Do you think blogging is essential for your business?
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by social media and wonder how anyone manages to get anything done while trying to keep up with all the demands of social media: tweeting, blogging, updating Facebook, connecting on Linkedin and so on.
And I can lose sight of what I am communicating and focus on the stats: I must reach 30 likes on Facebook; I must gain more connections on Linkedin; how many people are looking at my websites this month?
At one point, I regained my sanity by reading Debbie Weil’s book, The Corporate Blogging Book. Though aimed at the corporate market rather than at individuals, it is relevant for anyone who blogs. As she says on her website: ‘Blogging is no longer optional. A blog is a next-generation Web site. A blog is the home base of your social media strategy. Think of it as the hub of the wheel.’
She says a good corporate blog is updated frequently. I am never going to meet her measure of a couple of times a week, but agree that once started, a blog needs to be maintained. In terms of writing style she says: ‘The writing voice is authentic, friendly and conversational… A good blog serves up a hard-to-quantify mix of information, opinion and controversy. Er, controversy? Yes, even if it just means acknowledging a problem with your product or service. And then listening to feedback from your readers.’
But if we’re being controversial, what about the backlash? I write about grammar and writing topics and sometimes cringe when people respond to my views on grammar. When people are commenting on the blogosphere they seem to forget that they are writing to real people and think it is OK to be really rude.
Debbie Weil says: ‘When it comes to corporate blogging, the elephant in the room is fear.’ She lists the following fears: time, legal liability, employees wasting time on blogs, getting bitten by the blogosphere, damaging your brand by allowing negative comments, poor writing, lack of business results, managing the technical aspects of a blog, and losing control.
What motivates you to write a blog?
None of those fears is enough to stop us blogging though. In 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million in 2006. But what about the results? Debbie Weil says the ROI of blogging is not a return on investment that can be measured in dollars, rather a ROB (return on blog) that results in more ‘connections, discovery, information, word-of-mouse, leverage, amplification and efficiencies’.
You can still measure the success of your blog, even if not by dollars, and the most obvious measure is search engine results. What makes for a successful blog? Debbie Weil maintains the success of a blog is ultimately determined by the satisfaction of the person writing it. She quotes an AOL survey of 600 bloggers that found nearly 50 per cent reported blogging was a form of therapy. Now, I do not intend to think of my blog as therapy, but I will take my focus off my stats and continue to write about topics that enthuse and interest me.
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