Since you’re reading this on a blog, you may not be the exact target I have in mind for this message so, feel free to pass it along to someone you know who might need to hear it – I’ve been on a speaking and workshop binge this past 60 days and I am still finding the need to evangelize blogging as a small business marketing tool.
One of the most common questions I receive is “how do I get started blogging?” Some might find it a bit odd that I suggest a three step approach and the first two steps don’t have much to do with directly working on your own blog. No, I think you get started blogging by working on your blogging mindset and blogging presence. So, here’s my 3-step blogging start-up plan.
1) Monitor – Spend a couple hours one day finding blogs in your industry, competitors, journalists who cover your industry and other related and relevant content. You can find them by cruising Bloglines, Ask.com, Google Blogs or Blog Pulse. Figure out how to subscribe to some of them using an RSS readers such as Bloglines or Google Reader and then start reading or scanning them on a daily basis. This is a great way to learn how to blog and how to develop your unique niche or voice
2) Participate – Start leaving relevant comments on your list of blogs above. Relevant, not spam – don’t put links to your site in your comments, just make very smart conversation – it’s okay to disagree with the point being made by the blogger, just don’t be a tool about it. (Many blogs publish an RSS feed for comments too so you can add these to your RSS reader and know when a comment stream gets pretty hot and jump in.)
3) Blog – Okay grasshopper now and only now should you start blogging. Here is where I would recommend you take a good hard look at WordPress. I know that there are lots of other options such as TypePad, Blogger and even WordPress.com, but I’m going to push you toward one way that I know works on all the levels you want to blog for.