Blogging - No Longer a Unique Business Strategy

May 25th

I was surfing around quite a bit today and came across many great blog posts that seem like they were meant to be more than blog posts. But there is too much content and not enough attention, so nobody cared. A marketer who has studied online marketing for nearly a decade got 0 comments and 0 inbound links for writing an 8 page blog post of quality content. Worse yet, the blog is about using content to build links, and the post shared link building tips.

If you are one off linkbaiting or publish nothing but hyped up linkbait garbage then blog posts are a good format for promotion because blogs make it easy to show social proof of value (via trackbacks and comments). But if your site is real and you aim to create a real brand your best content needs a permanent home, and should be set apart from your average blog post.

Blog posts are great for getting quick ideas out to the marketplace, but when you create something in depth it is usually better if you place it on another part of your site rather than making it a blog post. And if you find yourself spending 10 hours creating a piece of featured content then why not...

  • focus the idea around a topic you feel you should be able to own
  • give it a title that shows ownership of an idea
  • spend a couple hours getting feedback
  • create a logo for it and put graphics in it to make it look different than text heavy blog posts
  • spend a couple hours marketing it by mentioning it to friends in the industry
  • feature it aggressively on your site

Average content with an aggressive launch and great marketing outperforms great content with no marketing.

Published: May 25, 2008

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Comments

May 25, 2008 - 1:50pm

Jakob Nielsen said something similar in his alertbox column about blog posts vs articles:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/articles-not-blogs.html

He also weighs in on short vs. long content:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/content-strategy.html

One exception to this is the Web Analytics expert Avinash Koushik - he puts all his content on his blog and it just rocks. Is there a particular reason this works for him? His writing style, perhaps? Or, does his expertise make the format irrelevant?

And, by some strange co-incidence, his latest blog post is about the benefits of blogging:
http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/

May 27, 2008 - 12:32pm

Good link. Jakob's analysis is interesting, but I'm not sure if he's slightly over analysing the situation. Actually, there's nothing wrong with mixing up article length and it depends quite a bit on the target audience.

The biggest mistake most bloggers make - myself included - is that entries aren't edited. Most copywriters are used to producing copy that goes through some sort of approval process and is inevitable edited down to a manageable length. A 200 word blog entry, although short, can still be 100 words of waffle.

So, having made my point, I'll stop waffling any further... ;-)

May 25, 2008 - 2:05pm

I think that my perspective is more from a saturated marketplace like SEO, but how many good analytics oriented blogs are there? Maybe 5? That limited competition coupled with the effort he puts into his posts + his passion for the topic means he can do as he wishes and keep building momentum.

But if there were 1,000 other people writing similar content of similar quality in his space then it is far more likely he would need to pick and chose his features if he wanted to keep thought ownership in that space.

May 25, 2008 - 5:07pm

I don't see why you can't do all of what you recommend and still put it in a blog post.

-- You can put thought into a blog post title, and you can change it later to tweak its effectiveness (although you shouldn't change the permalink).

-- You can create or commission an illustration, photo, logo, and/or infographic for a blog post. Heck, we've had blog posts that consisted solely of a chart or illustration (but with a transcript of the text below the post or in the first comment for "the blind," i.e. search engines).

-- You don't have to use the blog CMS format for every blog post. You can put CSS inside the HTML of the post itself and completely change the look of just that post, or have a different look for certain types of posts. We've had data heavy posts with quite elaborate table formatting. We've had posts in larger type and a different font. We've had background colors and gradations that were different from our normal white background. We've had posts that looked like tabloid news articles ripped out of the newspaper. We've hired a designer to design a series of blog posts that we wanted in a different style (the CSS/HTML/images to replace the default).

-- You can feature a blog post in the sidebar of other pages -- we do that all the time with a graphic link.

-- Of course you need to appropriately market big, important blog posts, and it's no harder than marketing them if they were not blog posts.

We've had two "special" articles at their own URLs that we retroactively moved into blog posts. Each time you redesign a Web site, you can add more and more complex, overlapping, and bug-risky mod-rewrite code to keep the URLs of this stuff the same ... or you can just have it in your blog, where the URLs won't change as long as you stick with the same blog software.

It's also just a big pain in the butt for your users to find stuff that's new if it's not in your RSS feed. You need to announce that you have something new, and then hope they click through to the location, something that is annoying if they are in Google Reader -- most won't click if you haven't built up a huge amount of trust with them.

May 25, 2008 - 5:41pm

Goes to show what Dan Thies, someone else and myself responded to you when you wrote that post recently on content for linkbuilding - you need the distribution/relationships to get that out first. Also, if it was good, why not link to it?

