5 Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know Before Blogging

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Your company just started blogging and everybody is excited. You have been promoted to CBE (chief blogging expert) because you accidentally told the HR manager you had a facebook account. Immediately you are forced to create a series of blogs, and you pour your heart and soul into them (because you are forced to), spending sleepless nights editing, researching and writing. You know your content is interesting and vital to your customers and employees. You upload your first blog series, waiting for a rush of feedback and comments … minutes pass, hours pass, days pass, months pass … but nothing happens. It is as if your blog never existed.…
 

Blogging is now more than ever a critical and important way to connect businesses with their customers. And everybody is doing it— from celebrities to CEOs of multinational companies. Unfortunately, too many people are doing it the wrong way and the result are series of poorly executed blogs with little human interaction. In this article, I will discuss five key rules you need to follow to ensure your blog connects and resonates with your readers or customers.  If you follow at least one of the rules today, I guarantee that you will see a difference in your blogs visibility.
 

Rule #1: Be Consistently Consistent with your Blogging Consistency

This is an absolute! Before you begin blogging you have to define your blogging frequency and stick to it! The consistency of your blog is what defines the legitimacy of your blog. If you are inconsistent, people will lose interest; but if you are consistent, people will be primed to expect your blog at certain intervals. A key rule of thumb is to update your blog at least once a month for long articles (1500+ words), or at least bi-weekly for short articles (500 to 1000 words). My blog http://ofilispeaks.com has a frequency of a month. In other words, I have personally made a commitment to write at least a 1000+ word blog post every single month. And for five years I have stuck to that routine. If I am ever late, I get a slew of emails/inquiries from my subscribers asking why my blog is delayed, because they expect it on a certain day.  Reminds me of what I think is one of the funniest scenes on the American TV show “The Office,” where Mike (the boss) is doing a conflict resolution between co-workers Jim and Dwight. I would write out the dialogue for you, but it’s best if you watch it (see video below)
 


 

In the scene, Mike is running through a list of complaints filed by Dwight against Jim. The knock-out funniest complaint is when Dwight says
 

“this morning Jim made me knock myself in the head with my phone.”
 

The first thing that came to my head was
 

“how can someone possibly knock themselves in the head with their own phone!”
 

Turns out that over a period of several days Jim had intermittently put nickels in Dwight’s handset to make it much heavier than usual. And just as Dwight had become accustomed to the phone’s new weight…Jim suddenly pulled out all the nickels. Thus when the phone rang, Dwight anticipating a heavy phone pulled the phone with so much force that he hit himself in the head!
 

Hilarious…but this same prank principle applies to blogging … you want to be so consistent that when you omit a blog entry people will literarily hit their heads in confusion and proceed to bombard you with angry phone calls and text messages. Be consistently consistent with your consistency.
 

O’s BONUS TIP: This bonus tip is primarily for small businesses and has to do with naming consistency. You should strive to have the same name everywhere. I cannot tell you the number of people I meet who have a different name on facebook, another name on twitter and yet another name on blackberry! Stick to the same name and also the same username. On everything I do I am OKECHUKWU OFILI and on all my social media I am OFILISPEAKS … ofilispeaks.com, facebook.com/ofilispeaks andtwitter.com/ofilispeaks … be consistent so people can find you easily!
 

Rule #2: The Most Important Part of Your Blog is the Title

This point is extremely important (trust me). Contrary to popular belief, the most important part of your blog is not the blog itself, but the title. Your title ensures that people actually have a reason to click on your article. An average of <insert insanely large figure> blogs are uploaded every hour to the internet and since people are lazy, busy or somewhere in between….your blog has to be exceptional to stand out. And that power of exceptionalism comes from a great blog TITLE! You want to make your title shocking, different and unexpected! A title that reads “How to write a book” is poor compared to “5 guaranteed ways to write a book without writing.” The latter has the 3 key characteristics of great blog titles:
 

  1. Number: Studies show that when you share the number of points of your article (5 ways to….7 Inexcusable…) in a title, people are more likely to read it. The number simplifies your article for the readers by dividing it into bite size pieces that is easy to digest. Thus the reader anticipates a quick easy read and is more likely to open up the blog.
  2. Key Words: Studies have shown that when you place these five words in a title: YOU, NEW, GUARANTEED, SEX and FREE…you instantaneously increase the appeal of your blog. That is why many newspaper articles and adverts contain combinations and variations of these words. By studying them and with consistent practice you will be able to create strong titles.
  3. Sparks Curiosity: The title “5 guaranteed ways to write a book without writing” is interesting because it tells you that you can write a book without actually writing. Instinctively you want to know how and why this is possible…thus your human reflex is to open the article. This characteristic is subtle and difficult to learn, but like the above if you put in enough time you will be able to conjure up titles that sparks intense curiosity!

