The differences between personal and business blogging

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Image courtesy of Kromkrathog/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When I go to a networking event and somebody hears that I’m a blogger, I’m sometimes inundated with questions: “What IS a blog? How does it work? What do you talk about? How can it help my business? How do people find your blog?”

Now that I’ve written almost 300 personal and business blog posts, I’m better able to answer those questions. I tell people that a personal blog is about two things: passion and community. We personal bloggers pick the subjects that we’re most passionate about — books, the trials and joys of parenthood, movies, sports, religion, photography, art, history, culture, to name a few. Along the way, we interact with our blog followers who leave comments and experience the fun of creating an international blog “family”. We stake out our individual territories in the blogosphere, express our innermost selves through words, photos and videos, and invite others to visit. Along the way, we become richer in knowledge and life experience.

In my case, my blog is about books, writers, writing and social media commentary, with side dishes of humor and education. It’s a chatty style of writing.

Business blogging is the same and yet different. Business blogging, when done properly, is equally about attracting attention and building community but with the ultimate goal of converting readers into active customers and advocates. Topics are carefully chosen to demonstrate the expertise and experience of that business and how, by using that company’s products or services, one’s own business or life undergoes improvement. Business bloggers often use current events as inspiration for blog posts, adding their own view of a situation and describing how a newsworthy event affects their industry.

The writing for business blogs is much more formal and must include search engine optimization so that readers find the business blog with search engines. (It’s not a bad idea to know SEO for your personal blogging, too.) Business blogs also have strong visual content — infographics, pictures and videos — to help reinforce the story they’re telling.

I’ve noticed that some of the business blogs that I visit don’t seem to have many comments, and I’ve often wondered why. Some readers don’t want to sign up for comments because they don’t want to give away their e-mail addresses, be considered sales prospects and have the company sell to them with frequent “BUY NOW!” emails. (Speaking for the other side: I know, I know. I get it. But c’mon, people, we’re marketers. It’s what we do.)

Is it because the company buries the blog in their website and it’s hard to find? Does the business not cross-promote the blog in other sites such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook? Does the blog’s owner just pick topics that most readers don’t find particularly motivating to discuss?

Or is it the platform? Plenty of businesses host their blogs on WordPress sites, for example. Some get interaction, others don’t.  The ones that do get interaction take the time to talk with their commenters, who are frequently peer-level professionals or people seeking to enter that field.

Blog readers: Got any other thoughts on why some business blogs don’t get more comments?

 

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “The differences between personal and business blogging

  1. I think it’s because a lot of it doesn’t seem genuine. A lot of business and marketing sites look like replicas of each other with a lot of the same content.

    Personally, I do read business blogs and websites but only when the blogger has a voice of their own.

  2. Servetus

    Agree with Felicia. I’m doing my bit for the business by buying their product or whatever. My social media time is for my personal loves. I also have to say that the few times that I’ve seen a blogger start to include paid posts in their personal blog, it’s been a big turnoff.

    • I find the business blogs that I follow to be educational. There’s one marketing blog where they constantly send me info about upcoming webinars, free ebooks that increase my knowledge, etc. An occasional “selling” e-mail from the same company seems reasonable, for me.

      • Servetus

        Hmm — I have the opposite reaction. Too much “knowledge” coming my way is fluff. I’d rather formulate my questions myself and get the information I need without drowning in a flood of stuff I might need. I don’t mind getting a push mail if I forget to circumvent that, but I delete it without reading it.

  3. You’re so organized :-) I tell people it’s like having a newspaper column, but without an editor, deadlines,or anyone telling you what to write about. But then again, I’m not in business anymore.

    • I’ve often thought blogging is like being a columnist, too. When I decided to become a blogger, my copywriting experience helped greatly. Since you’ve been a journalist, did you find the same to be true for you?

  4. On that note: I’ve noticed WordPress has started placing ad boxes on my blog. Nothing is in them yet and upon investigation I would need to go premium to activate the ads, which apparently will earn me money. What is your take? Is this a worthwhile endeavor to pursue or selling out? I haven’t seen many personal blogs with these ads yet.

    • I have mixed feelings; I think it comes down to personal taste. As a marketing professional, I know the ads work for generating some revenue. Otherwise, WP wouldn’t be using them. With the economy being so tough, I understand if the blogger wants to make a little extra money.

      At the same time, I understand that blog readers may find ads irritating and may tune them out. Especially if there are several of them.

      I remember reading one blogger’s description of how she made some money running the ads.

      CM, you might find this link interesting about how WP makes its money:

      http://www.labnol.org/internet/blogging/how-wordpress-makes-money/7576/

  5. I noticed that business blogs are starting to sign up for my blog, mostly a personal blog where I reach out to people and sometimes try to market my first (and soon to be second) book. Once I read what they have to sell (product or service) there isn’t much for me to comment about. They don’t strike me as blogs looking for comments unless they ask “How can we serve you better?” or similar “reaching out” questions. You find the same thing on personal blogs. Those who ask questions at the end of a post often get more comments…

  6. There’s also the “semi-business” blog. Six months ago I decided to bifurcate as some of my posts were about eLearning and the rest were about whatever struck my fancy. On the surface it made sense to create two so that any potential readers would only see the parts that interested them. This did have a noticeable negative drop on the number of views, though. The sum total of views on both blogs is now less than one-half what I used to get on the original alone. An interesting turn of events for sure.

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