50 Qualities of the Best Business Blogs in the World

by Marcus Sheridan

Every day I get emails from all over the world of business owners and marketers asking me one simple question:

“Marcus, will you take a quick look at my blog?”

And to the best of my ability, I always try to take a look. Yes, I’m feeling the time crunch more and more, but I still find so much joy in having someone in Europe put enough trust in a “pool guy from Virginia” to give him or her blogging advice. :-)

Doing It Right

I mention this because over the last 2 years I’ve looked at and analyzed hundreds of business blogs. Some companies were big. Others were small. Some had an army of content producers and curators. Others had an army of one. Some had an unlimited budget for blogging and social media while others couldn’t rub two nickels together. Some sold soap. Other sold jet engines.

Yep, by this point, I’ve seen some of the best, worst, and most diverse the blogosphere has to offer.

This being said, I’m always impressed with businesses doing it right. I love it when success is achieved and when folks are getting positive results through the incredible medium that is blogging.

But results don’t just come naturally. There are certain actions and qualities that one must take in order to rise above the chatter and receive the love from their readers, their industry, and the other master of all—Google.

So that’s what this post is about, 50 of the most essential qualities of some of the greatest business blogs in the world. Here goes…

50 Qualities of the Best Business Blogs in the World

1. They answer the basic consumer questions first and foremost.

2. They don’t suffer from the curse of knowledge.

3. They don’t try to impress readers because they know that happens naturally with great teaching.

4. They don’t brag about themselves, their company, and why they’re so awesome.

5. They are willing to have a conversation below the post (in the comments section) or behind the scenes via email.

6. They don’t waste words, and if they can state it shorter, they do.

7. The owner/CEO of the company is involved and also is a blog contributor.

8. They include at least one image on every post.

9. They make it readable by using short paragraphs, bullets, headers, etc.

10. They include video as much as possible.

11. They address subjects no one else in their industry is willing to address.

12. If they see something wrong in their industry, they tactfully call-out the action, person, or company doing it.

13. They leverage as many employees as they can in the content curation process, and see every member of their staff as a “blog contributor.”

14. They don’t have a bunch of frivolous red tape, filters, and stupid management teams holding up every blog article that’s written.

15. They have thick skin and don’t back down as soon as someone doesn’t like what they have to say.

16. They are very consistent in their writing schedule, and most post at least twice per week.

17. They recognize the importance of great content combined with solid SEO, and don’t turn their back on either one of the two.

18. They don’t like to waste the time of their readers.

19. They never talk about their silly company picnic, employee retreat, etc.

20. They look to shine light on others “doing it right” in their industry.

21. They don’t try to make everyone happy.

22. In fact, they push customers out of the sales funnel as much as they push customers down the sales funnel, all for the pursuit of building the right tribe and creating the right clients.

23. They don’t care about their competitors stealing their “secret sauce” because, well, it’s likely not a secret anyway.

24. Their writing has personality, flair, and passion—the opposite of a college lecture hall.

25. They don’t give a rip about metrics that don’t mean a dang thing…like Klout.

26. They don’t bury their head in the sand when it comes to addressing issues (good, bad, and ugly) their readers are thinking about.

27. They are the best listeners in the world because they understand that listening to customers is all they really need to do in order to have unlimited ideas for blog content.

28. They are master storytellers.

29. They talk about their customers way more than they talk about themselves.

30. They write with passion and clarity.

31. They know their shtick.

32. They’re not afraid to make you laugh or make you cry.

33. They see themselves as “teachers” and “educators.” This is not just a blog thing, it’s a cultural shift within the company.

34. They quickly get rid of employees that don’t share this vision.

35. They see everything their business does, every service it renders, and ever product it carries, as a content opportunity.

36. They stay on the cutting-edge of their industry.

37. They run stories and articles when no one else will…because it’s the right thing to do and they’ve got guts.

38. They know by “giving it away” they will receive way more in the long run than their competitors who hoard information, thought, and industry best-practices.

39. They make the time to blog when there is none.

40. They understand the need for community, but also realize community is nothing unless their business doors are actually open and they’re turning a profit.

41. They invest money into their blogging platform so it doesn’t look cheap.

42. Even though their goal is to educate, they still understand the power of subtle selling, calls-to-action, etc.

43. They focus on numbers that matter the most—visits, leads, and conversions…and not on stats that don’t always equal profits—likes, tweets, shares, etc.

44. They are willing to be imperfect, make mistakes, and learn as they go.

45. They track their blog’s ROI (return on investment) and realize which articles are generating the most revenue and which ones are not.

46. They think wayyyy outside the box.

47. They show gratitude, support, and sincere appreciation to those readers, fans, and other companies that support them.

48. They don’t strive for “awards” or “best-of lists” or anything of that matter, understanding that such accolades will come naturally if they just do their part.

49. They understand complaining for the sake of complaining is a stupid business model and eventually, if done too much, will turn them into “the boy who cried wolf.”

50. They love what they do. They do it well. And they are relentless in their pursuit of excellence.

Your Turn

What’s funny about this list is that even though I’ve listed 50, there are many more I’ve not mentioned, which is why I’d love to know your thoughts. What qualities would you add to the list? Which ones do you disagree with? Which ones have you had the toughest time with?

As always, your thoughts matter my friends, so jump in everyone!

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{ 119 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth Zive February 17, 2012 at

So many of these points resonate, Marcus – not just for me, but as I consider my clients’ interests. This is a fabulous list for me to circulate as I try to drive home the foundational importance of content and social media as a business imperative. SO many companies haven’t yet jumped on the train – and it’s fast moving. They’re going to be left in the dust if they don’t make act quickly. And you’ve summed it all up in a really compelling way here. Bravo!

