I'm not sure if it's just me or general public awareness, but I feel that the subject of blogging has been a hot topic for the last two months. I think it started as a snowball effect because of this post where Robinson Meyer explains that blogging is still important, but that perhaps everyone should give up their own blogging platform in favor of using Medium.com.
I eventually found that post which inspired me to write this Nugget about the importance of blogging on your website. Then last month we had the JCK Talk on the Power of Blogging and then my #TBT about full disclosures of compensation when you blog.
Whew, that's a lot of blogging information. Yet, just last week, I had a telephone conversation with someone who asked me if blogging was still important when social media seems to be the traffic generator of the future.
Let me see if I can answer that in as simple manner as possible... Um, yeah... Blogging is more important than ever.
Fashion and Trends Blogging
As we saw at JCK, there are different types of blogging styles and reasons, but fashion and trends bloggers usually have the most publicity and biggest following. I certainly was made to feel insignificant when my press badge at JCK was declined on the basis that I wasn't a blogger. Thankfully, the handy availability of the latest Retail Jeweler Magazine was able to prove my status as editorial press. #AwkwardMoment
Everyone wants to be like the cool kids, and that's what makes fashion and trend blogs popular. Readers follow those blogs as well as the associated social content they post.
Fashion blogs are great for building brand awareness right here and now that a savvy retail jeweler could tap into to generate new business. But a popular blog post about today's trends won't be as interesting to read a year from now.
Like I said, a savvy retail jeweler could follow a fashion blog and tie into it somehow to generate sales, but on the other hand a retail jeweler could be the one writing the fashion blog to support their own store.
Fashion blogs are the potato chips and candy bars of the internet. Those bloggers have mastered a type of engineered addiction that keeps people coming back for more hot topics, humor, and witticism.
While fashion blogs attract several people really fast, those people eventually lose interest in eating potato chips and candy every day. Not to worry though, there's always someone new interested in the salt and sugar combination.
What I'm saying is that long term interest in trends and fashion blogs is not sustainable. Attrition happens daily, so if you want to make a living from it you have to attract more readers every day than those you lose.
Blogging for the Long Term
Let's step away from the addictive world of fashion and trend blogging, and look at the method of blogging that retail jewelers could be doing.
My typical recommendation for every business blogger is to establish a set publication schedule. You'll experience greater blogging benefits as you publish over the long term, but there's a bit of magic to making it work. You can't publish a blog simply for the sake of publishing a blog otherwise you'll quickly find yourself with Google ranking demerits (i.e. the Panda filter) because of poor website content.
Your blogging should be thoughtful and insightful. Google rewards websites who publish high-quality, in-depth, and consistent content. You should strive for evergreen content that will be as interesting to read today as it will be next year, or two years from today.
Although this evergreen content doesn't attract the droves of mouthwatering readers craving salt and vinegar chips, each one of them will attract a very specific type of customer over and over again.
Think of it this way: Fashion and trends blog will attract lots of people who just want to see what the popular kids are wearing, but few of those readers will buy something. Insightful blogs with evergreen information will attract only a few, maybe even a bunch of readers who are more inclined to make an immediate purchase.
Those in-depth, insightful, evergreen blogs have a single purpose: to attract the reader who is hungry for the exact answer they are looking for. They don't care about the quick satisfaction of potato chips; they want meaty information that will fulfill their needs. Naturally, the retail jeweler hopes that need will end with a purchase.
The Complete Meal
Years ago you were able to publish your blog on a stand alone site and people would somehow find and read it. It doesn't work that way anymore. Well, naturally Google will find the blog and include it in search results, but you can't rely on Google as your only customer acquisition source. You must use social tools.
All together, the social tools supporting the blog post will create a full content marketing campaign that readers will consume. It's a full meal of interesting information.
Normally, you would publish your blog and then create supplemental content that gets shared socially. Those social shares are supposed to be the candy and potato chips that create the need to find out more. They are the engineered addiction that makes the reader click the link back to the blog on your website.
But that's still not the whole meal... And this analogy is getting more complicated by the minute...
The complete meal of content creation and delivery occurs when you publish slightly different, yet complementary information to each social network, but you leave the full details in your blog.
Your appetizer can be published to Twitter, your vegetables and potatoes can be published to Facebook, and the amazing looking desert would be saved for Instagram. But that mouthwatering main course is found only within the blog on your website. Very little is repeated from place to place and they all link back to your blog.
Preparing Your Meal
How do you plan for your dinner? Do you select the main course first or the side dishes first? I'm assuming you're like me and you choose if you will eat chicken, beef, or fish for dinner tonight, then you will figure out if you want a healthy salad and vegetables, or just some store bought fries with it.
The procedure you use to plan your next meal is no different than the planning process for your blog writing. You create the blog first (your main entrée), then you plan your side dishes (your social posts). Just like the flavor of your meal needs to complement one another, every social component needs to complement the blog.
All this planning pays off when done correctly. The social posting will generate interest and customer engagement while those with an immediate need will click on the shared links to read your full blog post.
Yeah, there are leftovers, and they are delectable.
No matter how you slice it, all the social sharing you do today has a very short shelf life. Social posts are likely to attract attention within the first few hours, or at most a day. Rarely will someone engage with your social post more than 3 days later. That food is stale.
On the other hand, Google sinks its teeth into your blog post and warms it back up again every time someone does a search on that topic. The more in-depth, evergreen blogs you write the longer shelf life your website will have.
Google can warm up those leftovers for several years if needed.
Social media does attract immediate attention to your website but the blogging is still needed for the long term approach of attracting customers.
If you intend on making money through your blog then you need to have some method in place to capture a name, email, or initiate a sale from your blog. Don't just lead them to well written information; try to get them to take one step closer to a purchase.