16 Nov 2012
5 Differences Between Personal and Business Blogs
If you write for both a personal and a business blog you need to tailor your approach to suit a different audience or you'll risk losing readers.
If you find yourself writing about your cat's almost human-like facial expressions on your tech business blog more often than you find yourself writing about Apple or Facebook, you ought to read on.
These are the main differences between the two styles of blogging and why they are important to remember. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. If your tech blog readers like cats then you might be on to a winner.
1/ Don’t Tell Overly Personal Stories
Telling stories as part of a content strategy works. But telling stories about how bad your day was, doesn't.
On a personal blog it might be acceptable (although no less dull) to tell personal tales of apparently humourous or sorrowful events, with some kind of moral life lesson at the end.
Do this on your business blog and it can appear unprofessional. It’s good to be personal but not to the extent that you’re revealing your own neuroses and problems.
Other big no-nos are writing about your favourite place to nap, why you decided a croissant was the best choice for breakfast and how much you enjoyed the latest episode of Mad Men. Keep it friendly but professional.
2/ Don’t Be Too Controversial
Too being the operative word here. A little bit of controversy like taking a minority stance on the latest Google update (“why penguin is amazing for SEO”!) for example, can work wonders in terms of stimulating debate and therefore keeping people on your blog for longer.
Saying that you hate puppies and think anyone who likes them is stupid, is not such a great idea. This goes for issues on religion, politics, sex etc. Basically steer clear of the dinner party taboo subjects and you’ll be fine.
Also, it’s a bit obvious but don’t rant or swear. Write as though your Mum will be reading. Which she will be. I'm sure she will be.
If you do decide to be controversial, make sure you've got facts to back up your argument.
3/ The Blog is to Promote the Business, Not the Other Way Around
Sometimes is easy to lose track of the reason you’re writing. Always remember to write with the aim of promoting the business, so link back to products and other pages on the site: this is not blogging for blogging’s sake (or for ad revenue’s sake) as with a personal blog.
If by the end of your post new readers don't know what you sell, you're not doing it right.
4/ Don’t Give Everything Away for Free
You’re a business not a library. Any resources you give away should be things that are widely available or very occasionally as exclusive tasters of what your business offers.
Give just enough that people will come back to buy the lot.
For example, supermarkets give away little samples of cheese to entice customers. They don’t give away a whole block. Keep your big blocks of cheese to sell after bringing in clients with little free nibbles.
Or you can go the other way and give away everything to become a bestselling author.
5/ Keep it Regular
I can’t emphasise this enough. On a personal blog, you can get away with writing three posts in a day and then nothing for a week because people will expect you to be updating it as and when you feel like (or as and when you can fit it in).
On a business blog you must post regularly. This doesn't mean you need to be putting posts out every half an hour but instead aim to post consistently. People will quickly give up on a blog that’s not been updated for a few weeks or more.
Of course these are rules, and what are rules meant to be? That's right, occasionally smashed to pieces, so follow these points but by all means, if it feels right, then do the exact opposite too.