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

You’re too kind Ruth, and thanks so much. :)

Yep, the train clearly has left the station, and there are a lot of folks running down the tracks after it as we speak….I just hope they can catch it!

Thanks so much for taking a moment to stop by Ruth,

Marcus

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Rebecca Livermore February 17, 2012 at

Marcus,

Thanks for posting such a great list. I was hooked immediately even with #1, as I just had a conversation yesterday with one of my clients about the importance of using a blog to answer questions. 39 is also a huge deal, and something I wrote about just recently, as stating that I don’t have time to blog is an excuse that I just recently had to admit to myself isn’t true.

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Stef February 17, 2012 at

Rebecca I’m right there with you on #39.

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Rebecca Livermore February 17, 2012 at

Hey, Stef, at least we’re admitting it. That’s a start, right? ;-)

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Thanks kind lady, I do appreciate it :)

Now go make that time ;)

Marcus

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Rebecca Livermore February 19, 2012 at

Oh, I have this worked out. My natural tendency is to focus on everyone else first and then if I have time, do my own thing. That never happens. So now I’m getting up earlier, and taking care of my own stuff first, before I start on work for others. I made this decision because I realized that no matter what, I will take care of other people, so no worries there ;-), but it is easy to neglect myself. So it seems the only way around that tendency of mine is to do my own thing first — and do my best not to feel guilty about it. :)

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Andrew Donahey February 17, 2012 at

Good stuff, no great. This is one of the best lists I’ve seen on the topic. Easily sharable with exec. staff, who already believe in the value of blogging, but don’t understand it takes their participation too, and not just with ghost writers. I manage two corporate blogs and the one thing I haven’t seen much discussion on is being aware of the “P” word – check out this blog entry on same: http://www.optiosolutions.com/blog/bid/101848/Corporate-Blogging-10-Steps-to-Avoid-the-P-Word

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Good point Andrew, plagiarism is something folks do need to be aware of.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Marcus

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Stef February 17, 2012 at

Great list Marcus — I recently had a client ask me what a blog was. Sounds crazy to us maybe but to her not really.

Doors are opening now for her that would not have otherwise simply because she’s gaining and understanding of the power of this stuff.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Actually Stef, that’s a GREAT point. I’ve made the same error in that once I gave an entire seminar on blogging and at the end, one of the folks said, “So where does one put this blog thing? Is it a website?”

Now I make sure to address this early on. ;)

Marcus

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Jon Loomer February 17, 2012 at

Great post, Marcus. A critical one for me is #22:

22. In fact, they push customers out of the sales funnel as much as they push customers down the sales funnel, all for the pursuit of building the right tribe and creating the right clients.

As I’ve become more focused, I’m realizing that I’ve attracted a lot of readers in the past who aren’t likely clients. And I need to start pushing away some of those individuals. Not easy, but something that needs to be done.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Good for you Jon in realizing that. As you grow and grow in this, you’re going to find that you’ll often times have to choose which person you want to choose- the potential client or the regular reader. I’m not saying they are sometimes not the same person, but sometimes bloggers allow the regulars to dictate their content and actions…and as you already know, this isn’t good.

Thanks so much for pointing this out bud.

Marcus

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Jens P. Berget February 17, 2012 at

Wow Marcus, this list is awesome. I don’t understand how you come up with huge lists like this. It must take forever :)

One thing I would like to add, is one thing that most business blogs lack (or at least the ones I’ve been reading), and that’s being personal. In my opinion the should focus on people, the ones writing the blog, and relationships with the storytellers, and not focus so much on the fact that it’s a company. It’s so much more fun and interesting to understand who we’re communicating with.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Hahaha Jens. This is going to sound like bragging, but to be honest, this list took less than 30 minutes to write. I just started jotting thoughts down and figured I’d stop at 50…but I think because I’ve written so very much about this stuff for the past two years that at this point, so much is just stored up there, ready to come out. :)

Thanks so much for all your support brother,

Marcus

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Sue Grimm February 17, 2012 at

Hi Marcus – First time here. I love your post and I love your willingness to say what you do. I have been answering a lot of questions on a new blog in a crowded field and always remind myself it’s the customer first. It’s part of why I haven’t been engaged yet with people like you who I consider my peers. I’ve been covering the basics. But what I wanted to say is that you do something very, very important. You don’t just tell, you show. Too many people use canned phrases like you need to “give to get” but they don’t back it up and show it! I may join you in the near future calling bull on some things, but for now, I just enjoy watching you become the success you deserve to be. I thought it was about time I let you know I’m here and one of your fans. I’m being sincere when I say that. I mean it. – Sue

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Well dang Sue, this was an awfully nice thing to say…Thank you! :)

And a big congrats on getting your blog going and have such a “teacher” based approach.

That’s going to give you quite the foundation.

Thanks so much for the comment,

Marcus

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Matthew Stock February 17, 2012 at

5 more from a rookie blogger and TSL disciple:

51. They find an easy platform to use and don’t get too crazed about technology
52. They have a lot of patience and understanding that things don’t happen overnight
53. They read and learn from blogs outside their industry, but still have their own voice
54. They have one good editor to rely on. What makes sense to you doesn’t always register with others
55. They have 50 more unique rules of their own (“about that picnic…”)

As always, great stuff Marcus.

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Cheryl Pickett February 17, 2012 at

Great additions Matthew. I especially like the one about understanding it won’t happen overnight. I think a lot of small biz owners believe blogging is like advertising. You run something, like you would an ad in the paper, you get a result. Not always the case though, in fact, rarely, as Marcus has talked about earlier on this blog.