May 25, 2008 - 7:04pm

One person I know separates the heavier content of her main site from her blog. She thinks it helps segments her content depth to what her visitors are in the mood for.

For her, the blog gives her base a quick, informal summary of what she's up and new stuff on the site. It leans more towards an expression of her than her subject matter. Her main site is meant for those who really do want to set aside time to dig in to what she has to say. The focus is more on her content rather than her.

Sometimes, you're in the mood for a longer engagement but sometimes you're just in the mood for a shorter one. So, she sets separates the main site and blog so that people can choose how engaged they want to be. And then there are links between the two for some cross-fertilization.

May 26, 2008 - 3:08pm

Give it a title that shows ownership of the idea

Now there's a bulletpoint that likely deserves an article all of its own. "Ownership by title". I think we've just delved into real estate law. :)

Please, sir, exactly how is a title to accomplish "that", i.e., establish ownership of an idea?

Just add "my"? Nah. An inelegant elegant solution at best. :P

What a fascinating concept. No doubt a good title, as 3 bazillion "How to Write a Good Title" articles have argued, can get you a bit more attention. But staking out thought leadership, creation, and authority, at the same time, by carefully crafting an article's title? Sounds possible.

Do tell!

May 26, 2008 - 4:19pm

hi all

I am agree. i think Blogs are always a good but it cretes problem while we misuse its facily for link. we can get back links ansmore traffic from the blogs.

May 27, 2008 - 9:19am

1) I totally agree that you need to own your post. You own thru branding and a logo is an excellent way to brand.
2) The problem is that anything internet marketing related will go down in the big pile of overly advertised average posts. Best example is Sphinn where you see 1,000s of posts about the same thing and good posts wind up with maybe 5 sphinns and never make it to the front page. Sure, soon any topic will go down online if not advertised to get ahead of the others. So consider anything internet marketing related to be a preview of the net in general years ahead.

Mike

May 27, 2008 - 1:54pm

I for one pity the bloggers in the west due to the massive ploriferation of bloggers and duplication of material.Almost anything i write in my blog http://www.siku-moja.blogspot.com entitled "A Nairobian Perspective" gets a good level of commenting because theres still room for growth here!

May 28, 2008 - 12:57am

I was analyzing a possible partner site and found that although the homepage had 66 links to it, an internal page had over 4,000 inbound links. The reason was that the internal page had useful, sought after information. It was much longer than the other content on the site, but because it was highly valuable information it was linked to - alot.

I think promoting hard fought content in the manner you suggest is a good tip. It can raise the quality of your site in a way that shorter blogs can't quite do. A longer post can go more in depth on a subject that requires more depth than a short blog post.

June 2, 2008 - 12:07pm

Good point about a blog not necessarily being the ideal home for your most valuable content - blogs have become trendy but you got to know what they are good for and what they're not. Also there are a group of web 2.0 savvy users who will automatically be attracted to your 'blog' button, but it's important to remember that there are a whole section of people who won't, and having good solid, permanent content in the form of articles will often be a route into converting someone into a fan and blog subscriber.

Regarding your point about adding images and illustrations to spice up a text-heavy blog post - SEOmoz are great at doing this - plenty of fantastic illustrations and screenshots. But why don't you apply this advice to your own blog posts? You do a good job with videos but I don't think I've seen any graphics or illustrations on your blog posts...

June 3, 2008 - 10:51am

I have been slow to adopt illustrations on most of my blog posts largely just because I never prioritized it. I need to though.

On featured content I make specific logos and/or add lots of images

See here and here

June 9, 2008 - 6:05pm

very well written musubi.thank you.I was little bit confused which way to go website vs blog for SEO.it takes more time to built web pages and add links every time when i add articles.

you make it clear.any resources,recommendations to work with blog seo or plug ins?

June 10, 2008 - 12:44pm

I understand what you are saying. I've been told that the content in my blog is quality content, but I don't receive comments about it. I have only received two since I've been writing it. I read in an SEO blog that this happens because of the writing style. It should be written in story-telling format.

I have even tried inviting people to comment, but i still get no answers. May people are subscribed to it and continue to subscribe at gailcav.squarespace.com.

Gail

June 12, 2008 - 2:48pm

"Average content with an aggressive launch and great marketing outperforms great content with no marketing."

Hi Aaron,
Can you give me some links about great marketing that someone can do?I am struggling getting back links.thank you

June 12, 2008 - 8:14pm

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