Just like every Wednesday before this, today brings yet another list of rules for the marketing world.  Although this week, we're more on the topic of self-marketing (specifically self-branding).  Here are 10 simple rules to follow to use blogging effectively in your business, career, and even job search.

  1. Set a schedule and keep it
    Don't make people guess when you'll be posting content.  Stay consistent with your updates.
  2. Be interesting
    While you might absolutely love every detail about your day, we don't necessarily need to know what you're eating for breakfast or which pair of blue jeans you want to wear to work.  This is the problem plaguing most Twitter-ites, and it can drift into the blogging world, too.
  3. Be relevant
    If you're writing a blog about landscaping, stay on topic.  Your readers tune in day after day because you post thoughtful articles about gardening and fertilization.  A random post about how you got a new bookcase won't bring people back for more.
  4. Be memorable
    Just because you should stay on topic doesn't mean you can't spice things up a bit.  Add a quirky side to your blog to help your content stand out from the crowd.
  5. Spell check!
    I can't explain just how important this rule is.  It's annoying to read a well-written and thought-out article and have to dismiss it because of poor use of English.  Check your spelling and your grammar before you post.
  6. Use pictures
    I break this rule more than any other, so do as I say, not as I do :-)  Use images to illustrate your content otherwise your readers will bore more quickly and move on to other writers' stuff.
  7. Use lists
    It's easier and more interesting to read top ten lists than heavy discussions of "the best of."  Whenever and wherever you can, use lists to express hierarchy rather than weighty words.
  8. Comment on other people's stuff
    Make a habit out of reading other writers' posts.  Make a habit out of commenting on their material.  Not only will this encourage trackbacks to your site, but it might inspire new articles and crossovers in the future.  Collaboration = growth.
  9. Don't over-advertise
    Everyone dreams of making it big by selling advertising space on your site.  It's OK to have one or two spaces for rent - maybe even Google AdWords.  But don't sell so much space on your site that people can't find your content.  It's annoying, disrespectful to your readers, and won't make you rich in the end.
  10. Don't plagiarise
    The majority of trackbacks to my site are other people copying and re-posting my content.  Many other bloggers complain about the same thing.  This is NOT OK! Using someone else's material to drive traffic to your site is dishonest, unethical, and rude.  Don't do it!