Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Attack of the Blogs?

Last week I attended The Blogging Enterprise conference down in Austin where I gained a little insight into the blogging world as it stands today.

To start- the obvious. John Moore of Brand Autopsy said “with blogs, small can look big and big can get small.” Blogging scares some, mainly us public relations folks, with its potential to spread news or rumors in a matter of seconds leaving us little time to prepare and react. But for many marketers, blogging is a great new outlet with potentially transforming effects.

The “attack of the blogs,” as Forbes recently referred to it, has begun to be beaten to death by the media. As we weigh the pros and cons of this relatively new online “conversation,” the reality is we just don’t know yet what drastic changes blogging can bring to the marketing world. At least, we don’t know which ones will stick.

What we do know is that, according to PRWeek, over 32 million people are reading blogs daily and some 20 million-plus blogs are in existence. As marketers we like to plan ahead with projections and research, but some things just take time. So what’s our plan as marketers or advertisers to really tackle blogging?

Matt Mullenwegg, the founding developer of WordPress, said “blogging is a trick by all the technologists in the world to stop your web pages from sucking.” There’s no question that blogs help with search results, with the new content attracting new visitors as opposed to a run-of-the-mill static site.

We all know that there are some bad blogs out there. Some that are just too painfully bad to ever revisit. As blogging begins to leave its infancy, we are seeing that the blogs finding success in both building buzz and advertising revenues share some common qualities. So what makes a blog a success?

  1. Give people a reason to read your blog.
    - Just because you find something interesting doesn’t necessarily mean others will. Keep readers engaged by not simply repeating the same-old-same-old, but by putting yourself out there with some original thought.
  1. Identify communities of interest.
    - Know who your audience is, or at least who you want it to be.
  1. Engage with other bloggers.
    - Read what other bloggers are saying about you or your industry and post about it. Don’t think of other bloggers as competitors- think of them as colleagues.
  1. Link and get others to link back to you.
    - That doesn’t mean you should have link after link as your primary source of content, just use common sense and link to relevant information.
  1. Keep it simple.
    - Find a direction and a tone, and then stick to it
  1. Post frequently.
    - What’s worse than finding a blog you love and checking it daily only to find the newest content is a week old? Eventually, people will stop checking back, so make sure to keep it fresh.
  1. Encourage feedback.
    - Start a conversation- it’s beneficial to both you and your readers.

Speaking of feedback… let me know what you think. What changes do you see that blogs will bring to the marketing and advertising worlds, specifically search-related?


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