 
Other characteristics include “asking a question” and “ensuring you titles are not too long.” There are many more characteristics and tips to writing great blog titles that cannot be covered in this article. However, a great resource/guide to writing catchy blog titles is the book MADE TO STICK and the website COPY BLOGGER. I have used COPYBLOGGER in particular to create great blog titles like THE 7 INEXCUSABLE MISTAKES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP and 6 SIMPLE WAYS TO DELIVER KNOCK OUT PRESENTATIONS. On average I will rifle through 3 to 5 titles before I settle on something, but I find that it is worth the effort as the response to great titles is much greater than the response to great blogs.
 

Unfortunately, a lot of bloggers spend too much time on content and slap on a title just several seconds before they hit the upload button. Focus on your title and your next blog will surprise you!
 

Below are all the titles I considered before settling on something 5 RULES EVERY ENTREPRENEUR SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BLOGGING:
 

  1. 5 guaranteed ways to get people to read you blog
  2. 5 Ways To Get Lazy People To Read Your Blogs
  3. The 5 Immutable Laws Of Blogging
  4. The 5 Unforgivable Sins Of Blogging
  5. 5 Things You Must Do Before You Write Your Next Blog

 
Win A Free Copy of MADE TO STICK and HOW STUPIITY SAVED MY LIFE. All you have to do is re-write the TITLE of one of your blogs or any of the blogs on this site using the principles above, and the best title that shows the most improvement will WIN. Submit your response in the comment box below.
 

Rule #3: Market Your Blog

“If you build it, they will come” has to be one of the greatest lies on earth. It is a phrase that perpetuates the notion that all you have to do is build a business, sit back and the customers will come. However, if you own a business of any sort, you will know that this is completely untrue. Unfortunately this notion finds its way into the minds of bloggers just like it did with me.  I believed that all I had to do was come up with a great blog and BOOM! I was done. But that is far from the truth; what you do after you write your blog is equally as important as the actual blog itself and that is MARKETING. You have to find a way to give your blog content visibility on the web or within your company…remember point #2 people are lazy, busy or somewhere in between. For small businesses, you want to start with close friends and co-workers. Let them know you have written something, either through email, facebook or twitter. This is how great bloggers such as Chris Guillbeau started out … he sent his blogs to a few of his friends each time and what started with 30 or so emails evolved into thousands of emails. Now his blog site is viewed by millions all across the world, because of consistent marketing.
 

For me personally, when I write an article, I send it out via the constantcontact email program to a list of over 4500 people (it took me 5 years to build this) Then I send it out to about 20 to 40 people on twitter that I have relationships with (see point #4) to help me promote. And finally I post it on facebook and tag 50 people. It is a marketing process that takes anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to complete…but the rewards are fulfilling as my blogs get high viewership, numerous re-tweets and comments from over 20 countries.
 

For companies with already established listservs and even for upcoming businesses, you can utilize contests as a marketing strategy for your blogs. One of my most successful campaigns has been my CAPTION contest for my sketches. One of them is this starbucks caption contest which pulled in over 35 comments and created publicity for the blog site. There are numerous marketing strategies out there that you can utilize. But whatever you do, remember, your blog cannot market itself; only you can.
 

O’s BONUS TIP: When you market your blog links on facebook or twitter, ensure that you put http:// in front of them. This ensures automatic URL creation, which means that people just have to click your link versus copying and pasting into a web browser. An example is http://ofilispeaks.com versus www.ofilispeaks.com. Also, if your blog links are long, utilize url shorteners such as bit.ly or is.gd to shorten them. To make them look professional you can use the customization feature that comes with bit.ly program. This allows you to write bit.ly/ofilispeaks versus http://on.fb.me/gkc74O
 

Rule #4: Build Relationships

I cannot emphasize enough how important this point is … you simply have to work on building relationships with your readers. You do this by trying your very best to respond to every single comment and email you receive. And when you respond, respond honestly and not in a stop-wasting-my-time fashion. Chris Guillbeau, who I mentioned earlier, receives over 100 emails every day and he responds to every single one of them to the best of his ability. Another person whom I admire is Lydia Cotton on facebook, who has over 18,000 followers. Despite her huge followership, she is able to find time to engage actively with her fans. Both Chris and Lydia do the above, because they understand the importance of building relationships.
 

