Blogging, hmph. Hasn’t the Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter revolution demolished this long-winded format already? You’d think! But 2012 was the biggest year for blogging to date — 42,000,000 blogs are out there. They have evolved beyond the musings and rants of individual opinionators to provide a specific delivery stream for businesses to tap their markets and keep in touch with their customers. This trend should capture your attention.
42,000,000 blogs. And you’re reading this one! How flattering to be 1-in-more-than-a-million. How did I attract you? Beyond the fabulous prose and superb visual style, you are reading this because the content is relevant to you. This blog is written for you. I want you to keep coming back so that it strengthens our working relationship.
This blog is also the keystone of my online marketing strategy. On the blog, I can articulate thoughts about design+business in the longer format, then post links to my Facebook and Twitter accounts…to drive traffic back here to my blog…on my website…where potential clients can see my portfolio and capabilities…all strategically cross–linked. I can reach new clients and strengthen existing relationships. It takes some time, yes, but not a lot of dollars. And the return on relationships is priceless.
So that is why you shouldblog. The next question to ask yourself is: Why not blog? The primary reason is the time commitment. If you start doing it, you gotta keep doing it! 65% of businesses that have blogs haven’t updated their blog in a year or more. It happens all the time. Potential clients or customers then visit the blog, and the last post was from two years ago. What happened? That reflects on your brand. Poorly.
So, the short of it is: a blog can be great if you plan an online strategy, are smart about what you want to say, and spend the time to execute it. Results may not be immediate, so patience is crucial. If your commitment isn’t there or you are doing it because marketing books told you to, table it. Think about it again next year. The Internet will probably have a whole new way to sell yourself by then.
PS: Here’s a fun infographical overview of the blogosphere by blogging.org, based on interviews with 1,000 bloggers: