The great challenge with blogging is that a blogger has to keep coming up with new ideas, thoughts, insights and ways of being interesting.  Unlike a traditional journalism few blogs are driven by news or constant announcements.  Those blogs that do so very quickly become online news platforms, e-zines or e-reporting.

This is why blogs are important as they become places where ideas, community sharing and thinking lives.   Without the narcotic element of live news, a blog has to create and curate insights within the community that it has shaped. 

This is the essence of the new hierarchy of influence because the blogger has to earn influence and continually re-earn that influence without the power of the mast head of heritage of a publishing house.

This dynamic drives the much commented upon democratic dynamic of the new media platforms. It sets up a cattle auction of ideas in which the communities within the Internet vote up and down your influence.   Importantly this democracy does not mean equality there is a fluid hierarchy of influence within the blogging community; not all blogs are created equal.

I believe that ideas are the currency within this voting system. It is the quality, nuance and originality of ideas and thoughts that drives a blog’s influence (what I mean by an idea is a meme or a new iterance. This does not have to be profound it can be trivial, humorous or a reflection on a previous meme). However, over time the depth and frequency of these new ideas does drive influence. You have to go back and if it is not for news it helps to have ideas as a currency. The place where these idea starters thrive most of all is the blogosphere.

Blogs and ideas in this way drive the new forms of engagement; without a flow of ideas it is very hard to engage with a community. This creates some rules for blogging engagement: it helps to have a consistent territory on which to comment; the more others interact and engage with your ideas the better the engagement; and of course the more transparent your references to other ideas the greater your authority becomes.

Every blogger knows that coming up with new thoughts and ideas is something of a curse as well as a thrill.

@Naked_Pheasant

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

 

Originally posted on Technobabble 2.0

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