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Category: Blog, Design Discussions

Most of us, by now, either visit, write or know of at least one blog. Blogs fill the void between websites and social networking by providing an open forum for anyone and everyone to discuss just about any topic that interests them. And that’s how they started – as open forums for the expression of opinions and discussion. With the dynamic nature of a blog’s content, it didn’t take long for search engines to take notice and begin to give blogs the same, if not at times better, rankings than their web counterparts. Of course over-saturation can change any market, and that’s where this blog picks up.

The New York Times recently published an interesting article, “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter,” examining the relevance of blogs in today’s market. Although the article focuses on blogs in a social context, I consider the data and points to be equally relevant to business blogging. After all, the line between social and business is very thin where the web is considered.

Targeting an audience is one of the biggest steps of marketing, and the divide between age groups is a key component. The article focuses on this, pointing out that blogging on a whole has decreased in the 18-33 age group. One of the main reasons cited was that social networking accomplished what a blog used to in less time and more efficiently. On the flip side, the article pointed out that blogging has increased in the age groups over 33.

Instead of continuing down the data analysis path, I’m interested in looking at the “why” of blogs. Why are blogs created? For businesses, the answers vary, but the desired outcome is the same; to increase internet traffic and attract new customers. Now the bigger question: is it working?

It’s easy to watch the analytics and track the performance of a blog. But the breakdown begins to occur is whether or not those visitations translate into serious potential customers or casually interested passer-by’s. In my professional experience with the blogs I have been a part of creating, maintaining and tracking, I have yet to see a single financial transaction occur on a bog (outside of those with ecommerce components, of course.) So I don’t believe in the potential of blogging, right? Wrong.

Simply put, a blog, on a professional level, is a component of an overall marketing effort, and should be viewed as a method of illustrating the knowledge and expertise that a individual or entity possesses. On top of that, it is also a way to connect a consumer to a business on a more personal level. After all, isn’t that what consumers want – to feel secure in knowing that the product or service they are purchasing is done so through a knowledgeable, reliable, and expert source?

And that’s the key…a business that publishes a blog can’t simply post a few times a month and ignore it. Efforts must be given to stay relevant and personal, which means putting thought into what is written and investing time into comments and feedback. Post snippets of a blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Make sure the website links back to the blog. Ensure that the blog is noticed in as many ways as possible. By doing so, over time, a company will begin to see the pieces come together, and their relevancy and potency online increase.

As my own blog comes to an end, I’m forced to look at my own hypocrisy…after all, my last blog entry was back in July, so how good a job am I doing staying relevant and visible?!  But that’s my point; easy and quick is easily forgotten. It’s the efforts we take that define our businesses, so make your time, and words, count.

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