Welcome to the third installment of effective of blogging online. This time I would like to talk about the finer points of blogging etiquette. There are no set rules, just as there are no rules about etiquette in real life. There are, however, common sense points and guidelines that will make your blog civil, effective, and nice.
The term of etiquette is subjective and will vary from blog to blog, and how the blogger wants his/her blog to be presented to the world.
For the Blogger
- Keep in mind and be aware that you’re writing for a global audience. Even though your blog may be a personal one, it’s still public and accessible to anyone, just as a corporate blog is.
- “Navel gazing” is not a good idea. It’s no longer interesting to tell the world what you had for lunch or dinner, and whether you burped 20 times today. To find an audience, write about a specifictopic (such as your products and services) which you believe you’re good at.
- Be creative, be original, do not repeat yourself—I repeat, do not repeat yourself. And be creative.
- Don’t be afraid to have an opinion, even in a company blog. It doesn’t hurt to belong to one side of the fence. This might make your blog more interesting and spark up debates. Do not fear criticism or arguments.
- Don’t use a blog as a venue for a personal attack on another company or person. Remember the old saying “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
- Attribution is golden. Always return credit where possible. If you are going to copy a text, or use an image, return the credit and link back to where you found the material.
- Don’t steal bandwidth. If you are going to use an image off a blog, save it on to your own image hosting site.
- If you’re emotionally moved by a commenter, pause before you hit submit. You might regret what you write, and it’ll be out there for all to see, in the future, maybe forever.
For the Blog Reader/Commenter
- Post comments that are related to the entry. If you must post a “hey!” to the writer, email it instead, or post it in their chat box (or, in Facebook, The Wall).
- Don’t blatantly promoteyourself on another’s blogs, especially if the entry is unrelated.
- If you don’t share a blogger’s opinions or believe in the product’s points, don’t make it your mission to flame that blog with vile words and vitriol.
- If you’ve accidentally posted repeat comments, apologize to the blog owner, preferably via email. You could post the apology with another comment, but be careful not to have it posted multiple times again.
- Rude and childish behavior just because you’re an anonymous commenter or are behind a pseudonym is uncouth. As much as good manners are required in the real and business world, it is good if this operates the same within the blogsphere.
- Keep in mind your reputation—your personal reputation and the reputation of your company. What you do may reflect on your fellow employees, friends, members, etc. Even if you’re blogging or commenting under a pseudonym, there are possibilities that you will be found out one day. It happens all the time. Blogs are not dispensable. Even after you’ve long deleted that embarrassing photo of your night on the town or your day at the nude beach, someone might just be able to dig it up years later on the Wayback Machine – that big bad Internet archive out there. People can also download photos, copy blogs, and re-post them somewhere with your name or your company’s name attached.
- There will always be differing opinions. People will not always agree. Remember to always respect the other’s world views and outlook. If you want to share your own, do so in a mature manner under the guidelines of civil debate. Remember, it’s impossible to change another’s mind, but using subtlety and intelligence, you can help sway there viewpoints.
Have a question about blogging for your company and how a blog will effectively create a 300% ROI? Email me at [email protected], phone me at 619-274-7735, or write in the comment box below.
Next up – using key words in blogs to increase your online presence.