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How do you start from scratch yet create a top-ranked marketing blog in less than a year?

If I had anything close to a foolproof formula, I'd be making an infomercial right now rather than writing this article. Nevertheless, I can share some tips from my own experience to help you achieve success with your marketing blog.

1. Read

Before you draw up a plan for your blog, do your homework. Find and read the top marketing bloggers (see Mack Collier's Top 25 list). Don't overlook new voices, however; they may have valuable ideas and a fresh perspective.

It's important to listen before jumping into a conversation—and that's what blogging is all about. Often the back-and-forth discussion that takes place in the comments is the most valuable part of a blog post.

2. Comment

I did nothing but read blogs and bookmark them for about a month before I moved on to Step 2, which is to join the conversation by leaving comments on the blogs that you read.

Rather than a bland "nice post" type of comment, write something that adds to the conversation. Why was the subject important to you? How can you use the information?

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Connie Reece is executive director of Social Media Club international and a conversational-marketing specialist. She blogs at Every Dot Connects (everydotconnects.com) and microblogs at Twitter (twitter.com/conniereece).