Not being so terribly worried about technology is a good point too. It can be intimidating at first, but there are plenty of simple tools. If I can do it, that means just about anyone can :-)

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Great points Cheryl…we’ve all got to approach this blogging stuff for “the long haul.”

And a big congrats to you on overcoming your tech worries Cheryl. I’m sure that quality in you will truly help you better relate to many of your clients going forward.

Have a GREAT one :)

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer February 18, 2012 at

Agreeing w/ Cheryl … a good list Matthew. Adarash also picked up on the ‘picnic’ thing and I think if done right, if done well then an insider’s look at a company can make for a compelling and connective blog post. Gonna also give a shout-out to #53, thinking outside their own blog; and depending on the scope of a blog, maybe more than one editor but at least one team to make sure all posts are consistent in terms of tone, quality, voice.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Look at you Stock, you superstar you. :) This was exceptional my man…

To our own rules!

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley February 17, 2012 at

Marcus,

I don’t even know what to say about this post. If I were you I would now chop each one of these topic up and write entire blog post on each. Because there is so much meat to each one.

So thought provoking.

Thank you

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Hey man, thanks. It’s funny what you say, because out of all these “qualities”, I’ve probably written about each at least one…often times more. Guess that’s what 2+ years of this stuff will do to you!! :)

Have a great weekend bud,

Marcus

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Jim Jenks February 17, 2012 at

I agree with the point about not bragging about themselves. I love when they teach me something without me feeling like they are selling me something or that they are all about themselves. I am definitely working on making my blog something that people come and find useful in things they’re involved in. Thanks, very helpful.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Good for you Jim. I think if you continue with that, you’re clearly going to get the results.

Keep rockin!

Marcus

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Jon Cooper February 17, 2012 at

You should seriously add this to the list & keep the title the same (if you understand what I’m getting at):

#51: they over deliver!

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Hahahaha Jon, why didn’t I include that one?! Love it :)

Marcus

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Adarsh Thampy February 18, 2012 at

Marcus,

Great post. I have some disagreements here :)

“They don’t try to impress readers because they know that happens naturally with great teaching.”- Not for me always. If a company has a cool post (not necessarily a teaching oriented one), that connects with me on a personal level, I’ll enjoy reading it more than a how to post. Agreed teaching often is required, but I do believe that you need to mix in other content as well.

“They don’t brag about themselves, their company, and why they’re so awesome.”- I believe you do have to state why you are awesome (in a subtle way) so that your customers will enjoy working with you or just enjoy feeling good for being associated with you in some way.

“They include at least one image on every post.”- I really don’t think you should give an advice like this. Not because it;s not good (It’s a great advice). There are people who’ll blindly follow you and just because you said all posts needs images, they’ll try to include an image in every post when it might not need one. Worse, they might include images that would be counter productive to the whole post.

“If they see something wrong in their industry, they tactfully call-out the action, person, or company doing it.”- Agree. But extreme caution is required. Some of the practices recently followed by link-assistant recently trying to call out its competitors on several occasions has turned me against them. Now, no matter how good a product they make, I am not going to take a look at it.

“They never talk about their silly company picnic, employee retreat, etc.”- Once in a while it might be great to actually post something related to the company. Your readers get to know more about who’s behind the company (much more effective than “our team” page). Overdoing it is not good, but then again, once in 6 months or so is good in my opinion.

” They don’t have a bunch of frivolous red tape, filters, and stupid management teams holding up every blog article that’s written.”- Kind of tricky. Giving complete control over your corporate blog to just about any of your employees is a bad idea. I’d suggest a casual look over before it goes live. You never know what people are going to post and your company reputation is at stake.

“They don’t give a rip about metrics that don’t mean a dang thing…like Klout.”- Problem is most people don’t really know which metric is important and which is not! And there is no one size fits all metric out there.

Cheers :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Good stuff Adarsh…but let me have a little rebuttle here as well.

“They don’t try to impress readers because they know that happens naturally with great teaching.”- Not for me always. If a company has a cool post (not necessarily a teaching oriented one), that connects with me on a personal level, I’ll enjoy reading it more than a how to post. Agreed teaching often is required, but I do believe that you need to mix in other content as well.

Great teaching is not just about facts and figures. Great teaching is story telling. Great teaching is the ability to integrate the personal stuff with the informational stuff. Great teaching is understanding the right balance of info….That’s what great teaching is all about.

“They don’t brag about themselves, their company, and why they’re so awesome.”- I believe you do have to state why you are awesome (in a subtle way) so that your customers will enjoy working with you or just enjoy feeling good for being associated with you in some way.

As per definition, “bragging” is not subtle. Great writers and companies know how to get across that message without it coming across as bragging at all.

“They include at least one image on every post.”- I really don’t think you should give an advice like this. Not because it;s not good (It’s a great advice). There are people who’ll blindly follow you and just because you said all posts needs images, they’ll try to include an image in every post when it might not need one. Worse, they might include images that would be counter productive to the whole post.

I didn’t make this one up. It’s a fact that posts with images have better stats. I could go over the numbers, but it would take too long. But like I said, the studies don’t lie.

“They never talk about their silly company picnic, employee retreat, etc.”- Once in a while it might be great to actually post something related to the company. Your readers get to know more about who’s behind the company (much more effective than “our team” page). Overdoing it is not good, but then again, once in 6 months or so is good in my opinion.

A blog is about education. A “company news” section is about the news, events, etc. The two should not be mixed in my opinion.

