Although I can only paraphrase his comments here (and yes, he did give permission for me to post a rebuttal), he proclaimed the death of blogs, stating that social media channels like Pinterest have marked their death knell. The proliferation and conflation of social media and mobile has changed the way people interact with brands and brand culture. Blogs are still read, but they are most certainly doomed. I respect the guy, so I listened carefully, knowing that people may be asking the same question, finding similar answers.
Is blogging still relevant in a world where audio, video, mobile marketing, media and social media continue to grow?
If you ask a content strategist, they will tell you “Yes!” and I would argue that blogging is now more relevant than ever.
It sounds strange to hear this, but consider that
- Micro blogging platforms like Twitter are still somewhat limited in delivering in-depth information. They are more often used as gateways to bigger chunks of info, teasing eyes and clicks with engaging posts and awesome links elsewhere. These areas can be a challenge for brands seeking to engage buyers without looking spammy, so we tend to see them as way to build relationships more than make direct sales.
- As so many channels compete for users, audiences are getting more and more separated (and sometimes confused) as they traverse from platform to platform. The major players like Facebook are not going anywhere soon, but lesser social media offerings rise and fall with every given week. There will be a point of fatigue. It hasnt happened yet, but it could be just around the corner. People need to congregate in places and learn from the people they wish to connect with. A well managed website with lots of content is fun to peruse. You can also bookmark and come back to it regularly, or subscribe to newsletters or RSS (or content aggregators like Zite or Flipboard). And you can do this without the worry of social media fatigue.
- Video is highly effective for delivering information and message to visual learners, and it will always be sexier than tons of text–wherever you find it. But video is rarely seen as a medium for gathering tons of raving fans congregating and commenting and making purchases right on the spot. Granted, there are some pretty amazing exceptions to this pattern, brands that have scores of raving ambassadors, and even more customers, salivating for their next release. But this is the power of videos. They can be trafficked and digested quickly and easily, making them perfect for sharing. But how many people revisit their YouTube subscriptions to make purchases? How natural would it be for me to build a Vimeo channel expecting buyers to come soaring in? Video, in this way is best suited for impulse buying or brand building. Community, leads or relationship-building videos are hard to engineer and harder to deliver.
- Podcasts and audio have been around for years and despite their previous popularity, they only cater to a segment of online content consumers—those with far better time management skills than me, truly. But seriously, if I struggle to make time to watch a 10 minute video, a podcast would have to be so critically important that I would drop everything to listen to it. There are only 2 types of podcasts that could hope to do that. 1) Podcasts of my friends, or 2) Podcasts that would solve a problem I am having right now that brought me to listen. Worse, these podcasts might rest on the company’s branded website, but it would be marketed through iTunes or some website library in order to capture podcast listeners where they congregate.
Mix Your Media and Bring it To Your Blog
Having a blog enables you to use any (or all) of these channels and integrate them in the combinations that work best for your current and future buyers. Having a blog allows you to experiment with platforms and media, keeping the ones that bring quality traffic, possible leads or potential loudmouths who might share your wares with others.
One of my favourite analogies for the blog/social media relationship is the outpost/home base concept.
Imagine that each of the social media platforms that you (and hopefully your customers) use are like outposts on a mountain, places to gather while you are all climbing, foraging, taking photos and getting a sense of the surroundings. Eventually, people at outposts need to head where the meals are bigger, where they can converse and share their stories an experiences and connect on a deeper level. This would be like a base camp, a shelter, a resting point.
Your base camp is your website, and particularly your blog. Here those that felt good about when meeting at those outposts can sit and get to know you, your philosophy and feed on the meatier stuff you offer them.
Blogs are critical in displaying—no, proving your character, knowledge and understanding of your industry. Anyone who doubts their strength underestimates their power in building your brand, strengthening your community of supporters, and generating leads and sales.
If I had a chance to say it, this is what I might have said to the chap I spoke with yesterday. Perhaps I should just send him a link to this page.
I’d love to know what you think about my answer!