I've seen quite a few posts this past week from popular marketing bloggers asking if blogging is finally losing steam. They note a number of popular bloggers have been taking long breaks and others are simply abandoning their blogs completely. With the growth of social networking sites like Facebook, marketers are asking if the day of the blog is coming to a close. I found myself asking the same question last week and I've realized blogging is only just getting started.
John Jantsch over at Duct Tape Marketing asked if blogs are losing steam and posts about Dilbert creator Scott Adams giving up on his. With Adams, it doesn't seem to be about blogger burn-out so much as it's about marketing let-down. John says Adams is giving up because he thought "some negative comments weren't worth it and, because people were choosing to read the blog via RSS, he wasn't making more money because of it."
It's not just the bloggers who aren't getting the conversions that are calling it quits. Some bloggers who were in it purely for the joy of writing or to share information are having a tough time as well.
On Monday, Drew McLellan writes:
The first time I got jammed with work and let my blog go unchanged for four or five days, I felt terribly guilty, like I was playing hookey from school or sneaking out of work to go to the beach. But I was busy, and I guess nothing struck me at the moment as something worth writing about.
It's a feeling I've had on many occasions myself. Six months ago, I was at the peak of blogging. On a good day, I was churning out upwards of 6000 words of content a day. That usually equaled one full article and two to four blog posts on Search Engine Guide and an additional post or two on The Lactivist. Then summer rolled into fall and I found myself being crushed under the weight of writer's block.
I'd log three or four hours reading through my feed reader looking for inspiration. I'd surf discussion forums, browse through reader email and look at PowerPoint slides. Nothing. In fact, there were days were I wondered if it was time to hang up my hat. The need to blog hung over my head like a two ton anvil waiting to crush me.
In fact, I got so frustrated, I made a post on my hobby blog saying I was thinking about quitting since I couldn't post as often as I thought I should.
The response was overwhelming.
"Don't go away! Just post when you have time, you're on my feed reader."
Talk about a "duh" moment.
Those of us who began blogging back before feed readers were common remember the need to churn out content like a maniac in order to give readers a reason to return. "Don't blog unless you can commit" was common advice from marketers. After all, there was nothing worse than teasing visitors with fresh content and then not delivering.
These days, things are a little different. With the growth of feed readers, more people are skipping their daily tour of URLs and waiting for the content to come to them. My own reading habits are reflective of this. I follow about 250 blogs on a daily basis via my feed reader. If I had to visit each and every one of those 250 blogs each day to find their latest posts, I'd be narrowing down the list pretty quickly. Thanks to Bloglines and Google Reader, I browse RSS feeds instead and probably only actually visit about two dozen blogs a day.
Yes, it's important to blog with consistency. You can't put a blog up and only post six times a year. That said, the days of needing to post every single day, or even multiple times a week may be gone. There are plenty of fantastic bloggers in my feed reader who only blog weekly or a couple times a month. With feed readers making it easier than ever to follow multiple bloggers, it's now more about quality than quantity.
You still need to give some thought to your plans before you begin blogging. Consider your audience, your goals and how much time you can realistically devote to your blog. Once you've done that, chill out and post only when you have something worthwhile to say.
You may find that once you lift the burden of "I have to post today," the ideas will start flowing like water.
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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