” They don’t have a bunch of frivolous red tape, filters, and stupid management teams holding up every blog article that’s written.”- Kind of tricky. Giving complete control over your corporate blog to just about any of your employees is a bad idea. I’d suggest a casual look over before it goes live. You never know what people are going to post and your company reputation is at stake.

Of course filtering/editing is always a good thing…but more than one hoop is too much IMO.

Again, great stuff bud. This was fun. :)

Marcus

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Adarsh Thampy February 18, 2012 at

Marcus,

Again, yes I do agree with you. It’s just based on how I might feel about a particular blog. And I don’t represent majority of the audience either :)

I didn’t make this one up. It’s a fact that posts with images have better stats. I could go over the numbers, but it would take too long. But like I said, the studies don’t lie.

About the images, yes I agree. Having images does have benefits. What I was saying was, if we try to include image for the sake of having an image and if we get the choice of image wrong, then the whole purpose of the image would be lost. In my opinion, if you can find a good picture relevant to the post, go with it. If not, don’t!

A blog is about education. A “company news” section is about the news, events, etc. The two should not be mixed in my opinion.

True. But it gets a bit more personal if you post insider stories once in a while. I have seen many blogs do that and it;s actually fun to read (A break from all the info we are taking in on a daily basis). Besides when you see employees being happy, it kind of makes us feel happy too. But yeah, too much of personal or company stuff in the blog might come off as negative.

Cheers :)

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Davina K. Brewer February 18, 2012 at

Nice point, counter point you two.. well-argued on both sides. Think a lot of this comes down to “YMMV” as no two blogs are created exactly equal.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

OK, I must be done, but what’s that one mean Davina? :)

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Mark February 18, 2012 at

This is a great list of attributes for a rockin’ blog Marcus.

I have great respect to those folks who have a humble spirit and servants heart.

I’m not negative too often, but those who put themselves on pedestals and think & act like they’re sh_t don’t stink make me sick. It’s like they’re stuck in high school or something. Get a life!

There are many great folks out there in blogosphere – too many to mention here; but two people who immediately come to mind who contribute significant value to the community they serve and keep it real are you and Chris Brogan.

I love what I see, hear & learn from you two – thank you!

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

I appreciate the heck out of you and your support Mark, so thanks brother. Yes, when people think they’re the “stuff”, they end up looking like “stuff”, and it just goes down from there. Yeah, sure we have to call a spade a spade, but may we always do it in the right manner.

You’re one of the great ones in this biz Mark, I really mean that man.

Marcus

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Charlee Larson February 18, 2012 at

51. They’re not writing to word count. I see so much advice about having 1,000 word posts or writing pillar posts, but if you let that get in the way it shows.

52. They have a sense of humor. Though I guess this is kind of #32. And if they make you cry, it shouldn’t be out of frustration. :-)

Thanks.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Love your points here Charlee. Perfect additions! Word counting is for the 1700s, not 2012! :)

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer February 18, 2012 at

Just commented on Danny Brown’s blog the other day that I want to read more business and corporate blogs. I need to see more of what’s going on there, who’s doing what right and wrong; and make the time to add them to my reading list.

Agree w/ Jon about point #22; very valid and it’s perhaps the biggest challenge because not everyone reads blogs. In some ways all the great SEO-friendly, inbound marketing heavy blogging still won’t attract potential customers to our sales funnel. We want that audience of marketers, business owners just itching to hire someone to help them w/ all this – doesn’t mean they’re out there looking for us.

Adding a twofer, in light of being ‘educators’ and being about ‘community’ and offering value, not being afraid to step, make challenges, building after Matthew’s:

56. They talk about others, they share info from different sources and are open to new ideas.
57. They don’t wall themselves off within their own blog, their own audiences and safe tribes.

I write this 1) b/c I really believe that, though it’s proving more of a challenge and 2) per my style of blogging, you my friend have found one of my peeves: every link is to one of your own posts. Marcus, I know each of these posts (most of which I’ve read) is on point and of value. But… it’s just you, having a one-way conversation with yourself here — until of course, the comments when you step up and engage, which you know I totally respect. I know you highlight people in your community ALL THE TIME, you find interesting and smart voices to share – you just didn’t do it this post.

This is for ME as much as anyone. I want to step outside more, include others, showcase some truly different ideas by way of reaching those other audiences. Good business blogs don’t care from bogus ‘status’ metrics, gaining favor of the ‘social’ types and keep their own voices. They stay on focus with their goals, their industry, their community. They also don’t talk with/to/about just ‘themselves.’ FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Strongly agree with 56 and 57 Davina, and you’re point “walling” yourself in is strong, one I haven’t heard worded like that before.

As for linking to myself in this post, I do understand what you’re saying, but there are really two answers as to “why?”:

1. 70% of the folks that come here every day are new readers. Most have no clue as to the stuff I’ve written before. Also, many articles I wrote in the early days of TSL were read by no one, and so it’s nice to finally have eyes to see them.

2. This being said, I would have liked to have linked more to other blogs in this post, absolutely. But what no one understands is I had exactly 26 minutes to write this post, and 10 to publish it….I’m not kidding. It was Friday morning, I had a full day of phone appts, and didn’t even think I was going to have the time to post. Thus, this was one of the fastest articles I could write, and I didn’t have the time to research, link, etc, etc.

So those are my honest thoughts on that, for better or worse.

Thanks so much for leaving your thoughts Davina,

Marcus

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Davina K. Brewer February 20, 2012 at

YMMV = your mileage may vary, which is a perfect lead-in to this:

2) I know the benefits of a schedule – and yet, they are also a self-imposed deadline. Just not convinced that shifting to a Tues/Fri schedule for one week would alienate subscribers or disrupt the time-space continuum that much. ;-) TEHO.

