Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 4, 2015
Blogging was the first social media. Some people might think it was AOL but I’m not sure AOL really counted as social media since it was more of a news and information site. In any case, blogging continues to be the biggest purveyor of social media information, even in the face of sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Why do I say that? If you look at what’s shared most of the time via links it’s one of 3 things; video, news stories of some sort, or blog posts. Huffington Post, in all its glory, is nothing more than a huge blog site; exclusive in its own way, but still mainly a mash of opinions and such.
While blogging can be considered as social media, it’s also different. The idea behind blogging overall is much different.
For instance, I post something on Facebook and I might get some likes. Most of the time, if I get a comment, it’s one line, then on to the next thing.
With blogs, one hopes to build up a community whereby there’s a nice mix of usual visitors with new visitors, with multiple intentions. Some of us just want to espouse our philosophies on things. Some of us want to make money. Most of us want to talk to people, which is why we leave comments open.
With that as a setup, let’s look at this interesting relationship between blogging and social media in the context of being separate entitles:
1. Bloggers promote their articles on social media; social media helps them gain notice.
That’s pretty much how it’s been since the old days of sites like Blogger and diary sites, where the people who promoted you were people who belonged to the same sites. Back in 2004 there were lots of people promoting their blog posts on Ryze; later it became MySpace. Take a look at your Twitter feed one day and you’ll see all sorts of posts going to some type of blog.
2. Social media feeds the bear with blog topics to write about.
I’ve written a lot of posts over the years about all the big social media sites. I got those ideas by participating on those sites. I also got ideas for certain types of topics by reading what people put up on these sites. You don’t always have to think of something on my own… thank goodness!
3. Social media gets more benefit from your blogging than you do.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s true. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting anything out of it, but social media gets more. Let’s use Twitter as our example.
How many millions of blog links do you think goes through Twitter every day? How many of the people you’re connected to do you think are actually seeing your link so they’ll come to your site for a visit? How many more of those actual visitors are retweeting your post as opposed to leaving a comment on your site?
4. If you want to make any real money, you need to get people from social media to come to your blog or website.
In some ways people are missing the idea behind social media marketing. The idea isn’t to get people to like your stuff offsite; the idea is to find ways to entice people to come to your blog or your website. I’d say your affiliate link but trust me, most of those links and posts are getting ignored.
People hate being sold to blatantly. However, if you write an article about a product you like, then promote it on social media, and make it attractive enough to get people to come to your space, then you have a real opportunity to possibly make some money. Think about why we all hate those people posting links telling us they can get us thousands of Twitter or Facebook followers; it’s not only that we don’t believe them (it’s a scam by the way) but how does that help us?
5. Unless you’re already well known, famous people or people thought of highly in your industry aren’t coming to your blog unless they hear about you via social media.
I’ve had a couple of folks known fairly well online stop by here for a comment or two; it’s rare but it’s happened.
However, I’ve connected with a lot of famous people via social media… and they followed me first! lol I’ve ever had the opportunity to talk to them; that’s pretty cool.
Here’s the overall thing, at least from my perspective. I’ve never really tried to get anything from any of these people and I don’t go out of my way to show who I know and how I know them. In 13 years of being online and 10 years of blogging the only person I ever reached out to for anything was asking Guy Kawasaki to add my business blog to the leadership section of his Alltop site, and that was after I helped edit his book Reality Check (and my name’s in the book; pretty cool!).
The thing is, you can connect with someone via social media in a way you probably won’t on a blog. If you’re genuine they might even stop by your blog or possibly help promote you. Don’t ever expect it though; do your own work.
6. You benefit most from both blogging and social media by sharing.
You might benefit more from sharing things on social media but your blog can get a benefit also. If you mention and link to others on your blog you may get more people to your blog. That’s because a lot of people look at trackbacks for their stuff and sometimes if they see you’ve linked to them they’ll stop by to see what you had to say or share.