Too many times I have met bloggers who feel like quasi-celebrities because they have a big subscription base and thus can care less about what people say on their blogs. This is most prevalent amongst CEOs of large companies who spit out blogs but never respond to any of the comments and thus miss out on a huge opportunity to engage their employees and customers.
 

As a blogger, you have to make a commitment not to just respond to comments but to build relationships.  In point #2 above, I talked about 20 to 40 people that help me re-tweet my blog posts on twitter … some of them I have never met before, but they help me out. Now, I could sit back and take what they do for granted … but because I understand the principle of relationship building, I engage them by thanking them personally on twitter, by sending them postcards, or free copies of my book, or by responding to questions—whatever I can do to appreciate them. And if I see them in person I personally thank them! These are the little things that separate ordinary bloggers from extraordinary bloggers.
 

O’s BONUS TIP: For users of wordpress.org, utilize comment plug-ins such as Intense Debate and Disqus. These programs ensure that readers comments are sent directly to your inbox and vice-versa, thus helping stimulate debate and conversation on your blogs.
 

Rule #5: Build a Powerful Blog Network

I truly know how it feels to spend time writing a blog and then it receives no comments. Earlier on, I would lament that no one ever read my blogs or commented on them, but then I realized that I did the exact same thing! Talk about hypocritical! So I made it a point to read other peoples’ blogs, commenting on them, and sharing them with others, without expecting anything in return. And the result has been rewarding, as I have gotten to meet and interact with a great many bloggers across the net. But it does not stop at just sharing blogs; you also have to be willing to lend a hand to upcoming bloggers if you have the knowledge and experience. By helping people out, you will be able to learn a few things yourself and establish yourself as a prime blogger. If other bloggers respect you and reference you for knowledge, your blog will grow.
 

One technique that is particularly useful in growing your blog is guest blogging on other people’s sites and also inviting other people to guest blog on yours.  There are several top name sites such as maxblogger.com and dailyblogtips that accept guest blogs. Because their subscription base is large (10,000 to 120,000) your blog will get instant visibility. But you have to ensure you follow their criteria for blog submission. Also, do not limit yourself to the big name blogs out there. If you know any up and coming blog (hint, hint) and you have a well written blog post that would fit within the blog’s general concept, submit it for consideration. Do not be afraid of rejection, because it is bound to happen. Instead focus on putting together good material and over time you will find people that are willing to allow you to share your blogs on their sites. On the flip side, you should be willing to offer up your site to help out others; this symbiotic relationship amongst bloggers helps ensure blog growth.
 

One of the people who understand the relationship building concept and executes it to perfection is Crystal Washington of crystalwashington.com. She is continually blogging about and reposting great articles from other bloggers. By sharing, she helps out others, and in return other bloggers go out of their way to talk about her. Build your blog network today.
 

O’s BONUS TIP: Seek to create a blog team of about 3 to 5 people and make a commitment amongst yourselves to promote each other’s blogs. By so doing you are leveraging each other to ensure success for your blogs.
 

You might notice that this article does not talk about how to write a perfect blog post, but rather focuses on writing a perfect blog series. One post can create an ephemeral connection, but a series of well written, consistent blog posts is sure to create a permanent connection with your customers! Focus on your blog series and you will be successful.
 

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below. Bloggers like myself live off your comments.
 

Ofili is an award winning motivational speaker, author, life coach and entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on twitter , facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!”

Ofili

Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
Follow him on Twitter
Stalk him on Instagram
Read his crazy titled books on konga or okadabooks
Feed his children at…no wait he has no kids…. 

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comments

44 comments on “5 Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know Before Blogging

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 5 Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know Before Blogging -- Topsy.com

  2. Thanks for sharing blog tips, i have been blogging for so many years but now to a wider audience it sure takes a different creative cap! cool tips! Love the comment about “bloggers live off comments”, so true we do!

  3. actually thanks to you i have changed one of my blog titles to “6 Steps to wellness as a Lifestyle” instead of “wellness is a lifestyle”. testing testing …..

  4. Dunniolasehan on said:

    Dear Ofili, thanks for sharing this insightful information. I don’t own a blog site yet but when I decide to have one, to you shall be the credit for the inspiration.

  5. Stevenkinne on said:

    Kechukwu! Once again, great work! While I don’t know if I’ll ever start blogging, I did take away some other good ideas from your article. Thanks for sending!

  6. Thanks you so much for your wonderful advice on blogs. I plan to start a blog soon and this will definitely help me alot. Keep up the great work! Your such and inspiration and great teacher 🙂

  7. Just so you know your blog is the first I ever read (honestly!), cos I fall into that category of lazy, busy or in between but I’m not really sure which exactly. It was great though, I do plan to start blogging at some point so I might bombard you for more tips! 🙂

    • Wow! I feel honored that this was the first that you read…whenever you start blogging do let me know. My quick advice will be to use wordpress as it is quite flexible and powerful!