1) Thinking about audience is key Marcus. You are very smart to write for those new readers, those who read but don’t comment or engage, those who are only here once in a while. Of course you’d want to introduce them to other posts. That’s why blogs have “related posts” at the bottom and “popular posts” in sidebars and yes, links within articles. As a new reader, I might see all that info and think “Wow, he really knows his stuff.” Or – being a cranky old crank, as I am – I could think, “Man, this guy’s in love w/ his own voice, just repeating himself over and over.” Don’t mean to be picking on you because yes, you do share a lot from other people. Like I said, I just happened to notice this time.

The “walled” comment, I’ve had some discussions w/ folks (Judy Gombita, Neal Schaffer, others) about that re: everything from commenting systems to social behaviors like following only 200 of your 20K followers. Think it’s a good, descriptive term .. may have to write something… hmmm. FWIW.

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Harriet February 18, 2012 at

I think its great that you find the time in your very tight schedule to look at other peoples blogs and to give them advice. You written the 50 qualities of the best buisness blogs but I think patience and a willingness to help others is a great attribute as well!

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Thanks Harriet, I do appreciate the kind words, as always.

Smiles,

Marcus

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Alan February 18, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

The biggest challenge I face is that I am a content writer and am often to give advice on a business’s blog. Business folks run their business, it is their job. Writing great content is my job – and I do it well. Convincing clients that there is so much more to optimizing content than key words is a huge challenge. I recently let a client go due to her insisting that there be no less than 11 mentions of a series of about three key phrases in 500 words. The work would be unreadable and heavily penalized by the Panda and Farmers upgrades to Google’s search algorithm. Why don’t clients let us do what we know are best.

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Marcus Sheridan February 18, 2012 at

Honestly Alan, the key to what you do is making your own inbound marketing so good that you don’t have to deal with businesses and business owners that are too aloof to put their trust in your expertise. To give you an example, if anyone wants to work with me from a consultation standpoint, they have to read my eBook first. If they don’t, I can tell they simply don’t have enough desire and motivation, and they’re not willing to do what it takes to find the success they need.

But good luck to you in growing your client base and working with the right people Alan.

Best,

Marcus

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Andrea Hypno February 19, 2012 at

Ahh, Klout, that wonderful service which goes hand in hand with likes, shares and tweets. Because if on your social profile you get 100 shares or likes a day then you can look at just a little part of it and this makes likes, shares and tweets useless. Together with the plus thing which is pushed just by Google. Social media are, imho, very much overvalued for 80 percent of business. At least in terms of real ROI, but I’m ready to change my mind if I see some real and sound numbers. But it might be that I think this way because I evaluate bloggers based on their content only and not on their social profile.

I guess the most important feature is really being interested in what readers say and above all not having a blog because that’s such a great business tactic, or a money making machine. As you said passion should be the main driving force of blogging.
Clearly there is money involved and it’s a good business model. Even if it takes usually a long time before the balance moves toward the blogger as we all know what it really takes to have a good and successful blog in time, money and efforts.

Also I’dd add not listening to gurus and not following what every other say as most of the times they are just fables or legends. Testing everything is always the best thing to do. Like you said in the previous post about guest posting that’s not for everyone and for every business.

One thing is blogging because you like it, another one is doing it because it’s such a good business tactic, or money making venture, or because everyone else does it, or because your business is not so cool without a blog.

I’ve had a good example on Growmap where I left a comment on a post about selling a blog, a bit controversial maybe, in January and given that the guest author did not answer to it Gail, the owner, answered it himself today. Isn’t this a great example of blogging right? I think it is.

Note: I haven’t put the direct link because I don’t remember if it’s right or not. :)

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Mike February 19, 2012 at

Very nice list of qualities that everyone should fallow to make their blogs outstanding.
Personally I like great stories, even if these are news they can be told differently from the rest of the blogs and I like to read some innovative approaches.

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Amber King February 20, 2012 at

These are great tips Marcus. One tip that I like the most is engaging with prospects and clients. It is important to keep in touch with them and ask their feedback in order to improve product and services.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2012 at

Great point Amber. Asking for reader feedback is certainly one of the key qualities to a great blog!

Appreciate you stopping by,

Marcus

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Gini Dietrich February 20, 2012 at

7. The owner/CEO of the company is involved and also is a blog contributor.

That is very interesting. I’m curious now if that’s a trend…I’m going to start paying attention.

I also appreciate #15 – thick skin. If the business blog does #7, the things that will come out of it (such as #15) are pretty incredible. Imagine if Susan G Komen had executives who were blogging. They would have been able to stay on message, when the going got tough, because they’d been there before.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2012 at

I do think it’s going to start to be the common trend in many ways, especially as more owners jump in and say how they feel, the competitive nature of other CEOs and owners will get made and want a piece of that blogging action too…nothing like the power of competition to change the world of business blogging. ;)

Thanks so much for dropping by m’lady,

Marcus

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Murray Lunn February 20, 2012 at

“21. They don’t try to make everyone happy.” is probably my favorite of all of them Marcus.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times people have tried to approach blogging and business with this mentality that you need to be perfect for EVERY customer when the reality is that the shoe doesn’t always fit.

Sure, you’ll alienate people but those aren’t the individuals you want in the first place, imo.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2012 at

Yep, the moment we accept we’re not a good fit for the entire world the magic can really start to happen bud. I know it has changed my life more than once online, that’s for sure.

