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I enjoy coaching people with their blogging efforts and there are 10 pieces of advice I seem to dispense the most often.  So I thought you might be interested in these ideas. Whether you are blogging for your business or for the pure joy of it, I think these ideas will help you:

1. We live in an increasingly information-dense world. The only way to stand out is to dig down deep and bring your own story to the world. Your point of differentiation is you. You have no competitors.  Write a blog post that only you could write.

2. The biggest challenge to blogging isn’t having the time, the ideas, or the resources to do it. It’s having the courage to do it. It takes guts to put yourself out there in front of the world. You can’t learn that. You just have to do it.

3. Stick to a theme. You don’t want to confuse your readers. It’s possible to use your other interests to tell your story but pick to a theme and build an audience around it.

4. There is no greater gift than when somebody takes their precious time to leave a comment on your blog. Never take that for granted. Love on your readers.

5. Be positive.  Lift people up. Negative blog posts are like seeing a car wreck. You might peek out of curiosity once in awhile but you certainly don’t want to see that every day.

6. Even the most talented and popular people in the world get criticized. If you attract criticism, you’re provoking thought … you’re doing your job. Stay centered. Overall, the people in the blogosphere are very kind and supportive.  If you do good work, you will be rewarded.

7. If you consistently create content that is RITE — Relevant, Interesting, Timely and Entertaining — you will be creating shareable, conversational blog posts. Of these, I believe the most important over time is “interesting.”  Boring is death to a blog.

8. The most important part of the blog post is the headline. As people scan headlines, it better be a great one that gets attention or nobody will even make it to your first sentence. The second most important part is the first sentence. Don’t waste people’s time. Tell them why they are there with you today.

9. The most effective way to build community is to become part of other communities. You have to give to get. Find a few other like-minded bloggers who are just starting out and support each other through sharing and comments. You have to actively work to build community, just as you work actively to build content. Spend some time building your network.

10. The hardest part of blogging is beginning. Think about any difficult work task you have faced. It may have seemed daunting at first but over time you built a competency and it becomes easier. Blogging is no different. You just have to start and commit to it and it will become easier (and more fun) over time!

Is that helpful?  What would you add to this list?

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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