Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by David Weaver. David has spent the past several years developing a best practice online marketing strategy for the inventory and supply chain division at INFORM GmbH.
Blogging has been around for years, yet some of the most basic questions regarding this communication method are still being asked. In fact, it has been around so long that some people are even asking the question “Is blogging dead?” My answer to that provocative question is of course no, but the blogging world is evolving. Despite the ever changing playing field, one of the most important success factors to blogging is to always keep the target audience in mind when writing an article. If content is not focused and targeted, a blog platform may actually experience a slow and agonizing death.
I started blogging in 2012, relatively late considering the concept has its roots in the 1990’s. Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to network with some top bloggers as well as newcomers on the blogging scene. Whether I was the one asking or answering the questions, five common themes come up in the majority of blogging discussions I have been a part of. While the questions may be “basic” the answers, in my opinion, are not always easy:
What is the point?
This is a question I like to ask myself every time I write a new article. If I am not delivering either a fresh take on an existing topic or offering unique insights, I tend to rethink the purpose of the article. Regarding blogging in general, from a business perspective, numerous benefits can be realized:
- Expansion of online reach
- Lead generation
- Increased SEO presence
- Improved image
- Increased networking opportunities
Is it too late to start?
No. I recently attended a content marketing event, and next to “ephemeral media”, the topic of influencer marketing was heavily featured. The majority of attendees agreed that everyone is an influencer with a network of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. Blogging serves as outlet for the expression of this influence.
The good news is that there are a multitude of blogs already out there looking for contributors, so you don’t have to create something from scratch. As an example, if you are a supply chain professional wanting to share your experience on the topic of supplier relationship management, simply type in “supply chain blog” in Google and you will find several platforms that would be happy to hear from you.
How do I stay motivated/come up with ideas?
Next to actually starting to write, one of the most difficult tasks is writing a new article when the previous article you posted received little to no attention. This is often the case in the early stages of the blogging process and can be very discouraging. A discouraged writer will consequently have trouble in the idea development stage. Some ways to stay motivated and keep the creative juices flowing include:
- Brainstorming with family and friends
- Scanning Social Media for trending topics
- Asking readers and other industry experts for feedback
- Starting a blog series that will leave readers wanting more
- Varying your content and include videos, infographics and guest bloggers
If you are new to blogging, always keep in mind that the journey is long and developing a following/readership will take time. Don’t give up!
How often should I post?
The answer to this question is easy: it depends. There are differing opinions on this subject and the general rule of thumb is also vague, namely “post regularly.” My stance on the matter is that quality trumps quantity. If an article seems forced or does not bring something new to the table, it is best to allow the idea to mature and deliver a comprehensive article at a later date instead of posting to meet a deadline.
When starting out, it is best to set achievable goals i.e. “I will post one article per week.” On my first blog project, I set the goal of publishing an original article every Monday. This provided consistency for the readers and gave me time to develop new ideas.
How do I deal with critics?
I believe the fear of putting oneself out on the web is one of the highest hurdles to publishing articles on blog platforms. The fact is, there will be people that disagree with your opinion. The deciding factor is how you deal with the criticism. Getting into a name-calling, heated argument with an internet troll is not recommended and can only lead to a damaged reputation. With regard to constructive criticism and differing opinions, it is important to acknowledge the difference and remain professional. This includes respecting the other person’s opinions. In the end, it may be best to “agree to disagree”.
Aside from the purposes mentioned under “What is the point,” I use various blog platforms as a way to start a conversation and learn from others. Blogging is time consuming and hard work, but in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the costs. My questions to you: If you are not blogging, why not? If you are blogging, what are some open questions you have?