Jim Murray

2 years ago · 6 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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A Bunch Of Useful Stuff I Know About Blogging

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A Mercifully Brief History of Blogging

It's generally recognized that the first blog was Links.net, created by some dude named Justin Hall, a Swarthmore College student, in 1994. Of course, at that time they weren't called blogs, and he just referred to it as his personal homepage. It wasn't until 1997 that the term ‘weblog" was coined.

The term 'Blog' originally came from the word “weblog” or a “web log”. You can think of it as an online journal or diary, although blogs are used for much more now these days.

Since then, the term blogging has become a catch-all for all kinds of content creation and this pisses real writers off to no end. Blog posts are not sponsored posts on Facebook or Instagram with some text and some pictures. This stuff is really digital promotion. Also, news stories are not blog posts. They are news articles. They are digital journalism which has been called blogging, but actually is pretty much the polar opposite.

My Own Blogging

The kind of blogging I do breaks down into a few different categories, which is a good thing to keep organized in your head if your interests stray outside of your chosen profession.

The Pure Op/Ed Posts: The content of these posts can vary from political commentary to profiles of people in the news, and just about everything in between.

The Storytelling Posts: These are about reflections on life, and family, issues that I care about outside of my business and stories about the experiences I have had in the area where work and life intersect. These posts also include the publishing of some of the lyrics and free form poetry I have written over the years and continue to write.

The Review Posts: I used to do a lot of this up until about 2008 under the moniker, The Couch Potato Chronicles, which I have revived over the past couple years. It consists of reviews, critiques and rants on movies, TV, sports, books, whatever I am doing for entertainment at the time.

The Advice Posts: These are the posts, like this one, in which I explain stuff I have learned about communications in the hope of helping people get better at their own communications.

Advice posts can range from instructional to blatantly self-promotional, as evidenced by a series I do called,. “Stuff That Made Me Famous For 15 Minutes”, which are really case studies of some of the projects I have worked on.

A fifth category, really falls under the topic of Promotional Posts for Other People and consists of writing and or editing posts to support my client’s businesses or entities I am involved with, like for social media site bebee.com, for which I am a brand ambassador or to help promote a business run by people I like.

Home Plate

As a blogger, I prefer to do my blogging from beBee, because the organic reach I can achieve there is much greater than I can achieve on either LinkedIn or Facebook. But I can also easily link my posts to LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter, in addition to any relevant special interest groups, or hives as they are called, on beBee.

Since the takeover by Microsoft, LinkedIn’s Pulse publisher and group structure seems to have faded into obscurity, and organic reach is a joke, which is why a number of the more prolific independent writers on LinkedIn have moved to beBee, simply because beBee has a much more vibrant and engaged audience for their work.

How Blogging Works For Me

Everybody is going to have different objectives for blogging.

Some will use it simply to attract an audience of interested readers.

Some will use it to provide more depth of sale about their products or services.

Some will use it to further some cause they are passionate about.

Some will use to to promote the whole idea of digital marketing. A lot of that going around, and a lot of it is bullshit too.

For me, at least, the blogging I do is all about building an audience. I don’t look to get business from my blogging, although I have, but that’s not really how things work in the communications industry.

Most of my business comes from networking, the connections I have developed over the years, mainly in Toronto and now here in Niagara and any use I can put my blogging to in terms of focused PR.

Besides the actual fun I have creating these posts, blogging is a very useful promotional tool if you have places to use it and are willing to do the work it takes to achieve whatever objectives you have in mind for your either your personal brand or your business.

From the personal perspective, blogging is a wonderful outlet for me to express myself creatively. I am a writer so I write. It’s what writers do. And a lot of writers love blogging because it is direct to the audience stuff.

Blogging lets you burp out whatever is on your mind that day in a very short span which, in turn, allows you to keep the spontaneity of your work rather high. In this sense, blogging becomes an emotional release and a pretty healthy one at that.

Blogging can also help people, especially if it is your intention to do so, which mine generally is.

How My Blogging Helps People

A lot of people with businesses of their own, struggle with marketing and so I write posts that help them understand what good marketing is all about.

A lot of people on social media struggle with creating and maintaining a strong personal brand, so I write posts on how personal branding works.

A lot of people on line struggle with creating effective posts for their businesses…so I write posts on how to do that and work really hard to keep it within the realm of the doable.

A lot of people want a better general understanding of communication and how it works…so I write posts on things like strategic development, mission statements, good copywriting, visualization etc.

Finally, a lot of people learn from reading stories about how successful brands came together so I do some of that too.

How To Make Blogging Work For Your Personal Brand Or Your Business

None of this has popped out of my head fully formed. I had to think about this, which I did for quite a while before I started writing.

And this is a big part of what I advise people to do with their own blogging. Here’s how it works in 10 easy steps.

1. Find a place to blog from. Either a Wordpress site, a blog site on your own web site or one of the social media sites like Linkedin or beBee. I prefer beBee for the reasons I mentioned previously.

2. Think about your business, your industry and your customers and the kinds of stories that you can generate, using all of that as your inspiration.

3. Do your research to basically add validity and showcase your expertise and knowledge base.

4. Make sure you always let people know what you can do for them, either in a sign-off paragraph at the end of each post or by example within the content of the post. Including a picture of yourself is always helpful too.

5. Figure out how much blogging you need to do. Once a week. Twice a week. Whatever.

6. Do some more research to discover where you should be posting your blogs. Start with the biggies, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc and work your way down the line.

7. Market the hell out of whatever you are doing. This means that wherever you write your source blog, make sure you always link it to all the other places you need to be. And do this at least twice a day, every day until you do your next post. This is where a program like Hubspot can become very useful in terms of scheduling your posting to multiple sites

8. Respond respectfully to comments and follow the commenters to build your organic audience.

9. Stick to the program.

10. If you can’t stick to the program, start investigating other means of achieving your business objectives. Because there are a lot of ways to skin that cat.

And Last But Not Least

I can’t teach people how to write. You can either write or you can’t. So my instructional posts are all based on the twin premises that you actually can write and you enjoy it.

If that’s the case, all I’m really doing is showing you how to get better at something you are already good at.

So now you know a bunch of the stuff I know about blogging. Hope it makes you better at it if you feel you need to be.

But make no mistake about blogging or any kind of social media marketing. It’s a long road. And the reason that the success rate is so low is simply that the people who actually have the stamina to organize their approach and stick with it are few and far between.

Any company or personal site or blog site or social media site does not really grow in any significant way without a lot of help from a number of sources both on and offline.

Communication that works is communication that recognizes that the most dangerous thing you can do is put all your eggs in one basket.

So while this piece has been all about on line marketing and brand building through blogging, it is by no means the only type of activity you need to do to make your business grow.

This is the third in a series about blog writing...you can read the first 2 posts here:



Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional and amateur photographer. He has run his own strategic and creative consulting business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, prolific marketing & op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

You can follow Jim

On beBee: https://www.bebee.com/bee/jim-murray

On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-murray-b8a3a4/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jimbobmur

On Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/y97gxro4


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Jim Murray

2 years ago #2

Thanks Fay. I'm also an art director and use a graphics program called Adobe InDesign to make my graphics.

Fay Vietmeier

2 years ago #1

Jim Murray I appreciate you ;~) Thank you so very much Jim for sharing your valuable insights ... I am going to read the other posts. one question I wanted to ask is how you make you lift your images off the page? ... I'm a bit challenged with technology but would like to learn how to improve visuals/aesthetics Also did you create you logos or have them professionally done? They are very distinguishing & appealing I love "ONWORDS & UPWORDS"

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