With all the buzz around blogging you could be forgiven for thinking it is a cure-all magic bullet solution to all our web challenges. You don’t need me to tell you this isn’t quite the reality, but what specific tactics can you use when a blog is not the answer for you?
It’s not always easy to get a balanced view of blogs. Blogging seems to be either a growing field or a dying fad, depending on who you listen to. Of course as one of those blog consultant type people I am a blogging advocate, it is where I make the majority of my income after all. You would expect me to be 100% in favor, but there are often cases where I advise people against starting a blog.
Partly the massive growth in blogging is because all of a sudden the tools were made accessible and easy enough for anyone with the urge to give it a go. One other reason was the benefits were made much more clear and tangible.
When you get a ton of people seeing they can do something they are convinced is beneficial you get a stampede of folks trying it out. We only have to look back to the Desktop Publishing era where thousands of newsletters were launched then ditched within a few years.
Yes, just like eating our own body weight of ice cream, unfortunately just because we can do something that looks great doesn’t mean we should.
Blogging looks easy because blog platform usability has been developed to a point where creating a blog post is no more tricky than writing a Hotmail message. Ask anyone who has been blogging for more than six months and they will tell you it is hard. Posting every day, keeping interesting and useful, managing comments and spam, interacting and networking, growing readership, none of it is particularly easy.
The first month or so seems all exciting and rosy. It is after the first rush of enthusiasm wanes we have to be careful about. Sometimes it takes months for the honeymoon period to wear off.
This is why I often suggest businesses in particular blog for a few weeks in stealth mode, either behind a password or on an intranet. If they can keep up the schedule and quality then they just might be able to make a go of it. For individuals perhaps a personal blog on a throwaway domain or free service.
It’s also another reason why starting with Flagship Content is the way to go.
By doing the work to create something truly valuable, and investigate all the information needs of your niche, you are doing valuable work that does not need to be wasted if you do not end up posting it to a blog.
As well as creating valuable research, this writing effort need not wasted either.
You could post the result as an ebook. It is also perfectly possible to gain many of the benefits of blogging by having an articles section of a standard website along with an email newsletter and/or an RSS subscription feature. Posting one well written and valuable article a month is far more beneficial than twenty mediocre blog posts.
Just because everyone and their pet hamster seems to be blogging right now does not mean it is always the right thing to do.
The last thing the blogosphere needs is yet another blog saying “sorry I haven’t posted in a while” :)