Social media allows you to easily share the content others produce. If it’s certain people better known than others it can bring you some attention. If it’s regular folks like you, then they’re more apt to stop by your blog or website to take a look… Some of that depends on…
7. Blog titles are important; social media is but it’s not always in your control.
Don’t even think about changing someone else’s article title to fit your own needs, even if it’s just to tell people what the article is about. For your own missives, finding creative titles will be productive because that’s what a lot of people are looking for. They’ve all been told that one way to garner trust is sharing other people’s links so they’ll do that, even if they never read what you’ve written. This leads to #8…
8. More people will read your blog posts than your links on social media, even if more people see them on social media.
Isn’t that a shame? I have way more people comment and share my stuff on Twitter and Google Plus without reading it than I get comments on the blog.
How do I know this? I have posted videos that take at least 5 minutes to watch and seen them shared in 30 seconds. I’ve checked viewer counts later in the day and the counts, if I had any views, never match how many times the link has been shared.
On Google Plus, I’ve gotten responses to a link that don’t match up with the article but might match up with the title. Every once in a while I’ll press someone on it and they’ll admit they didn’t read the article. The same happens on Twitter; although I have a couple of folks who’ll retweet my stuff because I’m on their list and they know me, many more share my links and occasionally comment on the title that never come to the blog.
However, if people come to the blog, I can tell who’s actually read the article or not. Some comments aren’t even worthy of keeping and I immediately move them to spam but that’s not the majority of what I get anymore, thank goodness.
What does this mean overall? It means the people you’re really going to reach are the people you can get to come to your blog. Sure, every once in a while you might get some attention on Facebook if you do certain things, but in general people are going to skip it unless you can bring them into your space.
9. Neither blogging or social media is going away any time soon.
As a matter of fact, I predict that both are going to continue growing in some form or another for decades unless there’s some type of world catastrophe; I hope against hope on that one.
Since both are going to be around, both individuals, bloggers and marketers still have time to figure it all out, how to work with each other, how to make each other grow, how to protect each other… well, I have big dreams I suppose.
There are some things that need to stop. Trolling needs to stop. Bullying needs to stop. Revenge sites need to stop. Honesty needs to be spoken of more. There probably needs to be more social progress. The world needs to find better ways to talk to each other rather than at each other.
I don’t have that answer; I’m probably too old and set in my ways for that one. However, when there’s the potential for discourse, I’ll probably be there. I’ll comment on the blog; then I’ll share it on social media.
How will you participate?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 30, 2015
Although I find blogging to be a popular subject for many people to talk about, there are still a lot of businesses trying to figure out not only if there’s any kind of return on investment in doing it, as well as whether they have the time or the inclination to do it. I have a story that might be illuminating.
A few weeks ago I got an email out of the blue from someone wanting some consulting advice from another state. I sent her my phone number since it wasn’t included in her email (major lesson; always include all of your contact information in your business emails) and said she could call me the next day.
She did just that, and we talked for about 10 minutes about the possibility of my doing some work for her, work that will pay nicely. I asked her how she’d heard of me. She said that a friend had sent her some kind of newsletter that included a link to a blog post I’d written and that it intrigued her because it looked like something she needed for her company.
I asked her if she remembered which blog post it was and at the time she didn’t. She said that she’d find it and send it to me. When I got it I was surprised because it turned out to be a post I’d written almost 3 years ago.
So, someone else liked my post, used it as inspiration in a post they wrote for a newsletter, put my link in it, someone else got it and liked it and forwarded it to a friend, that friend then liked it enough to call me. And I have a shot at getting business out of it. Sure, years later, but what did it really cost me when I wrote that post many years ago?
I tend to write fast, so it might have taken me 5 to 10 minutes at the most to put it together, and it stayed on the blog for years, and now look at what’s happened. Even though I don’t get the contract, I had a shot at it.
