My friend Brad Merrill took the plunge and started a blog.
It has the potential to be an awesome personal branding tool for himself, and I applaud what he’s doing.
This is the first of two posts where I’m going to give feedback (with his permission) on his nascent strategy. Today I’ll talk about how he let me (and hundreds of others) know about the blog.
It’s important to let others know you have a blog… not just once but frequently. Be careful how you do it, however, because no one wants an email each time you write a new blog post (unless they opt in to a newsletter, or something like that).
Here’s Brad’s message I got last night:
There are a few things I like about this email, and perhaps a line or two I don’t care for. Instead of critiquing the entire thing, I want to focus on TWO things:
The length of this message is PERFECT. If it were any longer I’d get lost, or not read it, or save it for later, or something like that. If it were shorter I might feel like he’s just spamming me and a million others with “read my blog!” It is sincere, concise, and very focuses.
The Question in Yellow.
This jumped out at me the most. At first I thought “COOL, a professional blog” (as opposed to a personal blog).
But then, when I read the question “if you have some things you would like to (to) see me write about,” tell me.
That’s when I thought “where’s the focus?”
Indeed, reading through the email again I realized I had no idea what the theme, or topics, of the blog are. Is it a personal blog? Is it a professional blog? What exactly does Brad do, or think about?
If Brad could help me understand this, even if it’s just a reminder (some people know, but a reminder doesn’t hurt), he would have used this email as a branding tool, and helped reinforce his personal brand to his contacts (whether they clicked over to the blog or not).
At a minimum he could have said:
I am going to write about ______ and ______. My last post talks about ethical behavior.
To take it up a notch he could have said something like:
As a professional accountant I see a lot of interesting things. I’ll write posts about my expertise (sales and use tax and financial accounting) and keep it interesting with stories and examples. I will probably write about my passions, including watch collecting) and try to always tie the posts back to business ideas. Whether you are an accountant or just interested in business, I hope to have relevant content for you. If you have any ideas or questions, please let me know, as I begin this journey.
In the first email he reinforces his brand. In the second email he drills down a bit more so people understand more of his breadth and depth… even if they don’t become blog readers they will know what some of his specialties and passions are.
“Where’s the focus” was my first thought, the second thought was: missed branding opportunity.
Next post I’ll critique his second blog post.
Thanks, Jason for your input. I appreciate it my friend.
As stated in my very first post (which from your critique I know you read) and which I blew by not putting into my introductory email, my intent is to keep it business related.
Especially topics that I have an interest in and have experience with. Things like time management, sales & use taxes, financial accounting with the occasional personal post. Most of those I will probably try to make a business tie in, but some it just won’t be possible.
This part may have been as simple as re-reading the email before sending or writing it, going away for five minutes and coming back.