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Considering Blogging? Start Here.

by Susan Getgood

As I was writing “Professional Blogging For Dummies” it was clear that nearly every chapter in my book could be a book in itself. In fact, there are books that delve into many of the topics in great depth. After you’ve read my book, if you decide you’d like to dig deeper, I highly recommend you invest in a few.

The “For Dummies” series has titles that cover just about everything, including Google AdSense for Dummies, Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, Web Marketing for Dummies, Public Relations for Dummies and Social Media for Dummies.

A book about your chosen blogging platform can also be a handy reference. “For Dummies” can help you here as well, but I’d suggest you also look at more advanced guides, particularly if you want to get into deeper customization of your blog.

Darren Rowse’s “ProBlogger” website, one of the 10 sites you can learn from simply by reading featured in the book, is an excellent resource for keeping up-to-date on the latest developments in professional blogging. You might also want to invest in Rowse’s book, co-authored with Chris Garrett, “ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income” (2010, 2d edition,Wiley).

About Audio and Video

If you decide to add a video or a podcast to your blog, you should definitely get some help, whether a book or professional consultant, to get you going.

When I started doing a podcast for a client a few years ago I turned to two books:

* “Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide” by Todd Cochrane (Wiley, 2005)

* “How to Do Everything with Podcasting” by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson (McGraw Hill, 2007)

I don’t do much personally with video on my sites. I’m still working on my photo skills. That’s enough of a challenge for now, so when I use video for a client, I leave it to the pros. However, the equipment and software available to amateurs has gotten so good, there’s no reason to not experiment if you have the interest in learning the skill. I crowdsourced a book recommendation for you:

*”Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business” by Steve Garfield (Wiley, 2010)

I haven’t read it yet (although I plan to), but Garfield has an excellent reputation. You can check out his website at

Books about Social Media – Top Three Picks

If you get hooked on social media, here are my top three reads for you. I consider them business classics.

First, if you haven’t already, read “The Cluetrain Manifesto” by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger (10th anniversary edition, 2009, Basic Books). It’s the book often credited with starting the social media revolution, and it’s a good read to boot.

Next, pick up “Naked Conversations” by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (2006, Wiley). Social media has changed quite a bit since this book was published. Facebook didn’t open up to the general public until September 2006 and Twitter wouldn’t burst onto the scene until the South by Southwest conference in March 2007. But, the book is very well written, and the underlying principles about engaging with customers and building trust haven’t changed.

Finally, if you really want to dig into to the topic of integrating social media with a business strategy, you can’t go wrong with “Groundswell” by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (2008, Harvard Business Press).

Books about Marketing

“The New Rules for Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott – a good introduction to marketing in the online age, especially for small business owners who don’t have marketing backgrounds.

“It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small…It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business” by Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton – Suffering from analysis paralysis? This book
shows you how to cut through the clutter and make the quick decisions that can create your competitive edge.

“The Marketing Imagination” by Theodore Levitt – The marketing classic.

Reference Books That Should Be on Your Bookshelf

Blogging is about writing, and every writer should have the following on her desk:

* A dictionary, and if you haven’t replaced yours in more than five years, get a new one. Language changes all the time, no more so than in the last few years.

* A thesaurus

* A book of quotations. I have two, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations.

* The AP Style Guide

All are available online as well as in print versions. I prefer using the real books, although I do look up quotations online if the reference I need is very recent. Somehow, the act of physically looking something up inspires me. You may find it easier to use electronic tools. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is using them to give your writing some variety.

Susan Getgood will lead a workshop at the Texas Conference for Women titled “Using Social Media to Build Your Brand.” Getgood has been involved in online marketing since the early 90s and watched the web evolve from the first browsers to the interactive communities we participate in today.