It has been a tremendous learning experience working with Carol and helping shape this blog for the past eight years. During this time, we’ve changed and grown, and tried several different types of content.
Our overarching goal, however, has always been to serve you, and give you the best information we can to help your business be successful.
We’ve covered the basics, including sales, marketing, branding, customer service, financials, operations, and mindset. We’ve had guest contributors and corporate-sponsored posts. We’ve supported product launches and book launches. We’ve done videos.
I’ve learned so many things, but here are the Top 5.
1. Everyone must check spelling and grammar
Everyone needs to ensure they have spell check on, and I also recommend enabling grammar check. Sure, it’s wrong sometimes, but it catches a lot of errors, too.
2. Everyone benefits from an editor
I hate being edited, but when I have something important to send out, I will engage a copy editor to look at a final draft.
Inevitably, they will reword something, find a grammatical error, or identify something I got wrong. It’s not fun, but I’d rather have them find it than a reader.
Paying a copy editor is something most people should consider. It ups your professional look and feel significantly more than the cost, so in my mind it pays for itself. Please think about doing this.
Or, at a minimum, when you finish writing something, put it away and look at it a few hours later (or even the next day) so you have fresh eyes.
3. Industry professionals often send the worst posts
You would think that guest posts from professionals in PR or who work for digital agencies would send clean content that wouldn’t require much editing.
You would be wrong.
Or at least that hasn’t been my experience.
To date, the worst posts have come from authors and social media experts who write for a living. That always leaves me scratching my head.
You know who submits great content? The newer writer who is over the moon to contribute to a NYT bestselling author’s site. I’ll take those folks all day long.
4. Most people won’t read the guidelines
One guest contributor joked that our guidelines are better than Harvard Business Review’s. We took that as a compliment.
Carol and I spent a fair bit of time when I started to create a document that clearly tells people what the word count should be, what format contributors should use, how we do bios, etc. Our guidelines answer all the important questions, including tone and topics we like.
Some people read the guidelines, follow them, and send me something I can use. Many people don’t.
5. Many people will miss their deadline
I let people set their own deadline because I have no idea what else they are working on.
Surprisingly, most people will miss the deadline they set for themselves.
Often, they won’t even notify me or let me know when they will be able to get it to me. Even some very dear friends have done this to me more than once.
And sometimes would-be contributors just disappear completely.
As you can see, the bar is very low. With a little concentration, you could make a blog editor’s day. I jump for joy when someone makes an effort to follow our well-documented process.