That’s the power of blogging; that’s why I talk about it all the time. You never know who might find your content and be impressed enough about it to contact you for business.
Of course, now I have to address the question I’ve seen about whether every business should have a blog or not and whether it can work for everyone. That’s a question that’s hard to answer easily, although it’s an easy answer.
The answers are thus:
* If you can have consistent content, it can work for you;
* If you can’t it won’t work for you;
* If you can’t talk about what it is you do it won’t work for you;
* If you’re the only one who can do what you do in your area, no matter how small a business it is, it can work for you, but still refer to the first bullet;
* Same if there are a lot of other businesses doing what you do but few of them have a blog (I tell this one to accountants all the time, most of whom don’t have a blog);
* If you have a regular website that looks decent that you can associate your blog with it can help
My opinion; if you can blog and you can talk about your business, a blog will help more than it will hurt unless you stop writing on it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 27, 2015
I used to love commercials as a kid. I loved all types of advertising. However, it wasn’t until I ordered the sea monkeys from a comic book and got something that wasn’t quite up to snuff (what the heck was that anyway?) that I started to distrust certain kinds of ads.
Anyway, that’s kind of what’s led me to talk about this subject. In deference to my buddy Craighead Pro (that’s his professional name lol), I decided it was time to take on this particular subject about “adblocking”.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, many browsers offer a plugin called Adblock Pro which allows us to block ads from certain websites; okay, almost every website out there. Some sites have figured out how to get certain types of ads to you in different ways (for instance, it doesn’t block all those newsletter subscribe popups) while others have created other plugins or apps to help block more of it if you want to deal with it.
Craighead’s view is an intriguing one, and I’m not totally against his thinking on this one. He’s a big YouTube creator and many YouTubers put a lot of time into creating this content because they can set up ads on them to make money online. With Adblock on, you never see any of those ads, whether they’re in the video or along the side, thus you’re never compelled to potentially click on them or watch them and the creators don’t make money.
Obviously it’s the same with websites. When we block the ads those sites lose a lot of potential revenue because who wants to advertise on a site where most ads are getting blocked? I certainly wouldn’t because it would be a waste of my advertising dollars.
So I get it; I really do. To this end, I’ve stopped blocking ads on YouTube because I recognize the time those folks put into creating this stuff that I like to watch. Just like with other types of ads I tend to have “ad blindness” for the stuff that shows up on the side so that doesn’t bother me. Anything that shows up on a video I can just click away from it by hitting the X if I’m not interested, and some other ads run for 5 seconds and gives you the ability to click away if you so choose.
However, I have no shame when it comes to blocking a lot of other stuff, including CNN and Facebook and on most websites I visit. Even though I run a couple of affiliate ads here and there I still block those other sites.
I’m going to blame the advertisers for this as much as the websites, but the advertisers first.
What makes us watch advertising in the first place? When we watch ads it’s because it’s offering us something compelling. For instance, the ads I’ll actually watch on YouTube have captured my imagination in some way. I like the funny ads. I like the movie trailers. Even though I’m not a gamer I love seeing those ads; those folks are creative as anything.
I’m not watching an ads that’s 2 minutes long talking about a medical malady I don’t have. I’m almost never clicking on one of those banner ads that comes up because there’s almost never any interest in that product for me. And sometimes those ads look like what we all used to call “generic trick spam”, where they’ll say something like “your computer’s out of date” or stupid mess like that.
A popup telling me I have a virus that I know I don’t have because I have an antivirus program is both disturbing and irksome. That’s one of my biggest gripes with ads that Facebook allows. Those misleading ads aren’t going to fool me after so many years, but I’m betting there are a lot of people who aren’t quite as savvy clicking on that stuff. Those and the ads that are videos that automatically start playing; man, I hate that stuff. That’s why I have a couple of extra layers of protection against ads on that site.
