Is a blog still important in 2011?

15Feb11

Last week I was speaking with a ‘social media pro’ who informed me that I shouldn’t bother with blogs as its all Quora nowadays.

At first hand it’s not such a silly statement – may people instinctively believe that the volume of blogging has fallen massively since 2007 at the expense of the shiny toys of Twitter, Quora, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. If all the conversations are happening in other channels why should we bother to blog at all?

This view is short sighted. In fact, blogging for marketing purposes has increased:

A common mistake people make is that people live in a “field of dreams” world whereby they think that simply blogging about a subject will make people come and visit. Blogging is great for telling prospects about what you are selling but it does not bring people to your site.

In fact a blog is a focal point and acts as a base of operations for communications. Even though you may use Twitter and Facebook there still needs to be landing point – a place that people end up when they click on the link.

 

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Writing as a blogger, I an confirm what many people know, in that it takes a great deal of effort and dedication to compose a blog post. it’s not like twitter where brisk thoughts can be jotted down in 140 characters – instead a blog is a place where context is added to headline, where ideas are fleshed out and where structure is given to a proposition. Twitter and Facebook are not the right platforms for this – this is where a blog shines and becomes a library of all your thoughts and ideas. In essence it is where ‘idea starters’ reside.

What’s more a blog can also address questions or concerns your audience find important. By all means people use amplification tools like Twitter and Facebook to draw their attention to your blog post, but the thoughts reside in one place.

SEO is also vital. New, focussed and relevant content will always be picked up by Google which will in turn bring extra traffic. It is here where the second stage of engagement takes place – directly on the blog. This is often more in-depth and focussed than through other channels like Twitter. How often have we all felt that 140 characters is not enough to give a detailed opinion. Facebook too has its limitations – even though you can write as much as you like, many find lengthy wall posts unappealing – it really is a case of the right message for the right channel.

At no stage i am suggesting that a blog is used in isolation. As if proving my own point, when i raised this question on Quora, i received in depth replies. Priit Kallas, Founder and CEO at dreamgrow.com explained his reasons why Blogs are important:

  • Create an image of an expert
  • Interact with clients and prospects
  • Improve search engine rankings
  • Spread the word
  • Talk about more than just products and services
  • Solve client’s problems
  • Build trust
  • Stay on top of your field
  • Build brand
  • Exercise your creativity
  • Put a human face on your brand
  • Proving ground
  • Foundation for social media activities
  • Differentiate from competition
  • Educate clients, prospects, stake holders
  • Increase traffic
  • Make money

And here is a real life screen shot straight from Google Analytics (points are weeks):

The increase in traffic was 3 to 4 times and leads grew even more. Not too shabby.

So how should a blogger blog?

  1. Write informative and relevant posts
  2. Use social media to amplify the post

Blogging takes time and effort. Whereas a quick tweet may be insightful, the dedication to compose and elaborate on ideas takes in the form of a structured blog post is incredibly difficult. To all those people who do this regularly or even as Jeremiah calls it – a ‘casual career blogger’ , truly salute you for bringing opinion and content. Where people talk of information overload, they forget that all the info points somewhere – and that more often than not is a blog.

Recommended reading:

29 Ways to Keep Me Coming Back to Your Blog Again and Again

Corporate narcissism: The single biggest mistake made on corporate blogs?

The State of the Blogosphere 2010

21 Tips To Create A Brilliant Business Blog

Corporate Blogging Goes Mainstream

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12 Responses to “Is a blog still important in 2011?”

  1. Lovely post Jonny, I was with a client last week and part of the session included a social media expert was running the marketing managers throught the basics twitter, facebook, LinkIn etc… my big take home was either you are bought into the power of social media or you are not, and as you say there are no short cuts what I would add is you cant just have social media without presonal media i.e. face to face/phone contact but you need the lot – scary but fun too!

    Keep the posts coming (http://marcduke.wordpress.com)

  2. I agree, this is an insightful post. It does bring up the question of how people are using blogs nowadays.

    The original blogs were no more than an online diary of events, thoughts or news items from the author; a way to put their views onto the web easily. Added functionality such as the ability for anyone to comment and you have a system which lowers the barrier to entry for the budding writer with no technical knowledge.

    I think to say that blogs have had their day is, as you say, short-sighted and this “pro” you speak of is trying to make bold statements to make people listen to him/her.

    Blogs have evolved and really they are no more than a Content Management System with a facility to comment tacked on. I install WordPress onto many of my client’s websites as it is a really easy for them to add content on their site without detracting from the static content. It also means that users can go through this as it is well categorised, plus the search engines love it.

    Blogs are recognised as a navigational aid, much like a site map, helping users to find fresh content. It also can have a positive impact on a brand as it can show openness and willing to communicate with their customers. This is providing the blog is run correctly!

    I train people on using blogs for their business and do not feel I will be running out of students any time soon!

  3. Excellent points John.
    To me a Blog is a great organizing principle for building and organizing community. It becomes the core content engine around which linkedin and twitter posts and facebook discussions can ensue. And as Marc rightly points out, all of those things become even more enhanced by in-person discussion.
    Thanks again for the post!

  4. A blog that allows for sociability through comments — like yours right here — is as equally important as a blog with comments turned off. Is a blog important? Yes and no. It all goes back to the reason for creating and maintaining the blog; is it because you are a person who wants to write? Is it because you are an organization in the service industry? Is it because you seek feedback on some question? Et cetera.

    It’s not a yes/no answer. It’s both.

  5. Definitely agreed with Jane… Despite the popularity of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… you simply cant get the type of detailed analysis that you do from a blog.

    It’s the blogs at the core of it all… It really is the blogs that generate the content, and then then the extended social media sphere goes on to buzz and bicker about it.

  6. I agree with several of the other commenters.

    Is a blog important? Not if it’s used rarely or without a plan.

    If it helps disseminate information, build a community, answer questions and detail business accomplishments, then absolutely. It’s a quick and easy way to stay relevant, create new content and build a community/information platform. But only if used correctly.


  1. 1 Is a blog still important in 2011? « The Naked Pheasant
  2. 2 Tweets that mention Is a blog still important in 2011? « Technobabble 2.0 -- Topsy.com
  3. 3 Best time to blog « Social CPR :Care, Participate, Reciprocate
  4. 4 What to Do When You’re Not Blogging | Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
  5. 5 Is a Blog Still Important in 2011? | Edelman Australia Blog
  6. 6 Passaparola online: il blog è ancora necessario?

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