What I Told the Bloggers at Social Media Marketing World
If I’ve done it right, this post goes live about 15 minutes into my speech. I’m no Christopher Penn, so it’s likely I’ve done it wrong. But I wanted to tell you about the first line of my speech tomorrow. Or my first lines. It’ll go something like this:
I sold cars for a dealership for the entirety of one day. I was 18 and stupid, and they were older and figured they’d give me a shot. They told me to go wander around the used car lot and find someone and sell them a car.
If you were in the room, you’d hear the rest of the story. If not, don’t worry. It’s not an amazing story. I’m mostly using it to tell the corporate bloggers in the room that most companies treat you (the corporate bloggers) like you’re not important. They look at what you do as “lucky magic” and if you land them some business, great. If not, just don’t get in trouble.
I already told you/them the other day that corporate blogs are boring. That’s also true. Other people have been telling bloggers for years not to mess it up and stuff junk content out all over the web or people will stop caring (even more than they already don’t care right now).
But that’s all the misery parts of the speech. What will I say to pick them up again?
Blogging is a Beautiful Opportunity
You can create amazing work. But you can do this with paper. Or a violin. It’s all in how you choose to do it.
Blogging for business is about converting attention to value. You have to earn the attention, and then you have to deliver that attention to a potential opportunity to drive value.
At my speech which I haven’t given, but will be in the middle of giving when you read this (well, actually – who knows when you’ll read this. I’m probably NOT still speaking right now), I’ll tell people about some mechanics. I’ll talk about a blogging frame. I’ll talk about checking for a good call to action. I’ll talk about the absolute importance of writing unique material and not the same old “me too” junk that people seem to want to blog about.
I’ll point them to my own personal patron saint of blogging, and recommend to the non-corporate types a great blogging platform. There’ll be all kinds of technical advice I’ve given a thousand times. No, no comments. Social sharing? Sure, why not?
But really, I think blogging’s at a really weird place.
Blogging As a Tool is in a Shaky Place
I can’t stop quoting this. Americans (that’s where the survey comes from) read for a total of 19 minutes a day. Meanwhile, people (worldwide) consume over 1 billion HOURS of YouTube a day. (See also this gem by Jay Baer.)
I’m told by grown ups who read stats that 1500-2000 words is the new ideal length of blog posts. I’ve been telling people 300-500. I still FEEL like I’m right, but stats say otherwise. However, what I don’t know is whether the stats count things like SALES or just “hey, someone says they read this post.” See?
We all say we’re too busy. Some lady told me today that she wanted to take advantage of all the stuff I sold but that she was too busy to use any of it. I told her to not buy anything. (For the record, I’m not too busy.)
So if we’re busy BUT people are saying blog super long 1000+ word posts, who’s reading those? And are they making business happen? I say probably not, but maybe.
And more important, are you using even the most basic details of Google Analytics? No? Then why blog at all? (Oh, unless you’re just blogging for love.)
Should You STOP Blogging?
I say no. I thought about it. I liked the idea of the controversial perspective. But no. Blogging can and does deliver magical opportunities that don’t come about in any other medium. And you should blog on your own website.
But you might start experimenting. More pictures. More video. Podcasts. Live video. Mixed media. New “conversational” opportunities. Bots. Curation.
If you’re still phoning it in? Oh, then quit. Stop now. It’s over. Fake blogging is dead. Was never alive. But even the vague little bit of Google juice you USED to get is gone. It’s garbage. Go give it to the SEO wizards or something. Buy some kale with it.
Real bloggers? Bloggers with souls? Tell more stories. Quit if they keep you in the used car lot. And look for ways to make it all worth it.