My friend and colleague Chris Brogan recently wrote an excellent post reiterating a point many of us have been making since the earliest days of social media: build on land you own. Here’s a post from 2010 on the same topic. Blogging as a communications and marketing method certainly isn’t dead.
There’s one caveat to Chris’ argument that blogging isn’t dead: we don’t know if our specific blog is alive or dead unless we measure it. Your blog could very well be dead if no one takes any action of value.
What should we be measuring for your blog? Like all forms of content, we should be measuring three buckets:
We should measure our blog by how much audience we can grow, from subscribers to social followers. While audience isn’t the end goal, an audience of zero means we can never grow.
We should measure our blog by how much our audience engages with it. When we share our blog posts to social media, in email newsletters, in meetings, how many people engage with it?
We should measure our blog by how many people visit it, how many people take action on it, how many people convert. Does our blog generate real business results and revenue?
If the answer to any of these buckets of metrics is zero, there’s a good chance your blog is dead.
What if your blog is dying, but not dead yet? Should you be posting to rented properties instead? Before you make that leap, I recommend investigating when your blog was growing, rather than fading. What did you do differently then? What topics did you write about? How did you do your outreach? Understanding what made your blog grow, what need your blog served for your audience, is the key to the building its growth.
Here’s an easy exercise to try. Copy 10 blog posts that were popular during your blog’s ascent into a text file. Copy 10 current blog posts into a separate text file. Paste both sets of text into a word cloud generator. What is different now to what you were writing about then? Is there a difference in content?
To understand whether distribution is your problem or content is your problem, analyze your content first. Once you’ve ruled out that content is the reason for your blog’s fading popularity, then focus on potentially changing way to distribute your blog and how you distribute it.
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