Why Blogging Isn’t Going Anywhere

About every other month or so, I have a client or a workshop attendee who asks me if blogging is a dying art. They tell me they heard from a friend of a friend or another social media expert that Facebook and Twitter are replacing blogs.

The answer is longer than I can usually give when I’m short on time and the person is standing in front of me wants a black and white YES or a NO answer.

But I have a little room here, so I’m going to pontificate.

Here’s why blogging is going to be around for a long, long time:

I want you to think about your online marketing strategy in terms of a bicycle wheel. Your website and your blog are the HUB, the center of the wheel – they hold everything together. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are the spokes.

But the spokes always lead back to the hub. Without the hub, the wheel loses its center and the bike doesn’t move forward. But without the spokes, nothing will connect the hub to the outside rim, and the bike doesn’t move forward.

That’s why it is critical for anyone who is developing an online marketing campaign – whether you’re a business owner, a personal blogger or an author trying to market a book – to grow and nurture both your blog AND your social media tools. They work together.

Note: If you feel more comfortable doing so, you can mentally substitute the word “website” every time I used the word “blog”. It doesn’t matter whether you call it a blog or not, but what DOES matter is that you have a place on your site where you can consistently and easily publish valuable content for your audience. The key to success online, whether you call it blogging or not, is providing something valuable for your audience. And for that, you need a content management platform.

It turns out that WordPress, the world’s biggest content management platform, started out as a blogging tool. And it’s a fun, incredibly easy way to publish great content on your site. It’s also growing by leaps and bounds each year, as more and more people discover easy ways to use it to grow their sites and their audiences using blogging and content management tools.

So before anyone yells panic about blogging, and decides to ditch WordPress and their online content efforts, please consider this scenario:

Which is more likely to be found by the search engines two years from now – a meaty, informative blog post you write and publish today, or the Tweet you wrote two minutes ago? That’s right – the blog post wins.

Which one will be most likely to get you search engine traffic, develop relationships and encourage conversation? Probably the Tweet, right?

And you need both to make your online life sing. So when you sit down at your computer to build your platform and develop relationships with people who can move you toward your goals, please remember to nurture that bicycle – you’ll need the wheel hub AND the spokes to get where you want to go. Otherwise, you’ll just be stuck in one place…and with life moving this fast, you’ll want to be able to ride around with the wind whipping through your hair!

Wheeeeeeee!

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A Smart Way to Get Blog Traffic Using Twitter

Many of you have probably heard that a wildfire ripped through the area outside Boulder, Colorado on Labor Day weekend, and that 160 homes were destroyed by the blaze. The damage to the surrounding landscape was devastating, and many old and majestic trees were also lost to the fire.

One of my clients, Boulder resident Priscilla Stuckey, wrote a beautiful, heartfelt blog post on her blog, This Lively Earth, about the loss of a particular Ponderosa Pine. Then something rather surprising happened.

Priscilla’s a smart blog marketer who uses her Twitter account to promote each new blog post, so she also tweeted about her new article. Here’s her original tweet:

Priscilla Stuckey Tweet

Did you notice the way she used a hashtag (#boulderfire) in her tweet? That ensures that people who are tracking the Twitter conversation about the fire and its aftermath will read her tweet and follow the link to her moving blog post.

People did indeed find her tweet (and read her post), and her update was retweeted by several people, each of whom also used the #boulderfire hashtag.

What happened next was even better – The Daily Camera, Boulder’s local newspaper, found Priscilla’s tweet and read her blog post. They called Priscilla for an interview about her moving story, and then they ran the interview online and in the print version of the Camera on October 14th. The Denver Post also picked up the story and ran it the following day (October 15th).

The result of this flurry of publicity for Priscilla and her story? An avalanche of traffic to her blog. She doubled her previous one-day record for visits to her site.

Since Priscilla has added an option for her new readers to subscribe to her blog via email, hopefully that flood of new traffic also converted to a bunch of new subscribers!

So what does Priscilla’s story teach us about blogging and Twitter? Here are the lessons we should take away from this story:

1. Write great content for your blog. Excellent blog posts will get attention and traffic, are more likely to be retweeted, and can translate into (FREE!) media coverage from traditional newspapers and magazines. Priscilla’s blog post is beautifully written and includes compelling images.

2. If you’re using Twitter, make sure to promote each of your blog posts by tweeting about it. Include the name of the post (or some other short description) and a shortened link back to the post.

3. Be open to interviews and publicity opportunity, both online and offline.  When the Daily Camera contacted Priscilla to do an interview, she said yes! The Camera actually did a video interview with her, which may have been somewhat daunting, and Priscilla agreed to do it. It paid off in spades! Have courage, bloggers!

Congrats again, Priscilla, on being a smart blogger, and for being willing to write such a personal blog post. Your readers clearly value your vulnerability and accessibility.  And while I’ve very sorry for the loss of your special tree, I’m extremely proud of how you put yourself out there in the online (and offline) worlds.

Keep up the good work!

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