After more than four years of blogging I have written hundreds of posts.  Many of them, particularly from the early days of the Roundpeg blog didn’t get a lot of exposure, so I thought it would be fun to revisit some of them, see how much has changed, and how much is still the same.

Today’s post is one of those “recycled posts” which looks at where you draw the line on a business blog – How personal is too personal?  This post was originally published in October of 2009

At Roundpeg, we work with small business owners to develop an overall marketing strategy.  These strategies almost always include a social media component; blogging, facebook, twitter and or linkedin.  As a result, we spend a lot of time talking about how much personality do you allow to come through?

While the point of social media is to create relationships on a more personal level with clients, prospects and referral sources, there is still the question of “how personal?”   How much do your customers really want to know about you?

This is a topic I have wrestled with personally. While I am comfortable with a more relaxed approach in my comments on twitter, I am not always sure how much of that I should let bleed through to this blog. (These days, there is a lot more personal information on the Roundpeg blog, as we profile team members, share behind the scenes video clips of life at Roundpeg, and photos of our cats, Clyde and Maybee.)

So recently, I took a look at some of my favorite blogs to see how these writers find their balance.  Let me start off by saying, I like all of these blogs, and don’t think any of the authors have made right or wrong choices, simply different ones.  After checking them out, you decide, which style is right for your blog?

  • Louis Gray writes a pretty tech-focused blog.  I usually turn to him when I want to know about the latest news from google, friendfeed, or Silicon Valley in general.  But along the way, I have watched his twins grow up, and recently read about his experience during the 1989 earthquake in California. I feel as if I know Louis Gray.
  • In contrast, I really do know Kyle Lacy so when I read his blog posts; I can hear his voice coming through.  I can almost see his eyes rolling when he talks about something he thinks is foolish.  However, if I didn’t know Kyle, I am not sure I would know much about him from his blog. He writes about his attitudes and his opinions, but not himself. ( Kyle seems to have made a shift in the last year.  He doesn’t write as often, and when he does the posts are informative, demonstrating how much he has learned in the last few years.  However, he is rarely as blunt as he used to be.  Maybe it is a sign he maturing and becoming more professional.  From a career standpoint, I think it is the right evolution of his blog, but some days I miss his old voice.)
  • Seth Godin seems to follow a similar model.  He is sarcastic, funny and to the point.  Reading his short posts I can imagine what he would sound like in person, but if I want to learn about Seth, I need to go elsewhere.
  • Chris Brogan is another of my favorite authors, he  intersperses video in his posts which allows you to meet the real Chris. This is one of my favorite of his posts where he talks about finding his voice

These are all popular business blogs.  All successful, all different.  So which approach is right for you?  Only you can decide.   For me, I have noticed some of our more personal posts ( not just ones I have written)  get great traffic and comments, so I am going to keep up the mix.  What about you?