Is Anyone Reading Your Company’s Blog?
I just read another blog post on the demise of blogging. This one was entitled, “No one is reading your blog!” The basic premise to this article, and so many others like it, is the shocking notion that no one is going to ever read your posts. Even if you are a thought leader, no one will ever know because no one will be able to find it. The social web has gotten so crowded that even a quick search on blogs about winter camping yields dozens of results. To combat the crowds, big companies are spending big bucks to attract eyeballs. Money you and your business don’t have. So there. Don’t even try. Especially if you don’t already have a following.
Does Your Content Provide Value for Anyone?
But I think this sounds a lot more dire than it actually is. Let’s deconstruct the situation.
First, it has always been the case that the Internet is crowded, and some have been shouting louder than others. While there may be an explosion of new blogs and companies vying for readers, it doesn’t mean that readers are not looking for less traveled spaces to find more genuine content. When I was in high school I prided myself on knowing about the more obscure alternative rock bands. In the early 1990’s. while REM was funded with all of Warner Brothers money to sell music, I was searching for the next REM.
Similarly, readers are looking for what’s new, not what’s flashy and has the highest SEO values. Cool new content is still cool new content and has a bigger chance of creating a true follower/buyer/advocate.
Next, we need to consider how new or existing readers are finding the content they read today. I don’t think it is a matter of who has the biggest advertising budget. A friend asked me the other day where I get my news from. He subscribes to a myriad of news digest tools that have sprung up to make the social web more relevant to the individual and her tastes and interests. However, I replied that I get my news from my network. I listen on Twitter and LinkedIn to what my network is talking about. My network is tight and is focused on my interests. I almost never get scooped or miss an important article by listening to the people I follow.
So, if networks of people are the best way to share thought leadership in a specific area of interest, why aren’t we more concerned in finding the right ecosystem in which to target our content? Isn’t connecting with the right people equally important as writing good original content that targets this smaller audience’s tastes?
I think it is because it breaks the rules on blogging. Bloggers have traditionally concentrated on good content and then waited for the audience to find them. If you follow this traditional line of thinking, the blog posts need to be more general. By watering them down, more eyeballs may see them, but less are likely to engage with that content.
Finding the right targeted audience will now be as important as writing something that will spark that audience’s imagination. Really the two need to go hand in hand. The key is to find a niche audience. No one is able to boil the ocean anymore. Even the big television broadcast networks have given up on getting everyone to watch the same TV shows. So instead they have diversified programming to meet many tastes and serve each audience well.
Blogging with no purpose other than to tell the world about your company’s wonderful products or how smart you personally are, is dead. In fact, it has always been dead…to anyone who values her time and has real life problems to solve. However, purposeful blogging that assists and engages with a target audience is alive and well. I believe it will be a viable way to market for a long time.
How do you find interesting content on the web? Do you search out quieter places where you can consider ideas and interact with thought leaders? Do you avoid content magnet sites or are you more likely to go with the flow?
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