I’m fortunate to be surrounded by great colleagues and to have access to extraordinary (award-winning) news professionals in Grand Rapids. Many thanks to Adrienne Wallace, Kim Bode and Shelley Irwin for the opportunity to appear on the WGVU Morning Show today.
I always over-prepare for interviews & presentations so I have a bunch of information I put together just in case it might come up. Another of the infinite benefits of the Internet is that I can share that with anyone who is interested via my blog with comparatively little effort (yet another reason you should be blogging).
History: Blogs were developed to eliminate the grunt work of publishing web content through automation – they have largely replaced webpages because you don’t need to know HTML/XML. Most of the popular blogging platforms offer the ability to easily set up polls, embed video/photos/audio/documents, allow discussion/comments, embed forms, get analytics, etc.
There are a lot of people who think they *have* to have a website, when really they could make things much easier on themselves by creating a landing page and seamlessly tying together streams of information from a blog and/or social media sites via RSS feeds (which sounds hard, but is really easy).
Why You Should Blog:
- It’s easy.
- It’s important for raising awareness of you or your organization.
(At Grand Rapids Community College, I’ve found that publishing our daily employee newsletter as a blog was one of the best moves we’ve ever made; our local news professionals actually read it! Rather than obnoxiously hounding the news media for coverage – it allows them to find potential stories at their leisure, some of which we never would have thought to pitch to them).
- It provides great networking / job / business development opportunities.
- It allows one to learn / connect with like-minded people.
(I’ve been able to connect with several people I’ve blogged about who are authors/experts I admire – Eli Pariser recently retweeted a link to a blog post I published about his new book/theory “The Filter Bubble”).
- It’s an inexpensive way to publish web content that is highly-accessible.
(Blogs – particularly those hosted by third parties – are readily indexed by search engines, and also available to mobile devices which is increasingly important as they become the primary way people access the Internet).
- It creates content that is easily-digested/shared via social media.
- Did I mention it’s easy?
Blogging vs. Microblogging:
Platforms like Twitter and Plurk are considered “microblogs” – they’re bite-sized versions of blogs that offer the same ease of sharing, automation, and user-friendly interface. Twitter is a great way to try your hand (the 140-character limit is a great way to practice being concise and compelling; if you find you need to say more – move up to a “full-size” blog). Contrary to the popular criticism, Twitter isn’t just for “telling people what you’re doing.” It’s what you make of it, and innovative new uses for it are emerging every day.
Most people find what they need via search engines (not directories or direct traffic to a domain) – Google has 65 percent of market share in search so it’s important that your content be structured in ways that make sense to the algorithms that power search engines. (There are tools online that allow you to see your webpage how a search engine sees it).
Create a large footprint: publish as much good content about yourself and your organization and make sure it’s tagged/indexed well. You can’t predict where/how people will find out about you or what will hit a nerve; increasingly it’s through search so the larger your footprint – the likelier it is that someone will find it.
For example; I blogged about my disappointment with the Lost Finale. So far it’s drawn nearly 4,000 views; and even today it’s still one of my most viewed posts week after week. Who knew that would strike a chord?
Relevant Blogging Facts/Statistics:
- Top five blogging platforms (according to Lifehacker readers): Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress, Posterous, Squarespace
- Yesterday 386,674 WordPress users published blog posts.
- Most bloggers are age 21-35, 51 percent are female, and most are from the US (29%, compared to 7% in the UK and 5% in Japan).
- Most bloggers are hobbyists.
- 25 percent are blogging from mobile devices; in late 2010 WordPress reached 1 million mobile users.