Do you already write a business blog or are you about to start one as part of your new year’s resolutions? Whether you’re an old hand or a young pretender, there is much to be said for learning from the best in the business. And almost all great bloggers have a number of traits in common: They focus on a limited number of subjects or themes They write in their own voices – they don’t sound like or mimic others They consistently produce interesting and thought provoking content They start conversations They write often They make it easy to pass on/share what they write Even if you write about something entirely different – and my blog focuses on how people can both conquer fear and capture the hearts and minds of others through public speaking – here’s my list of… …business bloggers worth following in 2012: Seth Godin Seth is a world renowned marketing guru, with more than a dozen best selling books to his name (including Permission Marketing and, more recently, Tribes). Four things really grab me about his blog: Great headlines – He avoids conventional “top x ways to…”, “Why….” or “How to ABC” formulaic headlines His posts are typically short – with less than 1 in 3 exceeding 300 words A ‘one issue only’ focus in each posting He encourages conversation by making you stop and think Chris Brogan In addition to being one of the most prolific writers about social media over the last 12 years, his constant experimenting with and challenging the worth of new ideas in this space help to make him a thought leader. His most recent thoughts on tapping into the value that can be created via video and Google+ are especially interesting and packed with actionable insights. Gary Vaynechuk You just have to love this guy. He provides an outstanding example of how you can ‘own a space’ for a given topic online. He’s built a huge business and established himself as an expert in his field of ‘all things wine’ by using video to both engage and educate his target audiences online. His passion and expertise have earned him hundreds of thousands of fans via his wine library tv site and getting on for 1 million followers on Twitter. Not surprisingly, his business has prospered on the back of this. In addition to finding time to thumb through his books (The Thank You Economy or Crush It), watch him in action; he’s nothing short of inspirational. Brian Clark Now here’s someone all bloggers should pay attention to – Mr. Copyblogger and author of Copywriting 101. While he calls himself a recovering attorney, Brian leads the way in helping people to transition from copywriting that may work within traditional/offline media to what works when people get online. On top of finding oodles of advice on how to develop compelling content here, be sure to check out Brian’s advice on how to create great headlines. Research shows than headlines are the single biggest determinant of whether your blog postings will get opened – so do yourself a favour and learn from someone who really understands the art of headline creation. Jeff Bullas Jeff is an Aussie who seems to produce more output on anything to do with social media than anyone else I can think of. While much of what he does in Twitter and Facebook appears to revolve around curration of others’ ideas – his blogs are consistently well researched, well written and include many examples. Unlike others who produce flimsy “how to…” articles, you’ll find tons of practical advice you can use straight away in his blogs. If you like articles that give you sequence of tasks to get different things done, stop here – you’ve found your man. Danny Brown Author of one of my favorite social media blogs and founder of ‘for bloggers by bloggers’ (a great resource), Danny is one of the best exponents of creating more questioning blog posts and consistently uncovers angles not already discussed to death elsewhere online. I am especially taken by his recent observations about things he would do differently if he was starting over with his blogging now: Focus on quality over quantity – basically, don’t waste your time and energy churning stuff out if it’s not as good as you can do…it’s a waste Be more honest – in other words, take more views – even if people disagree with you, you’ll kick off more interesting and engaged discussions Constantly learn – social media is constantly evolving and no one knows everything, so build learning into everything you do (track who your audience is, what interests them and what they want to discuss together with what you can learn by listening). Over to you now Whose blogging have you learned from? Who would you recommend as essential reading and why?