For this, our 500th blog post, I’m looking back at how blogging has changed since this whole thing started. And I’ve asked a number of bloggers for their thoughts on where blogging has been, where it is now and where it’s going next. I got a wide range of opinions from internationally known bloggers to local food and mommy bloggers. And while their opinions varied on many subjects, they all agreed that blogging is here to stay and is an integral part of today’s business strategies.
We started this blog in 2006, without a clue what to do with it. We tried to get everyone in the agency to write something, anything. We didn’t care what. We even had one person just post one of her recipes. Then there were some lean years with just a few posts and mostly tumble weeds rolling through our blog.
Nikki Little, Social Media Manager at Identity, had a similar experience, “I started my blog, Essential Elements, in 2007. If you look back at the posts from the beginning, you’ll see it was random thoughts with not much of a focus. Then, a few years later, I created a strategy for my blog and clearly defined the topics I wanted to write about.
Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich talks about those early days, “When we launched Spin Sucks in 2006, no one (and I mean no one) was blogging. There was no such thing as blogs that taught you how to write in a conversational way or blogs that taught you how to optimize your content or blogs that talked about visual content or blogs that simply showed you how to set one up. There were a bunch of geeks blogging and it seemed like it might have legs in the corporate communications world.”
Now blogs are everywhere. Katherine Dallas Hammond, who pens Kioula’s Greek Food Journal, points to the WordPress download counterand the fact that it has nearly 30-million downloads. “Everyone has a blog and there’s a blog for everyone. That’s a good thing!”
But, the proliferation of blogs creates its own problems. Back in 2006 or 2007, we may not have known much, but we had the space to ourselves.
“Today, of course, all of that has changed,” says Gini Dietrich, “Now there’s more competition and content exhaustion. To enter the blogosphere today, you have to be ultra unique and have a fantastic platform. Otherwise you just won’t stand out.
Nikki Little agrees, “Blogs are alive and well, and while it’s harder to get attention now than it was 7-8 years ago, bloggers are still carving out their own niches, building passionate communities and finding ways to connect with companies they love.”
Probably the biggest change in blogging over recent years is how they’ve become an integral part of doing business these days. And how they’ve changed the media landscape. According to Optimind Technology, blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines.
“Blogging has come a long way in recent years. From a rather unorganized collection of mostly personal journals, to a major voice in the new media landscape, blogging is clearly one of the most valuable resources of the Internet as we know it today, says Golden Ashby, President of the International Social Media Club. “Almost every major traditional media outlet has added blogging over the recent years to their arsenal of distribution channels. The value of blogging will only increase as we find more insightful ways of producing valuable content for the people who are looking to read it.”
Chad Wiebesick agrees. As Director of Social Media and Interactive Marketing for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, he is in charge of the Pure Michigan campaign that has become the most talked about travel destination in the world. And the Pure Michigan blog is an integral part of that success.
“The discipline of blogging has matured throughout the years and proven itself as an effective communications channel for businesses to drive traffic, generate leads and grow awareness,” says Chad.
Then he goes on to talk about blogging’s importance as an owned space, “Now more than ever, brands need to realize a blog is the only social platform they control and own 100%. On Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, you’re renting space. And you’re at Facebook’s mercy when they unilaterally make decisions affecting how much – or how little – of your content is shown to your followers. Build good content at the places you own first – your blog and your website.”
And not only are their own blogs important to brands, but connecting with bloggers who can promote your brand is also an important part of today’s marketing mix.
“As we all know, people are making a living off of blogging now,” says Nikki Little. “Companies pay bloggers (in cash and products) to serve as brand ambassadors and share their experiences using various products/services with their blog communities. While most bloggers aren’t trained journalists, from a PR/marketing perspective, I think it’s imperative to build relationships with bloggers and connect with bloggers who make sense for your brand.”
And as more and more companies are relying on bloggers to help tell their story, the work that those bloggers do has changed as well.
“In the past, companies expected you to write a post — period, ” says Lauren Weber, who pens Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood. “Now, bloggers wear many hats and are not only reporters, but photographers, social media gurus and a trusted source to consumers. Bloggers truly have the power to connect brands to people on a more personal level and are a group that businesses from small to large should not overlook.”
And finally, there are bloggers who say it’s not blogging that has changed, but the people who are doing it who have.
“Blogging hasn’t changed much. I’m still trying to tell stories that are engaging and useful, says Joe Hakim, owner of The Hungry Dudes blog. “What has changed is point of view. As I grow, the focus of the blog shifts. Growth comes from experience and has allowed me to become more comfortable blogging about a wider range of subjects.”
Over the last 500 blog posts, a lot has changed. And I’m excited to see where this is going to go. What about you? Did we miss anything? What changes have you seen? Do you have predictions for where blogging will go next? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And special thanks to everyone who gave me their thoughts for this post. Make sure to check out all of their blogs!
Source: The Yaffe Group