I’m probably going to step on some toes here, but here it goes.
As a professional blog writer, the main hurdle I face with my clients is education about what a blog is supposed to be, not what it has in too many instances become.
As a reader, not a writer of blogs, the one thing that really gets my goat is when someone blatantly uses their blog as a marketing and sales tool. That is not the origin or the (obvious) purpose of a blog.
Let’s separate the three main tools you have at your disposal and put them in perspective. Maybe that will clarify my agitation, not unlike a race horse whom has had their goat taken from the corral (people used to put goats in the stables with race horses to keep them calm, thus the phrase “gets my goat”)
The three aforementioned tools are website, articles, and blogs. All three are integral in increasing traffic ergo business. The first two are expected marketing tools. The last is not.
Think about that. When you go to a website, you expect to be marketed to. When you read an article written by a company, the purpose is obvious – marketing. And I am sure that I am not the only one who is just a little on guard when being marketed to, even if I asked for the pitch.
Scratch that. ESPECIALLY if I asked for the pitch.
A blog is supposed to be a ‘safe’ place. It’s roots are firmly planted in relaxed contemplation. The word itself is a derivation of the word weblog, or web log, an online diary. It should be conversational, informative, entertaining, and hopefully viral (especially if you are a business).
The most famous of all diaries is The Anne Frank Diaries. It is one of the most widely read books and has been the subject of many plays and movies. Anne simply wrote daily entries about her day to day life that eventually chronicled her life as a Jew in hiding, during the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany.
Her writings were informative, sometimes entertaining, and ultimately heartbreaking. She wrote these entries in secrecy. Yet, her diary has done more to educate the world about the life of a Holocaust victim than most any other publication.
I would be willing to bet almost anything that the last thing she had in mind was marketing. However, amazing things have come about from the tip of her pen on paper.
Ok, so if your toes weren’t sufficiently squashed before…
What if she were writing that diary as a blog from a secret location of enemy occupation today? How many followers of her blog do you think she would have? I won’t even attempt to fathom a guess. But I’m sure if you use your imagination you could get an idea.
That is how powerful simple thoughts, ideas, and stories can be. And that is what a blog should be. It should be conversational, informative, entertaining, engaging, and for the purpose of business, popular.
In most cases it shouldn’t be technically descriptive or product/service driven. That is what your website is for.
Your blog is not something you write to describe a subject that in turn lists you as an authority on the subject. That is what your articles are for (not to mention that articles should exist outside of you website therefore doing nothing for content).
A blog can have many personalities. It can be staunch and businesslike or it could be whimsical or tongue in cheek. Either way, at the base of it all, it should be informative, entertaining, engaging, and hopefully popular.
The fact that if done properly it constantly increases the size of your website, with keyword rich content which can be promoted through various blog search engines and social media sites thereby strengthening your search engine optimization, and ultimately your bottom line, is a little secret we’ll keep between ourselves.
By Michael Graves