Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is Social Media Replacing Blogging? 5 Reasons Why It Shouldn't



I've met or heard about at least a dozen people over the last few months who have mentioned that for whatever reason, they are no longer blogging. "It's not worth it," or, "it's too time-consuming," are just some of the reasons they articulate. They prefer to use Twitter and Facebook, and some focus on just retreeting or posting links from other articles and resources. I can understand it, as it takes a lot of time and effort to come up with interesting topics, get and keep subscribers, integrate technology such as sound, video, and tutorials into posts, and be "viral" enough so as to make an impact.

So why start and maintain a blog? I have a few theories as to why it's so important to do so:

1. Blogs serve as "connectors" or "hubs." They are the one place where your web site, social media, and other online identifiers are all assimilated. Without a blog, you're like a plant with no routes - throwing thoughts and ideas out there like loose branches, with no foundation except for a static website which others may not absorb the way you want them to.

2. Social media is a trend. We don't know how long Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and all the myriad of niche sites out there will exist. When the trend disappears, or gets replaced by something else, there is no anchor for your followers and friends, where they can receive updates and fresh content by only you. In other words, you will lose your following and your most important asset: your subscribers.

3. Linking or retreeting other people's ideas - only - does not help your brand. One of the main purposes of a blog is to heighten your online credibility and authority. If you are merely tweeting and posting other people's links all the time without creating your own fresh content, you will only be seen as an imitator or follower yourself, and not an innovator or thought leader. The way we distinguish ourselves online is by expressing our unique vision and thoughts - this is how we brand ourselves and set ourselves apart from others, particularly in a crowded marketplace.

4. So Long SEO. As we have all read and heard about for years now, search engines love fresh content. The fewer words you post online, the less chance you have to be found by search engines. Twitter has the infamous cut-off of 140 characters, and Facebook and Linked In have restricted word counts. While you want your blog posts to be readable and concise, they still give you more online real estate to play with.

5. No More Launching Pad: Many online marketers use their blogs and subscribers as a jumping off point to expand their online presence in other ways, such as through forums, community or member-only sites, or to promote publications such as e-books, e-newsletters, speaking engagements, or events. Blogging stars such as Darren Rouse of Problogger, recently launched a new initiative called Problogger.com, a paid monthly site where bloggers will have access to special forums and other educational resources. A blog gives you a natural way to grow your most important commodity: your subscriber list. If you have no dedicated list, but are only a friend or someone who is followed by people already following thousands of other people, you and your marketing projects will get lost and you will have no audience for your products or services.

There are many other reasons why you should keep your blog. If it's not doing well, instead of giving it up, why not try and troubleshoot what the problem may be, or work with a consultant to see what improvements you might make in the writing or design that could make a big difference.

Did you recently decide to keep your blog after coming close to deleting it? What's your story?

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