Blogging vs. Other Social Media
Last week I had a look, in the course of some research, at the quarter-over-quarter traffic increases for our clients for whom we do only social media, compared with those for whom we also do blogging.
The blogging clients showed quite a bit more improvement. I won’t say how much, because it was just something tangential that I noticed — I need to get in there and collect the data properly to determine what the numbers mean exactly. It’s on my list for the future when I have time.
It stayed in my mind, though. According to Mack Collier, the typical starting rates for blogging and for maintaining a Twitter account are about the same. We charge only slightly more for blogging than we do for social media management. Blogging has been divided out from other social media by now (remember when Twitter was micro-blogging?), but we and many other companies treat it as just one of the social media possibilities. We behave as though you can blog, or tweet, or pin, or take part in forum discussions at LinkedIn… as though those options are all equal.
We probably shouldn’t. Here’s what’s different about blogging:
- Blogging adds value to your website. Facebook or Twitter may get people to your website, but they don’t improve the site itself.
- Blogging gives you the opportunity to get deep. Now, we do original content at G+ and Facebook, and you have the option of writing longer posts at other places as well, but people dip into social media platforms. They’re mostly not there to read — they’re there to skim.
- Blogging lets you rank for long-tail searches. With blog posts, you can provide useful information for people who are at early information-gathering stages of their purchasing process. You wouldn’t want to create a new landing page or a new homepage section for every long-tail keyword phrase you’d like to rank for; blogging lets you get the results without that costly effort.
- Blogging hangs around. We still get plenty of traffic to blog posts from years ago. Where are the tweets of yesteryear — or last week? They’re gone.
- Blogging is under your control. You can’t make your forum posts or your Xing page look just the way you want, because they belong to someone else. Your blog belongs to you. It can (and should) be styled to match the rest of your website and support your brand.
Blogging is also more trouble than tweeting or pinning. I wrote about the question, “Does Every Business Need a Blog?” and I guess it was answered in the affirmative in the comment discussion, but there are real-world reasons that most companies don’t blog. Those reasons have nothing to do with the value of blogging and everything to do with the effort involved. After all, we have some clients who do their own social media. We have none who really keep up their own blogs (as opposed to planning to do so).
The more we look at the data, the clearer it is that — in today’s online business environment — regular content creation is not optional. Social media is not optional. And it really looks as though blogging shouldn’t be on the optional list, either.
But companies that try to blog on their own usually fail. They don’t write those blog posts regularly, or the quality is poor. They end up with abandoned blogs. I think we don’t push clients to blog, even though we see that blogging makes a difference in their levels of success, for the same reason that the USDA says things like, “Serve more whole grains” rather than, “Quit eating white bread.” We know it’s hard. We know that they probably won’t do it. We politely offer them whole grains — er, blogging, but we accept their decision to go for the biscuits instead. Metaphorically speaking.
Social media is important. It allows you to develop relationships, to communicate with customers in other ways, to increase visibility. It also brings new readers to your company’s blog — which really ought to exist.
You can hire someone like me to blog for you. If that’s not what you want to do, read some more about blogging and see if you can do it yourself: