Blogging: Why Bother?
Some say the point to blogging is SEO; others say it’s to create thought leadership. The best blogs do both.
I’m continually asked by clients about the point to blogging. I also continue to hear excuses as to why they aren’t blogging.
‘I don’t know how to write effectively.’
‘How frequently should I blog?’
‘I’m not that creative.’
‘What if I write something and no one reads it?’
…and the list of excuses goes on and on.
True, blogposts are original content pages that continually keep your site refreshed and up-to-date — which the search engines love.
But blogposts are also marketing pieces to communicate your thought leadership, knowledge base, and expert opinion — even when you think no one is reading.
The best blogs and bloggers find their own comfort and frequency level. While not attempting to be a ‘How-To’ or exhaustive list of Blogging Best Practices, here are a few things to consider to ease the blogging pain:
Ask a colleague, client, supplier, partner, or industry thought leader to contribute a guest blog. They’ll be flattered you did. (And, you might also have to reciprocate and write a blogpost for them, too — hey, turnaround is fair play.)
Syndicate your blog on a blog metasite, or a site that accepts submissions of blogposts that may have already been published elsewhere. Two of such metasites that come to mind are Social Media Today and Business 2 Community. This way, your hard work won’t just appear on your site, but will appear — and be read, tweeted, shared, and commented on — on other sites.
In addition to links, try embed codes. Embed codes pointing to rich content posted elsewhere serve two purposes: you get instant graphics and images (without having to save, edit and upload) and the original publisher gets notified that you have (properly) shared his or her content. SlideShare, Scribd, Pinterest, Flickr, Curate.us, and, of course, YouTube and Vimeo offer embed codes to save you time and make your blog look pretty. (If you aren’t familiar with embed codes, please contact me and I will be happy to explain.)
Always be thinking of your industry’s influencers. I admit: we all get writer’s block. While I generally like to blog and write when there is a ‘news peg’ — an announcement by a key industry player or major company — we can’t sit and wait for those to happen. Instead, think about ways you can discuss and/or position the handful of companies and luminaries in your industry with intuitive, fresh perspectives. Then, when your blogpost gets published — and you do your requisite sharing on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn — they will find you and (hopefully) share and respond.
If you do not know who your industry influencers are, there are some pretty nifty tools out there to help. One of them is Google (or Bing). Another is a product by Copyblogger, called Scribe, which includes a mechanism whereby a blogger can discover the most influential individuals, companies, and news organizations, and reach out and network.
Blogging frequency. Inbound marketing giant HubSpot claims that 20 blogposts per month should be sufficient, but we all know that that might be impossible — even if you’re hiring social media marketing consultants (like me). After all, you don’t want to publish crap, no matter what the industry guidance tells you to do. Get your feet wet, get comfortable, see what’s working and what’s not, and get yourself into a blogging groove where you can create regularity and consistency.
Are you promoting? What is also annoying about blogging is hitting the ‘Publish’ button, seeing your post go live — and getting zero hits or responses. Use a combination of RSS, email newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (your Profile and any Groups you are a member of — though tread lightly, I think that people have been using Groups as a dumping ground lately) to make sure that your blogpost gets read.
Even one person reading it and providing comments feels good — and makes blogging feel less lonely.
Have you found a blogging tool or ‘killer app’ that you swear by? I’m all ears. Contact me with info.
Jake Wengroff is the founder of social business consultancy JXB1. Jake evaluates technologies, vendors, markets, and trends in the social media ecosystem. He also advises and consults with clients on social business, marketing, collaboration software and change management. Find him on Twitter @JakeWengroff.