What is it and should you do it?
I’m not 100% sure what blogging is (stay with me) but if you have a commitment to good writing and get personal and professional pleasure from a considered explanation of a topic then you should do it…
I lean heavily towards looking at blogging simply as (good) writing on the web – not ‘posting’ or ‘tweeting’ or ‘liking’ but writing. This perception (for it might not be the correct one) helps me differentiate it as a communication and engagement tool from more instant chat ‘instruments’ such as Twitter, Google+ etc.
It is however a method that creates contradictions and conflicting views from digital guru’s (what an appalling contextual term), online experts and consumers and these should be taken into account before dipping your virtual quill in the online inkpot of the web.
A few years ago (in ancient times) the term for writers of blogs – bloggers – was seen as derisory. Those that wrote blogs were not to be taken seriously and were seen as individuals who liked the sound of their own ‘voice’ or who could not get ‘proper’ journalistic roles. At the time I worked at Reuters and within the journalistic industry bloggers were merely a ‘fad’.
That has clearly changed beyond comprehension over the last 5-10 years. Some bloggers are now seen as market influencers, people who can in some cases make or break an organisation’s reputation and there is huge commercial value, significant status and occasionally celebrity applied to those bloggers that have built up a significant following and are able to wield such power.
However (contradiction alert) it has also in some quarters been announced that blogging is dead and that Twitter and other chat instruments are applying the final kicks. This apparent paradox only adds to the confusion around the future and purpose of blogs.
Badly composed and lazy blogs perpetuate this blog graveyard – you know the ones - completed by CEO’s (or more likely their comms team) that are seen as a chore rather than an opportunity to share and communicate an interesting opinion, objective, viewpoint or idea. These churn out the same corporate, bland ‘noise’ that you are likely to receive from an anaemic press release. They are an example of bad writing - they give blogs a bad name.
Well structured, considered blogs on the other hand can be real gems of content and only add to the engagement of existing and future customers as well as attract the eye of those influencers I spoke about earlier. Ensuring these are completed by enthusiastic and knowledgeable writers and that the content is relevant (to the organisation, subject and field of expertise) are obvious, but often ignored pre-requesites.
A more recent knife into the collective shoulders of blogs is that good blogging requires some hard work and commitment from individuals and organisations and (to be honest) people get bored of exhibiting both of those attributes especially when a quick ‘retweet’ or ‘like’ can be seen to have the same immediate effect (more site visitors, increased commercial exposure, cost-effective marketing) as a well considered written blog piece..
Blogging has had a recent emergence in the digital consciousness (if it ever went away) since Matt Cutts announced that guest blogging for linking’s sake (at a high level this is the practice of one party paying to put a pointless and irrelevant blog on another parties site that includes paid for links) would no longer be tolerated by Google. Those blogs/sites and bloggers who partook in this unsavoury act would be ‘blacklisted’, ranked down, have their Candy Crush account blocked or something like that.
I saw this not only as an obvious attempt for Google to again stamp its authority on the web’s content but to also look to reinvigorate the art of good blogging and by default, good writing and content.
That is a good thing – and after all if you blog content then the NSA won’t come looking for it (allegedly - I am obliged to say).
So if you and your organisation wishes to not only focus on the engagement of clients through the immediacy of instant social media but also has a focus on the longer term creation of a network of what can be a more precisely engaged contacts then blogging could be the way to go.
If you don’t believe me check out a rapidly growing communication ‘platform’- www.medium.com a writers paradise that (ironically) has as one of its founders, a former Twitter executive.
I hope having written all of this that the blog was useful and ticked my own self-imposed measures. If not – then do let me know or better still blog your own thoughts and send me the link. Just don’t tweet about it.