I blog therefore I am
A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
Add new material to or regularly update a blog
Blogs or weblogs evolved from earlier personal homepages, mailing lists, shared forums and online journals, but the term was not coined until 1997, and not shortened to blog until later still. Blogging has now become a huge industry, creating influential and rich celebrity bloggers and extending beyond the hobby writers to be a must-have part of corporate social media marketing strategies. Who am I to judge; writers gotta write, organizations need Customers, websites need visitors, and blogging has become one of the most successful applications of web2.0 technologies.
The act of publishing/sharing a blog is referred to as posting, hence blog post – a throw-back to an earlier metaphorical posting of a message on a bulletin board. Social media comments, messages, status updates, pictures etc. are also posted, and in a lot of cases share a common parentage with blogs. For example Twitter is essentially a micro-blogging platform, and other social media channels extend the idea further, specializing in different media (Pinterest/Instagram/Youtube) or communities of friends and interest groups (LinkedIn/Facebook/Meetup) and some which aren’t quite sure what they are (Google Plus/Tumblr/Reddit) other than looking like every other communication hub. I digress.
Top 5 Blogging Themes and Trends
(1) Cost of entry
The technology has progressively made it easier, quicker and cheaper (including free!) for anyone with limited technical knowledge to get writing and publishing on the web. Two of the biggest hosting platforms and blogging tool providers are WordPress and Blogger which are available free out-of-the-box for beginners.
More advanced bloggers can use their own website domain/URL and host and use very sophisticated features and plug-ins to enhance and extend the basic words (or other media), such as formatting, themes, navigation aids, forms, discussion forums, membership services, eCommerce etc.
(Ed. The whole of the IT elementary school website – including the blog <yourwebsitename>/blog subdomain is built using WordPress!)
As with the growth of mobile, eCommerce, self-service and digital marketing channels – for example – so blogs have become the latest me too application. Everyone from your high street florist to multi-national corporations now has a blog.
Although ultimately there is money to be made, there are some less cynical drivers for business blogging, including:
- Generating more traffic (visitors) to your website.
- Engage those same visitors in activity that adds to the sense of community and connectedness, such as Q&A, 2-way sharing of experiences and knowledge, chat, competitions, charity etc.
- Providing something relevant and interesting to your Customers, or potential Customers
- The above might also help to prevent post-sales service calls and problems.
(3) Celebrity bloggers
You – and I’m talking to you as individual bloggers or would-be bloggers out there – may write because you want to share something personal; your thoughts, knowledge, interests or even the minutia of your daily life. You may alternatively want to demonstrate or showcase your professional competence, skills or talent with limited aspirations to dominant your market or the world!
However, more recently bloggers have seized on the ubiquity and powerful reach and influence of social media channels and viral marketing to create a personal brand. Oh, and by the way, there is money to be made.
(4) Making money
Otherwise known as monetization. There are many ways that money can be made directly or indirectly from having a popular and influential blog, whether as an individual or as a business selling to individuals or other businesses. Apologies for the following jargony list, I will not attempt to explain any of these further, but hopefully you get the picture:
- Creating a sales funnel to generate leads and income from your regular products or services. Also up-selling and cross-selling to existing Customers.
- Merchandising, including celebrity make-up artists selling cookery books and travel bloggers selling a branded clothing range!
- Digital products including eBooks, eLearning materials, subscriptions etc.
- Targetted advertising including Pay-per-click (PPC) or similar models
- Referrals to affinity partners, promotions & endorsements
(It’s tempting to think that some of this so-called passive income can help you to get your dream job as a digital nomad – but be careful what you dream for)
Finally, just as we are all becoming more confident in sharing our words on the web along comes a new set of technologies & channels (mobile/tablets), media and potential consumers to reach with your podcast, YouTube video or vlog (video-log).
Blogging has come a long way. The definition at the beginning of this article is starting to look very 1997!
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