Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is your blog chasing numbers or dollars?

If you think about it, Twitter can get you in trouble sometimes.

You are cranky, it's been a long day, you need to vent. So you write a nice stress-relieving post to your blog. Totally out of character with what you normally write, but you need the release.

And wouldn't you know it, everyone loves the damn post! It gets dozens of RTs on Twitter, and traffic spikes for the day as you are left scratching your head. "So you mean to tell me that every day I am plugging along blogging about my biz, and getting little interaction, but the post where I rant about my day is the one that everyone loves?"

Yep, it happens that way sometimes.

But here is where you have to be VERY careful. While it's great that you got a lot of RTs and a nice bump in traffic from that post, did it make you any money? Or if you are looking for more comments, or more email newsletter signups or whatever metric you track to judge your blog's success. Did that ranty post move that needle?

Because if it didn't, those numbers might be temporarily good for your ego, but long-term it probably won't mean much.

And I see bloggers do this ALL the time. Even 'popular' ones. I have done it myself in the past. This is probably the most popular post I have ever written. It got dozens of comments, hundreds of RTs, and traffic during the day it was published was equal to what I would normally get in two weeks.

But I never had a client tell me they contacted me because of that post. The clients I've gotten have mostly been from writing 'dry' content that didn't get a lot of RTs, but it helped a company solve a social media business problem they were having. It established my expertise, and made them feel comfortable in reaching out to me.

Now that's not to say that the occasional ranty post or one that's completely different from your standard blogging fare isn't a good idea. Because you SHOULD shake things up every once in a while. But in general, if your blog posts aren't reaching your desired audience, how valuable are they?

Chasing numbers is fine, as long as the dollars are following them. Otherwise it's just an ego play.


Mike Phillips said...

I think that last tweet sums it up really well. So many bloggers in the industry seem to be trying to convince other bloggers that they deserve to be there rather than trying to convince potential clients that they actually know what they are talking about.

Laura Click said...

Great post. You're right - every blog post should have the end user (i.e. potential clients/prospects) in mind. If the post doesn't help them, it's not worth posting. Definitely a great reminder!

Unknown said...

Mack, today @ambercleveland said something about being intentional that fits here as well. We should be intentional about every aspect of our business. The personal and the popular are fine but is our intent to be popular or grow a healthy business that delivers value? I'd love to be a Top 100, or heck even Top 10,000 blog but it is more important to show clients how I can help them solve their problems. We can become a little addicted to the ego of it all (numbers) rather than the bottom line.

Mack Collier said...

Mike I agree, and it's easy to get caught up in all the RTs and traffic and think you are accomplishing something, when you really aren't. The spike in traffic SHOULD correlate to an increase in the metrics you measure to determine the success of your blog, right?

If not, it's an ego play, IMO.

Scott Hepburn said...

The beauty of this advice is that if you write a helpful post that solves a problem, you'll likely get the traffic, too.

Hey, why am I commenting here? I'm a social media're a social media guy. Ack! I've fallen into the trap!

Ekaterina Walter said...

Interesting take, Mack. I generally agree with this. If the purpose of your blog to help your potential clients, you are absolutely right.

But if you look at brands in general, I think a little humanity wouldn't hurt in their blog posts. So sometimes a personal take on company's blog is a good thing. It gives consumers that little glimpse behind the curtain, opportunity to learn about the people who work for a brand and to relate. Don't necessarily advocate for employees to write rants, but that personal story/touch is not a bad idea in this case :)

An Bui said...

Mack - thanks for focusing on creating value for the audience.


Thompson Morrison said...

Isn't this a rather short-sighted way to look at communication? If every post needs to advertise your expertise, then you're right. But if you're blogging to build a relationship with your followers - relationships that can pay off in the long run - then a bit of venting is just fine. School is great, but we like recess too.

Elaine Fogel said...

Hi, Mack! I think we need to convey our brand whenever we say anything online. And, yes, that means being extremely careful. It only takes a second for something distasteful to come back and bite - maybe not today, but perhaps tomorrow.