April 20, 2004

10 Rules for Blogs and Wikis

MarketingProfs.com recently published "10 Rules for Corporate Blogs and Wikis". While it's focused somewhat on corporate America and branding issues, there are also some gems included regarding knowledge management, online collaboration, content strategy, search engine ranking, and more.

One of the best suggestions is to be "authentic": Don't make up contrived posts. It's one thing to post hypothetical or composite accounts for discussion and/or education. It's another to blog with a phoney baloney PR campaign without any substance. One of the first rules of writing, to which I adhere, is to write about what you know. Due to the popularity of blogging, along with folks like me doing a certain amount of evangelizing about its benefits, I'm seeing a new wave of blogs popping up that appear to be predicated on capitalizing upon the search engine ranking results and increased traffic, than in providing content of true value to the reader.

I think these "me too" bloggers will fail dismally in their efforts, simply because they don't "get it". To me, among other things, blogging is a social and information-sharing endeavor, and as a result it's one in which people are compelled to read one's content and even, I daresay, participate. Think about wikis, which are basically described as collaborative blogs. Yes, there are definitely business implications and benefits, but those should be leveraged secondarily to keep the underlying driving force intact. It's fairly obvious that I'm talking about integrity. If the focus is primarily on the commercial benefits, I think the message will get lost, people will see right through it, and simply move on to other things. There has be a value-add to the reader/participant.

I strongly believe in giving your readers credit for being intelligent -- after all, they're reading blogs and using RSS readers far in advance of its adoption by the general public. This ought to tell us something. If you've read LawTech Guru for any period of time, you know I'm not afraid to post some highly technical how-to's from time to time. While I try to make it easier for everyone to understand and use, some of this stuff is fairly advanced. However, I know many of you are not newbies and are able to implement the solutions you find useful. Many times, you offer comments and suggestions for alternative solutions and things I hadn't considered on first blush. Thus I've learned a lot in return.

In this regard, I'd probably add two "rules" to the above article, which are "know your intended (and unintended) audience", and "don't be afraid to engage them". Blogging -- and online collaboration in general -- is not a spectator sport. Even if someone has never posted a comment here, I know they are mentally in the game or they wouldn't continue reading my posts.

All in all, the MarketingProfs article is a recommended quick read, and there are other good articles available there. [Link courtesy of MarketingVox, another great resource.]

Topic(s):   Blogging Tips
Posted by Jeff Beard