Blogging has seen quite the evolution in the last twenty years.
Why have a blog today? A more pointed question for many might be: Why on earth would you still bother with blogging?
Three themes emerged from those early days of posting online what we were thinking:
1. Search + Social
This meant individuals paved the way for companies and businesses that started by listening and monitoring to evolve their presences and go direct to customers first with proof of concept projects to teach the organization to be innovative, work organically, and think socially.
Along the way, we wondered about writing a corporate blog that matters, what makes a blog worthwhile, and the role of the corporate blogger: angel or demon? We also covered the question of trust and corporate blogs as well as the top ten reasons why your company should not have a blog. You are able to pursue blogging at work even if you don't have a blog -- slightly different tools today, similar strategy.
I think we settled that in favor of customer service and community managers in subsequent years.
If you're unsure of where to start, why start a blog and 25 tips to make it work still contains useful tips and resources. Or you can review 34 reasons to start a blog and see if you find yours. This is the story of how a blog is born from my own point of view.
Blogs are popular again as part of search marketing programs, and there are real benefits you can draw from keeping an eye on how you can help customers and like-minded individuals find you by writing a blog.
2. Brands as Publishers
Where we had this interesting evolution of individuals becoming brand-ified at scale due to the ease of creating an online presence, and on the business side, brands looking for the more intimate connection with customers to build audiences, in essence direct lists, instead of relying on renting eyeballs only via media.
While brand publisher mindset adoption is still slow, there are a few innovators. Take for example one of the earlier forays in brand as media company by Procter & Gamble (are dads a new market opportunity?) The brand has since established strong communities/publications.
This type of conversation about blogs in a business setting is typically about sharing subject matter expertise for the purpose of establishing credibility and earning consideration.
You could blog your way into industry conversations and market ecosystem, for example, becoming the go to destination for a certain subject matter in the industry, examining the offerings of many companies, and discussing industry trends in a geographic area.
For that, take a look at 3 things you should know before starting a blog, including the most asked question: where do you find the time? The problem with blogging is that it needs work and the return is cumulative, it happens over time.
This does not mean you have no opportunity to stand out quickly. Quite the opposite, many of the most read and valued blogs for subject matter expertise are fairly recent. An example of 50 blogs for your must read list. Plenty of room to grow other areas of interest; when you are interested in a topic, you find it easier to learn it by example -- a blog is a great way to provide a forum for thinking out loud.
3. Content from Social Object to Product and Asset
Sticking with the evolution of blogging to what we more broadly define as content, some early thoughts on integrating a blog in your content strategy, how to develop a content strategy process for your blog, 50 content ideas that create buzz, 18 ways to walk the talk on content, and much more on brand content strategy.
Portals and forums gave way to blogs and RSS, then social voting, social streams, and now with apps a return to defined brand-owned or theme-focused destinations.
We are in the early stages of digital products as evolution of content and I expect we will see many more examples of the evolution of sites like Union Square Ventures# that borrow from some of the most useful and time/use-tested features in social networks to re-establish a community-centric URL.
Where do we go from here?
One size will continue to not fit all, and along with the evolution of business, we will see a more mature approach by brands.
Rapid prototyping and earlier experimentation are paving a path for a more interesting and nuanced application of what we learned -- as individuals and companies -- to where we go from here.
The convergence of iterative development, agile processes, and organizational participation beyond the marketing, customer support, and communications groups makes for a solid foundation to online innovation.
We saw examples of individuals and brands going direct in the recent Olympics where content curation was a big trend at the Winter Games, in a subsequent post on the PM Digital blog#, I took a look at the question of real time content following the linguistic patterns of a larger conversation on empathy and real time marketing at the Games.
As I wrote in that post, amidst the logistics, the races, and the sums of money exchanging hands to pay for, sponsor, and host the Games, it is the human touch, the connection between people, whether they are entire countries, teams, or individuals, that wins the most attention.
Your motivation may range from wanting to tell your story, to being part of a global exchange of ideas# or more.
However you start, having a blog increases the opportunity to learn, the number of connections both in the brain, and with others, and may lead to making room for exciting new ventures#.
Beyond content, what it really takes to succeed# is good old fashioned elbow grease.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.