Your Blog is Public – Be careful what you say
When blogs first came on the scene, they were like online diaries. People were writing long rambling descriptions of their day, right down to what they ate for lunch and what time the plumber arrived to hook up the new dishwasher. And aside from family and close friends, no one was reading them but the person who wrote them.
But that has changed. Your blog, if you are in business, is a marketing tool. As such, you need to pay attention to what you say and how you say it. If you really want to write a private diary, then open up a new word processing document and keep it in your own computer. Or, if you really have to share it with the world, use a fake name.
I recall an instance a few years ago when I came across a blog written by a fellow copywriter. It was filled with details most of us would not share with customers, and was riddled with typos and incorrectly spelled words. The sentences were run-on and the paragraphs were huge blocks of dense copy. It also talked about how irritating some of her customers were.
I mentioned it to another writer and she said “Oh, that’s OK. It’s just her blog. It’s her private thoughts and has nothing to do with her business.” I disagreed then, and I disagree now. Because it’s out there for anyone and everyone to see, it’s a representation of that writer, her work, and her attitude toward her customers. It is a part of her marketing.
There’s nothing wrong with a business blog sharing personal incidents from your life. In fact, showing your readers you’re a real person allows them to see you as a real person – someone they might like to know.
But when it gets into boring details or “too-private” information, you’ve gone too far.
And as for trashing your customers – or anyone else – all you’re really doing is trashing yourself.
I’ve never been a proponent of being phony, but you don’t need to tell everything you know, and you don’t need to share every negative thought that pops into your head. We all get mad and want to throw things at other people sometimes. We even want to tell the world that so-and-so is a no good jerk – and why. But those thoughts don’t belong on a blog.
If you’re bubbling over with angry thoughts, write them on a piece of paper and then tear it up and throw it away. You’ll feel better for getting it out of your system and you won’t damage your own reputation.
The same rules apply to commenting on other people’s blogs. While your potential customers may not find your comments in a Google search for your name, they may come across them accidentally.
Just yesterday I read a blog post written by someone who was shocked, hurt, and outraged at the mean-spirited comments she’d gotten on an opinion post she’d written. Her original post was mild-mannered, but some of the comments were vicious. And who did that hurt in the long run? Not her. It will ultimately hurt the people who wrote the nasty comments because others will see “attacker” as one of their personality traits.
So, think before you write. Remember that your customers, your boss, your spouse, your friends, and even your Mom might be reading that blog post or comment.