Thanks so much for the comment Murray,

Marcus

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karen27 February 20, 2012 at

All great points, Marcus. I would add one more, which is a game changer for me: “Use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar.” When I see an error, the author immediately loses credibility in my eyes. Proofread, proofread and proofread some more!

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2012 at

Whats rong with bad speling and gramer Karen??
;-)

Good stuff!

Marcus

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Ryan@ Aspen Homes For Sale February 20, 2012 at

Great suggestions, Marcus – spot on. These are qualities that will be very useful for business bloggers.

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Adam February 20, 2012 at

This is a great list Marcus, truly. Lots of food for thought as I get ready for my relaunch. One thing I love about blogging (and the TSL community) is there were some really great additions in the comment section.

And for the record…

#44. They are willing to be imperfect, make mistakes, and learn as they go.

I’ve got that one down pat. :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2012 at

Hahaha Adam, I think we’ve all got that one down my man. ;)

Excited for your relaunch bud,

Marcus

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Jack@TheJackB February 20, 2012 at

They never talk about their silly company picnic, employee retreat, etc.

I have to side with some of the others. The picnic/retreat provide a golden opportunity to talk about values and what a company stands for. It is a chance to be more than a stodgy old company whose sole purpose is to generate revenue and build market share.

They don’t brag about themselves, their company, and why they’re so awesome.

Humility is important but it is also important to learn how to share some of the highlights and accolades. If you are going to distinguish yourself from the competition you need to use the tools you have.

They think wayyyy outside the box.

I am not a fan of that line because I think it is overused and overrated. That is not to suggest that companies shouldn’t look to innovate but they shouldn’t do it at the expense of doing the basics.

And sometimes that is what happens. You get so caught up chasing what lies over the rainbow that you miss the fruit dangling in front of your nose.

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2012 at

I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying here Jack, but on a business website, there is a proper place and order for all things in my opinion.

Company news goes in the company news section (if there is a blog that only tells company news, then that’s fine too.)

Bragging goes in the “about” or “products” or “services” section. The blog is the step before that starts the trust so that the consumer will be more inclined to listen to the bragging.

And thinking way outside the box, for most companies, is as simple as answering every question they’ve ever been asked by a consumer– something 99% of businesses haven’t come close to doing, and in fact would rather ignore many of the questions they get day in and day out.

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Chris Hanlon February 21, 2012 at

Great list Marcus.
I started playing with a blog a few years back, posted sporadically, and was really feeling my way around it. Now I am looking to take the whole thing more seriously, so this list is very relevant for me.

In my day-job, the corporate people are looking to put together a digital media standard, so I forwarded this post to them to serve as a baseline for their brainstorming session. :)
Thanks!

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Marcus Sheridan February 22, 2012 at

Thrilled to hear that Chris, I certainly hope it makes a difference for you and your company!

Marcus

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Jon Yoffie February 23, 2012 at

Great stuff! If only more businesses understood the necessity of blogging at all – then we could work on tuning up their blogs!

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Susan McLennan February 24, 2012 at

Great list – thanks for this. I’ve just started a new blog and had tried to do pictures only every other post (actually, I usually feature one video, one post per week), so I’ll rethink that I guess. And I had also gotten a bit caught up in writing longer meatier posts of late (other blog writes shorter ones) but may re-think that too.

Thanks so much. Lots to think about from you Marcus and also from so many of those commenting.

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rambabu seo February 24, 2012 at

wow, these are some of the best 50 qualities which each blog should have, so that they can never let down the actual need of their customer prospects. They also come here for the solution, our goal is to assist the best regarded help in order happy with us!

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Susan Black February 24, 2012 at

Hey, Marcus -
Excellent list! I saw a link to it in an email from Mari Smith today and clicked that link immediately, hoping to find “They allow unmoderated comments and encourage engagement with their readers” somewhere in the top 10.

I did find this one:
5. They are willing to have a conversation below the post (in the comments section) or behind the scenes via email.
But it didn’t go as far as I would have liked :)

Yes, I’m working on convincing my business partner of the importance of that particular issue :) Any comments for me?!

Thanks,
Susan.

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rambabu seo February 26, 2012 at

it is really something very useful for all blog owners and must use it all , if not done before

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Judy Cullins February 24, 2012 at

Marcus! I love this list and I didnt even finish it! You are funny too. I appreciate that. POOL MAN–now that’s humble.

Me? a teacher at heart an it works great for my blog that helps writers make a great career with their books and blogs. All how to’s. I can add one or two tips that maybe your didn’t have.

Make sure you open with a great hook. Ask a question your audiecnce wants an answer to.

Sometimes my bookcoaching blogs get long from the examples I include. One way to save time is to “Divide and Conquer.” Make 3 so blogs on the points in a long one. Ilove blogging because it’s pretty easy. I take from my books, comments on Linkedin groups and other brilliant guys like yourself! My friend calls it “The Great Brain Robbery.”

Here’s a new sample
http://bookcoaching.com/wp/3-ways-to-speed-up-your-blog-time-still-write-quality-content/

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Aoife Gorey February 24, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

I LOVED this post. I just printed it off to hang up in my office. I’m a new Marketing Associate and in the past year my company has been focused a lot on blogging, and I have been selected as a writer. I love it, but it was a trial and error process for me for a while. (Marketing major with little writing experience!!) It’s been an amazing experience and I’m glad to see that I can tick off many off your points and that my company is on the right track.
Now I’m ready to check off the rest- thanks for a great article!!

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Marcus Sheridan February 26, 2012 at

First, congrats on your job as a writer Aoife, that’s wonderful!

