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Somewhat ironically, I was reading a blog post by Jason Kottke that Blogging is Dead. Jason makes some valid points that others have echoed. I see things differently. Blogging is not dead, it’s mutated. That applies to all individual content creation – videos, photos, etc. The question is how you adapt to that mutation. Here is my formula for succeeding in this whole new world. It’s a world that’s all about Gravity.
Content is all about gravity. There are only a handful of platforms that are destinations. The rest are tiny, irrelevant satellites. Even Huffpo and Forbes (where I write) are not destination sites. They rely on SEO and social sharing for 80-90% of their traffic. So you can imagine how hard it is for the little guy to attract a destination audience. I think the key for bloggers (and a formula that I find works for me) is:
- Specialized/focused content on a external platform with wide distribution (+Medium is a good one for general content, but there are many other good ones like +Seeking Alpha for financial professionals.) Re-post everything on your blog after a few days.
- Links in the article back to your site that promote premium (subscriber-only) or related, future content
- Most importantly, a mailing list and login subscription
- Periodic Email newsletter to engage your audience and offer your articles (including occasional exclusives and re-posts from your contributions across high-gravity platforms). It’s a high-value sales tool for your services.
- I use social networks mainly as an announcement system for those not on my email list.
In my opinion, focusing on building a social media following is fool’s gold for 99% of content creators. A waste of time. A better use is to focus on owning your relationship with your audience through an opt-in email list is the key.
The one exception is engaging (guest posts, interviews, cross-promotion) with others who have bigger, higher-gravity platforms that share the same target audience. Podcasters do this well by guesting on each others shows. (Carolla, Jay Mohr, Joe Rogan, Bryan Callen).
I do agree with Jason that updating the blog can feel thankless. I’m revamping mine now (http://ideafaktory.com/articles/ ), but only to better adhere to the above formula – and discipline myself to do so…
Finally, your collection of writing (and other content) is your ultimate resume. Your site (or blog) should be the container of your best work. It should look good, accessible, and project the image you want for your brand. Whether it’s personal or professional, it should represent who you are and what value you can provide to others.