A friend of mine recently started a blog, and she wants to make it grow. This got me nibbling my mind. What are the indicators of succesful blogging? How do you measure it? Why blog? How do you make your blog stand out amidst the clog of online content? Undoubtedly, blogging has revolutionised the concept of freedom of expression but what’s the point of expressing yourself freely when no-one is paying attention. Or when attention spans are as short as a rabbit’s yawn. Granted, self-expression is good food for the individual soul. But, question mark, is blogging worth the pain?
First things first, blogging is an overrated fad, with some analysts suggesting that it’s dead. There is a general belief that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have accelerated the demise of blogging. Many people prefer the ubiquitous and transient nature of exchanges on Facebook and Twitter while blogs are regarded as static, and somewhat, convoluted.
It may be good at this point to revisit the definition of blog: according to Wikipedia, a blog (a contraction of the term “web log“) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
With blogs popping up all over the web like mushroom, the whole hype of having your own blog is out. In fact, it is not far-fetched to say that some people who start blogs out are simply wasting the greatest form of real estate ever know to human beings: cyberspace. Instead of making value out of their online real estate they simply let it lie fallow, if it was physical land it would be choke filled with weeds. Fact of the matter: blogging is an active job. You have to be serious at it, putting in time, energy to make it worthwhile. It is only the serious bloggers that stand to make. Being serious at blogging requires consistency and conscientious of the need for quality research and writing.
But just uploading blogs alone is not the end of the game, if anything, it is just the beginning. A blogger, like any communicator worth their salt, needs an audience. Besides wasting online real estate, most types of blogs only exist for narcisistic navel-gazing.
There is essentially nothing wrong with this, but if you are going to be serious at blogging, you sure want to have an audience. Given the millions of people that have access to the Net today, it should – at first sight – be easy to get a chunk of an audience. However, if a blogger does not invest time and energy is ensuring online presence, there is no guarantee that people will visit their blog. The underlying fact is that the blog content has to be effective, but more importantly, it has to be marketed.
According to copyblogger.com, content marketing is a broad term that relates to creating and freely sharing informative content as a means of converting prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers. For purposes of this blog, you can replace customers with readers. Of course, if you have intentions of monetizing your blog, you will need to offer something of real value to convert your potential audience into customers. For most bloggers, the idea of making money from their blogs is indeed a far shot. It is not impossible, though. That is why it is important to have a blogging strategy. Simply blogging in the blind will lead your blog to the real time cemetery that exists for most blogs online.
Most pundits already agree on one thing: content is the currency that drives the Internet. Without quality content, your blog will face extinction. Quality content is what will attract an audience to your blog. If you take time to produce high quality content, readers will repay you by revisit your blog. To make this work, you need to position your content is such a manner that you are blogging on subjects that you have adequately research or have first hand experience to make your content appealing and meaningful. If you fake it, your audience will soon find out. Put simply, you have to make your readers know, trust and like you.
To make blogging a success, you must develop a content strategy the key messaging of your blog, i.e.; what the heck is your blog all about. A content strategy must be a living thing, it cannot be a once-for-all-time process. The content that you put out is like a unique stamp of your blog, it is what will make your blog stand out from the crowd, it’s a value proposition that you make to your readers in order to hook them and keep ’em coming back. It is the only sure way to establish your blog’s brand .
After all is said and done, the only way to keep your blog alive is to keep blogging.