And I’m even more thrilled you printed this out :) Stuff like that makes all that late night writing well worth it. ;)

Success to you Aoife!

Marcus

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Susan Payton February 24, 2012 at

Marcus–
I hear you speak at BlogWorld and then stumble across this post from another source. Cool! This is a fantastic list, and one I’d love to show all potential clients. Thanks for doing the hard work and putting it together for us!

Susan

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Marcus Sheridan February 26, 2012 at

Awesome Susan! Are you coming back to blog world btw? We should catch up!!

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David Himel February 25, 2012 at

The always include a picture of a sexy girl once and a while…i know this to be true

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Marcus Sheridan February 26, 2012 at

LOL, somehow that one didn’t make the top 50 David!

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Mike Beaumont February 25, 2012 at

Marcus, as I get more into blogging, and connect with awesome people like yourself, I find that there is so much to learn when it comes to creating a good blog. I am downloading your book now, and look forward to learning more from greats like you. If I may ask one question, what should I have in the way of “necessary” plugins for my blog to make it effective and have a pleasing appearance, as well as being functional from the standpoint of the customer.

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Keri February 26, 2012 at

Marcus,

Nice!

I’m adding this to my online list of resources. :)

~Keri

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Marcus Sheridan February 26, 2012 at

Great!

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Abigail February 27, 2012 at

Wow! love, love, love this post! Has truly inspired me to be more daring and open with my blog, something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, but have held back on! Just gotta do it! Thanks again for posting this!

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Marcus Sheridan February 28, 2012 at

Awesome Abigail!!! So glad you liked it!

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Kim Falkner February 27, 2012 at

Awesome post. Looking at the landscape of business blogs i would have to say the Kissmetrics blog is one of the best around. They are really close to getting the 50 “qualities” from above quite right.

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Marcus Sheridan February 28, 2012 at

I’d have to agree with you there Kim. KissMetrics is exceptional to say it in the least.

Thanks for stopping by!

Marcus

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Drill Rigs February 28, 2012 at

Very wonderful list. This can not only help businesses but bloggers in general. This list is applicable to social media marketing and even marketing on your own website if you look at the message of each point.

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Laura Click February 29, 2012 at

I’m late to the game here, but just wanted to say this is a super-fantastic list! Well done, Marcus! The theme of the post is – hustle, be passionate, be bold and commit to this effort.

Here are my additions….

- They use real images of their business to offer a behind-the-scenes look at what makes their business special.
- They talk like normal, human beings and avoid corporate mumbo jumbo.
- They are masterful storytellers.
- They shine a light on customers who are finding new and inventive ways to use their product or service.

And, as you said, we could easily list 50 more! :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 29, 2012 at

GREAT additions Laura!!! Thank you! :)

Have a great rest of your week!

Marcus

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Janus February 29, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

These are great observations! I think “writing with passion and clarity”; “thinking way outside the box”; and “showing gratitude, support and sincere appreciation to the community” are really important qualities in an outstanding blog.

I also think that making complicated things simple is another quality in a great blog. The internet is crowded with too many people talking and repeating about the same things. Being able to cut through the noises and simplify things into something useful and actionable are really important.

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Small Business Loans March 1, 2012 at

Adhering to all the 50 points would certainly make a blog great. But at the same time I wonder whether it is practically possible to observe all the nitty-gritty’s that the blogging qualities illustrate. Writers stay more focused on the topic while they are writing and if they have to think about all aspects then there are chances that the subject itself will get marred. Moreover, too many clauses may distort a writer’s freedom of expression.

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Marcus Sheridan March 1, 2012 at

To be, it’s just a matter of little by little, gaining these qualities. They certainly are a work in progress for all of us.

Thanks for the comment,

Marcus

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Judy Cullins March 1, 2012 at

Marcus– Thanks again for writing this blog–I really admire that you can put thoughtful ifno out concisely.You give good “food for thought!” It stimulated me I know. I’ve gone ahead and started a new blog attempting to think “outside that box” you and others mentioned.

What’s do you think? Title-What’s Standing on your Head Have to Do with Book Writing? ( or could be marketing online, etc). My goal? Be a guest blogger on top business blogs. Now I guest blog for others directly related to my topics.

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Marcus Sheridan March 1, 2012 at

Sounds like you’re on to something Judy, and I think your goal of guest posting in your niche to get your name out there might be a really great idea.

Good luck!!!

Marcus

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Latha March 2, 2012 at

Marcus, number 39 is something which I have to work with most for now.

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MarkMcLaughlin March 3, 2012 at

Appreciate your post Marcus. I really liked:

27. They are the best listeners in the world because they understand that listening to customers is all they really need to do in order to have unlimited ideas for blog content.

Which leads to;
29. They talk about their customers way more than they talk about themselves.

Thanks again.

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Marcus Sheridan March 3, 2012 at

Glad you like it Mark, and I hope it helped some. :)

Best to you,

Marcus

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MarkMcLaughlin March 9, 2012 at

Hey Marcus, you ever get up this way, Victoria BC Canada?

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Arjun Rai March 9, 2012 at

I have never seen a bunch of good and useful information together like this, thanks for sharing and it will defiantly gonna help people.

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Annalie Killian March 19, 2012 at

Marcus, I tweet led me to this post, and I found it a very interesting list of 50 ….but in some ways, what would have made this post REALLY ROCK would have been a link to these business blogs you rate highly. I am trying to establish a community of bloggers in our company, and we want it to serve our customers in a way that is more like a community education service than a sales pipeline. I’d appreciate a few samples of which business blogs do that sort of thing well, if you have a minute to spare?

