Professionalism Matters In All Communications–Even Blogs And Other Web 2.0

Whether you are blogging to promote your organization or your expertise/services or to create an online community about an issue you are passionate about, professionalism matters.  No, I’m not talking about coming across as an uptight, blue-suit, white-shirted exec or posting corporate press releases on your supposed blog. (yes, that’s professional but doesn’t create the 2-way communication that’s desired….here’s an example of a professional but-not-so-appropriate blog from Girl Scouts).  That’s so last week.

Proofing 

 What originally got me to thinking about this was ProBlogger’s post of Top 5 Recommendations for Retireat21.com.   Darren Rowse at ProBlogger runs “community consultations” where his readers critique other blogs.  The commercial content of Retireat21.com is not my focus (outside of what I cover here) but the #2 Recommendation from readers is what caught my attention.   Proofreading needed.  Darren said–

“ProBlogger readers noticed a lot of spelling and grammar errors on the page. While the content can still be easily comprehended, these kinds of errors do make the content seem a little unpolished and unprofessional. My suggestion…..would be that if it’s personally difficult to spot and correct these errors, it’s probably worth hiring a VA to proof-read new blog posts or new copy you want to put on the site.”

Where I’ve made mistakes is in commenting on blogs.  I don’t blog full-time (working on that, though) and often do my commenting late at night, when I’m tired and not focused.

Of course, many bloggers have noted that a few mistakes here and there make you more geniuine…so they don’t mind. 

Your Voice 

Of course the best way to be genuine is to have an authentic voice.   I’ve been blogging part-time for  several months now and have struggled with voice.  How casual?  How “corporate?”  I’m blogging for 2 reasons: 1) to promote best practices that help nonprofits advance their mission (focus on communications in a cyber world, board development and staff cross-training) and 2) to “network” to pick up some consulting gigs.  This is always a balancing act for me.  Off my blog, for example, I would not say “pick up some consulting gigs.”  I can’t imagine writing that in a letter to a prospective nonprofit client, yet it’s okay (my opinion) to write that casually here.  It passes my “test” of what is appropriate.

Your own comfort level of what is appropriate

Ultimately, it’s what you feel is appropriate.  Here’s the test I apply:

  • Realize you can be quoted…not just on another blog but in your professional life.  Are you willing to “live” with what you said?  If a prospective employer, potential donor to your organization, etc. saw what you wrote, how would it reflect on you and your abilities? (If you don’t care, that’s okay too…sometimes we all get passionate about issues).
  • Be accurate
  • Be courteous
  • Have an opinion, then back it up. 
  • Before you hit the “publish” button, walk away and come back later.  How do you come across to those who don’t know you? 

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