When I started blogging in 2004, it was cool, exciting and popular. Everyone was talking about blogs, commenting on blogs and starting blogs. The love-fest was not a surprise given how blogs gave people a new, user-friendly platform to reach a global audience about any interest or topic.
Fast-forward seven years (wow!) and blogs are a solid part of the landscape but far from sexy or cool. If social media is a dance, blogs are the nice but bespectacled girl/boy standing in the corner while the cool kids (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) are wildly partying in the middle of the dance floor.
A story in the New York Times talks about how interest among young people in blogs is declining because it is easier to find an audience on Facebook and Twitter. Other reasons for not blogging include being too busy to write post, the lack of readers and the fact blogs don’t help them keep in touch with friends and family.
These are legitimate issues. Blogs can be challenging to write because they need lots of ideas, enthusiasm and, ideally, the ability to write well and quickly. And it can be difficult to attract an audience given the competition. Blogs may not also be the best social tools, compared with Twitter and Facebook.
Nevertheless, I’m still convinced blogs are an important and viable part of the social media landscape even though they may not be sexy. Perhaps the most compelling reason why blogs are still alive and well is they provide people and companies with an excellent platform to discuss ideas, provide commentary and perspective, and establish though leadership. These are things that are difficult to achieve using Facebook or Twitter.
The biggest reason I blog here and a couple of other places (Twitterrati and Sysomos), is I enjoy writing them. I like being able to explore and share my ideas. Whether it’s an audience of 10 or 1,000, it really doesn’t matter. Blogging also made it a snap to walk away from career as a newspaper reporter because I still had a way to deliver my ideas.
Sure, I would like more readers because I think my blog offers solid value and perspective. But blog readership is a tricky beast because quality doesn’t always rule the day. If readership is the main criteria for writing a blog, you will likely be disappointed. Instead, you need to focus on quality rather than quantity.
The other key reason for blogging is it is a great way to support my digital marketing consulting business. When potential clients are deciding whether to spend money on you, they need to be comfortable that it’s the right decision. Despite the economic rebound, companies are still being careful with their spending. My blog, hopefully, shows them my insight, ideas, approach and commitment in a way that Twitter and Facebook could never do.
For me, a blog is a terrific marketing vehicle because it’s user-friendly for people not into Facebook and Twitter. For the most part, my target audience aren’t people into Twitter and Facebook. They’re people running businesses but they’re comfortable reading a blog because it’s a Web site on steroids. For them, blogs are a good way to quickly get a snapshot of who I am and what I do.
I often tell people that blogs are dinner while Facebook and Twitter are desert. Everyone loves dessert because it’s sweet and sexy. This is particularly relevant when it comes to children, who will rush through dinner or not eat it at all because they’re so excited about dessert. In a way, their behaviour about dessert explains their interest in blogs.