comments on our blog.  If you leave a comment I will get an email and then I can decide whether it goes up or not.  You may think this is just censorship but please let me confirm that we only refuse comments that are spam or offensive.  Any other comment would make it up.

Before you start your blog you should decide on how you want to moderate comments.   Be open on your blog and let people know so that if they leave you a comment they do not feel that either your blog doens’t work or their comment is not important enough to go up or that you are ignoring them.

So those are 3 best pratices for blogging but what would you recommend as a blogging best practice?  Leave me a comment and I promise we won’t ignore you!

Esther Stringer

Esther is our Managing Director and Research lead at Border Crossing UX.