      • I was going to use blogger because I’m rubbish with computers and as much as I love a challenge, wordpress seems a bit much…

        • Blogger is good. The only thing is that when you want to upgrade to a full functioning site, the transition is not as seamless or tricked out as wordpress.

        • First of all I am dying to know what book that was. I have had my fair share of bad books with misleading titles! But like you said in your article…at least they wrote a book…at least they were able to overcome their fears and write…at least they did something.

          And I am glad that you started your blog and are sharing your writing talent with the world. Goodluck!

          PS: well written and crafty title FREE TRUTHS

  8. Jude Anyigbo on said:

    Many thanks for sending the subject on blogging.I’d like to know where in Nigeria one can pick your book,’How stupidity saved my life’ and the cost.”
    Jude Anyigbo

    • Morning Jude. Had no idea it was you that emailed me earlier.

      Per your question, we are still sorting out the contract details with my distribution company but expect to have the book in stores by March. The cost is tentatively set to 2000 Naira but that might be subject to change depending on contractual agreement I sign with the distributor. Thanks again for asking.

      PS: I will definitely bring a copy at the next toastmasters meeting =)

  9. hi ofili,you can’t imagine how much this write-up has helped me.you discussed about catchy topics,blog networks,leverage,and helping other bloggers even people you do not know.it just happens to connect with me every bit of the way.(funny enough i listened to your interview in Nigeria on channels TV and that was where i got to know you,the interview was so inspirational and some tips you gave generally about life issues just happened to have lifted me in one of my darkest moments).i run a blog MOTIVATIONAL THOUGHTS and INSIGHTS http://dakes83.blogspot.com .i have kept at it this long just because of sheer determination,because the returns have been a bit discouraging but your tips are quite useful and uplifting.i also write as an expert author for ezine.comall in a bid to attract traffic. you could search for expert author=akinola odunukan on ezine.com and check out my profile and articles.keep up the good work.cheers

  10. I must be very stale… reading this article after like a year it has been posted, but i must say, it’s really helpful. i have just started out my blog about a month ago.. So i sure feel like a baby with the likes of you. But thank you so much for the tips, i intend to imbibe them.

  11. Renty on said:

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  12. Thanks a lot for this article. I’m a rather amateur blogger. A month ago, I began a news blog http://uchenduwrites.blogspot.com basically to make money from it. Found out later that it was time consuming and boring, though i’ve had a few thousand hits. I decided to ditch the idea a blog about what I love. Still searching for an attractive URL but this article has helped. I like what you said about commenting on other blogs and creating a network of bloggers. I think this is some of the most useful stuff i’ve read on blogging. I’ve read your blog for a while, but this is my first comment. Kudos! You do some really good work.
    Uchendu latest post is PIC SPEAK: NEPA PROMISES …… SINCE 1986My Profile

  13. I loved the firstg rule, and I like your blog. After attending the book jam at Silverbirds on the 29th of June 2012 and listened to you read chapter 2 of your book How Laziness Saved My Life, I decided to buy the book & visit your website and I’m glad that I’ve been able to garner a lot from your works. I own a blog as well & I’m lucky to get traffic because its on a popular blogging platform. I would appreciate it if you could drop by sometime http://www.camgal.wordpress.com. I was also wondering who published your books, I have a complete manuscript which I hope to publish. Any advice you give will be really helpful. Thank you & keep on speaking.

  14. Stephanie Opute on said:

    Honestly speaking, this is inspiring. Even if i do not have a blog, i think having one won’t be a bad idea.

  15. They are, I forgot why I steratd this video blogging thing. I steratd to test myself, in both delivery, content and editing. I have lately failed on all three. I really have got lazy at it. I need to get back to doing what I do and not listening to what others tell me what I should be doing And I mean this Steph, thank you so much for all your support. I totally mean it, you have been awesome in the way you have supported all I do.

  16. Phew!! Thanks a lot Ofili for the tips and your very enlightening article. I think I’m one of those “read and go” regular visitors to your blog. Its rather weird that I’m commenting on this old article today, and that’s because over the past few days, I have been taking out time to go through a lot of your blog post over time and I found a lot of them so relevant, educative and as usual very entertaining. You do a great job and I’m a big fan and “Promoter” of your books(winks). Would be glad if you and your readers could check out my blog sometime.. http//www.pmoneytalks.blogspot.com. Thanks! Cheers!

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