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Marcus Sheridan March 19, 2012 at

Guess I’ll have to do a part two of this post, ehh Annalie? Problem is, the pickings here aren’t great, and it’s going to take a ton of research. I’m willing to spend the time, but these are observations I’ve made to myself over the course of 3 years and 300 articles I’ve written about these subjects. But your idea is a great one and I’ll have to do it.

Much thanks,

Marcus

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Annalie Killian March 20, 2012 at

Dear Marcus…I think that would make an EXCELLENT Follow-up post, and think how much traffic it will drive to your site from all the ones you link to in the context of best business blogs! So, research with a HUGE ROI!

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Tim March 21, 2012 at

Indeed you are right! As you have pointed out this great blogs, business I have known allows you to freely choose the path you take and they are always humble and keeps a low profile. Also please allow me to share Over the last four months I have been learning from an Aussie guy named Timothy Marc on how to build a business that allows you to live a freedom lifestyle. Without a doubt, I have learned some amazing skills in business from this guy, and I am currently seeing some great profits from my own business.

I know this post may raise scepticism with some of you, but if this does sound interesting to you, here is a link to my success story on is blog: http://www.freedombusinessblog.com/freedom-business-success-story-tim# and be sure check out his free audio if you like his vibe.
Ask a question on the blog too and I will help you any way I can.

Cheers, Tim.

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Alex R. March 21, 2012 at

Our company manages our clients blog and the 2 things I noticed that made the blog posts interesting and readable were 2 points that you mentioned: 1. The owner/CEO of the company is involved and also is a blog contributor and 2. They include at least one image on every post. Great article!

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2012 at

Have you been able to get the CEO involved Alex? If so, that’s pretty impressive. I see some doing it but not nearly enough. Clearly though, it sure impresses readers and customers to have that type of communication and access with the CEO.

Appreciate the comment Alex and continued success with your clients!

Marcus

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Linda Reynolds March 22, 2012 at

One thing I would like to add, is one thing that most business blogs lack (or at least the ones I’ve been reading), and that’s being personal. In my opinion the should focus on people, the ones writing the blog, and relationships with the storytellers, and not focus so much on the fact that it’s a company.

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Marcus Sheridan March 22, 2012 at

I agree Linda. It can be a challenge to achieve this with multiple authors, but still it’s important that when we read something, it’s coming from an actual living, breathing human being. Great point!

Thanks for stopping by,

Marcus

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DennisGordon March 23, 2012 at

wow . . thanks for sharing this valuable information. i would love to put these tips in my buainess blog to make one of the best blog!

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Randy Whitley March 26, 2012 at

I’ve seen some of the best, worst, and most diverse the blogosphere has to offer. This being said, I’m always impressed with businesses doing it right. I love it when success is achieved and when folks are getting positive results through the incredible medium that is blogging. But results don’t just come naturally. There are certain actions and qualities that one must take in order to rise above the chatter and receive the love from their readers, their industry, and the other master of all—Google. So that’s what this post is about, 50 of the most essential qualities of some of the greatest business blogs in the world.

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NathanPriest March 29, 2012 at

Just commented on Danny Brown’s blog the other day that I want to read more business and corporate blogs. I need to see more of what’s going on there, who’s doing what right and wrong; and make the time to add them to my reading list.

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Marcus Sheridan March 30, 2012 at

It certainly helps Nathan….and if you get a great list, let me know about them, seriously.

Thanks,

Marcus

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Sam Abraham April 4, 2012 at

Wow! After a really long time, its nice to read a succint and intelligent blog. Thank you. So refreshing and inspiring.

Sam Abraham, Actionly, Social Media Monitoring

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Marcus Sheridan April 5, 2012 at

So glad you liked it Sam! Hope I’ll see you around these parts again. :)

Marcus

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Rajani May 13, 2012 at

Marcus, hi!

Great read! So compact, with not a word that did not justify its presence!

I guess that is one of the hallmarks of a good post as well?

Yours sincerely,

Rajani

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david k waltz May 14, 2012 at

Marcus,

One thing I’ve noticed as web programming has evolved is that a lot of the features help the blogsite as opposed to the blog reader. For instance, the annoying share buttones that scroll as you read or the boxes that pop up before the reader even has a chance to read. I think the better blogs keep this stuff to a minimum, and focus more on things that will help the reader get the best content that they can in the most user friendly manner.

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Neil Advani May 24, 2012 at

Small companies and manufacturers should not accept that just because they did not qualify for a traditional loan over the past couple of years, that lenders are no longer interested in their business. I know I have read stuff like this somewhere. Great…!

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Jack Rober May 25, 2012 at

So many of these factors speak out loud, Marcus – not just for me, but as I consider my clients’ passions. This is a incredible record for me circulation as I try to clarify the fundamental significance of articles and public networking as a company crucial. SO many organizations have not yet hopped on the practice – and it’s quick. They are going to be remaining in the dirt if they never create act easily. And you have summed it all up in a really powerful way here…Thanks

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Nera Fuss May 27, 2012 at

People who have business blogs must follow the fifty qualities in order to get success on their business endeavor. Fortunately, by following the fifty qualities your business blog will boom online.

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Danyelle Franciosa June 21, 2012 at

You made some great points here. Sounds like you got some good ideas of what are the qualities that business blogs have and many business bloggers benefit of this.

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Padgett Inc June 25, 2012 at

Man this blog is just wonderful! The bees knees!

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Ata Khan September 5, 2013 at

This is a great post! So many blog owners assume we know exactly what they are talking about when we get to their site. It’s nice when a blog explains things clearly, so everyone can be on the same page.

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