To blog, or not to blog

There is a great scene in the hit TV show The Office where one of the characters, Creed Braton, askes Ryan to help him set up a blog. If you don’t know the show (which you should, I can’t recommend it enough) Creed is a character who is a bit out there. In order to “protect the world from being exposed to Creed’s brain” Ryan simply set up a Word document that the internet would never read. Ryan mentions that he’s read some of it and that “even for the internet… it’s pretty shocking.” A fan of The Office can only laugh at what might have been in that document. Not only is this a funny scene from the show, it’s also a fitting reminder that there are some (albeit few) topics that should be avoided in a blog. 

Topics to avoid

Whenever I talk to clients about having a blog on their website, I always mention that they can write about any topic that is “kind of, sort of, in a way, almost, if you flip it around, look at it sideways and then upside down, twist it around, bend it just a touch” related to their business or industry. There are far fewer topics that you should not write about, than topics you could write for. As a matter of fact, I don’t know if I have any singular topic that a business should never write about. There are the obvious things like confidential personal and business information that shouldn’t be let out. Some will advise to never guarantee things, but if you can prove or support the guarantee then there is no harm in it. Men’s Wearhouse guarantees that I’m going to like the way I look in their suit. The guarantee starts when I buy the suit, if I don’t like the way I look I don’t buy it and there is no guarantee.

If you promote financial or health benefits or claims, be careful with those and likely have your legal team review things first. If your claims of your product making me $1,000,000,000 is true and proven then by all means write about it. If your pill can make me lose 100 pounds overnight and it’s proven and supported, then write away. If you can’t back those claims up, be very careful. No one is better at sniffing a scam than Google. 

Topics to be careful with

Years ago I read a blog article on a site that was quite outwardly bashing their competition. They didn’t call them out by name, but it was pretty clear who it was they were referring to. While this might work for a larger company like Taco Bell taking shots at McDonalds, your small business is a very different story. Same was the case for this company when they attacked a competitor. There was ultimately nothing to be gained from the article, it really just read of a business that was upset that they lost a lot of clients. If that article was instead written to highlight what ways their company is different from its competition and other options in the field, that’s a great article to showcase their knowledge and expertise on a given matter.

For many small businesses, topics of religion and politics are completely off the table. At first thought I’d often agree with this idea. HOwever, after thinking about it, if it can be tied back in some capacity to the business or offerings of the business, those are fair points to make. To be clear though: promoting a political figure is never going to work well unless you are the store selling only that party’s merchandise. People will often say the same of religion and that it should be avoided. Again, if it’s related to the business or you as the person in a fitting way, there’s no issue in this. I’ve read blog articles from clients who are members of a different religion than mine and it by no means drove us apart, but it rather gave a greater understanding of them. 

Kind of, sort of, in a way

Earlier I mentioned that if the topic you want to write about is “kind of, sort of, in a way, almost, if you flip it around, look at it sideways and then upside down, twist it around, bend it just a touch” related to your business or industry then go ahead and write it. Let me give you an excellent example of this. Years ago we were doing SEO work for a physical rehab clinic in Green Bay. The owner of that clinic loved playing Madden NFL and Call of Duty on the Playstation. Writing about that hobby is not in any way at all related to the physical rehab clinic he owned. However….. When he plays Madden NFL with his friends and one team scores a touchdown, the other team has to do 10 pushups and interceptions are 15 pushups and on and on. When they play Call of Duty it is much the same where if you get shot you have to do 10 pushups. Now this hobby that has nothing to do at all with his industry is related right back to physical health, thus being a great blog topic.

If you have a topic you really want to write about for your business, I’m willing to bet that there is a way you can rewrite or rephrase a section of it to tie it back to you business or industry. This is one of the great things about having an active blog on your site is that it does not need to be strictly tied to just your 9am-5pm life. 

Happy blogging!

Having an active and regularly updated blog on your site is one of the single greatest things a business can do to help secure a great ranking on Google. Great thing about blogs is that it is your platform to share your knowledge and expertise with the world. While there is no end to the limits of what you can write about, there is a very, very, very, very small list you should never write about. Happy blogging!

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