CNN is a different animal entirely. I removed Flash from my computers about 2 months ago as both Firefox, my browser of course, and Chrome switched to a HTML5 mode so I could watch YouTube videos. They’re still blocked on some sites for Firefox, though I can watch them on Chrome. However, CNN has figured out how to not only override that issue but the issue of keeping their videos from automatically starting. And now, if you try to pause those videos it immediately takes you to a different page than the article you want to read & starts playing a different ad; what’s that about?
So, I run different types of blockers on sites like this, and I’m betting I’m not the only one. Whether it’s the types of ads or the intrusiveness of these things, frankly I’m not in the mood to deal with it. YouTube is kind of a different animal but even there, if the ad isn’t compelling I’m not going to stay around to consume it. But I at least give them a chance.
What’s your thought on all of this? Can you see both sides of it? Is it the fault of the advertisers for what they create, the fault of the sites for what they accept, or not your problem whatsoever?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 23, 2015
I come across many people who tell me they don’t know how to write. I point out to many of them that they got through school, some of them through college, and I know they had to do a lot of writing then because I had to do a lot of writing. Many people don’t see that as the same thing; oh really?
In school, you had to write to get grades good enough to pass. In business, you have to write well enough to try to get more customers. It may not be a blog post. It might be a short ad or a long ad. It might be a radio commercial. It might even be a flyer that you put on the wall of your own establishment. Everyone knows how to write something, and had to write something in the past; it’s inevitable.
What’s happened is that not everyone knows how to write well. Not as many people seem to pay attention to either spelling or grammar. I see errors of omission on a consistent basis and it’s shocking. If this was someone writing a letter to their friend, then there’s no problem. But is this the type of thing you want your customers to see? I think not.
There are basically two things that can be done to help correct writing issues. One is to hire someone else to do your writing for you. The other is to pay more attention to what’s being written.
For instance, with today’s computers and programs, almost everyone gets notified when a word has been misspelled by some kind of squiggly line. All one has to do is right-click on the word and see what choices are being given for correction.
When it comes to grammar, Microsoft Word has a couple of settings to help check for grammar, but the recommendations sometimes seem a bit stiff. Instead, what I find useful here and there is to read what I’ve written out loud; your ears will almost always hear something that doesn’t sound right.
I know I said 2 things but I’m going to add a third thing; giving more unexpected value!
The third thing is knowing what you’re writing about. For instance, there are tons of “make money blogging” blogs online but few of them actually make much money. To me, those people have no idea what they’re talking about. If they only talked about what they’ve tried and what didn’t work, like I did when I did my 6-part series some years ago about all the affiliate programs I was on, I’d give them more credence.
If you know your topic and can write about it, then you’re probably going to be pretty good, grammar and spelling notwithstanding. If you know how to tell a story you’ll be fabulous.
Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of time to get things right. Everyone doesn’t have to write like a pro; all anyone really asks for is that you write to be understood. If you’re in business, you have to remember that your words represent your competence in someone else’s eyes. If not, then do your best and your readers will feel it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 20, 2015
Often I talk about the need for businesses to get into social media so that they don’t get passed by because their competitors have gotten into the business. Whereas that’s true, what can’t be missed is that there must be a real world component to social media marketing.
For instance, say you make contact with someone because of your blog. Most probably they’re going to reach you by email or phone if you’ve remembered to add a contact page to your blog, or at least have a link to your business website, which should have contact information on it. This means that you’re following up with people in a more personal manner, whether it’s email or phone or, if you’re lucky, meeting someone in person.
I point this out because if your website or blog is so good that it actually does attract business, what you can’t take a chance on is that people are letdown by what they see once they’ve reached out to you. I don’t hide from anyone that I’m a one man operation, but some companies represent themselves as large corporations and suddenly find that they don’t have either the skills or resources to handle certain types of work that might come their way.
Another thing I’ve recommended businesses should do is follow both their business name and their industry on Twitter using hashtags. Many businesses have done this and have used the customer service potential to their benefit. However, what I’ve also seen is some companies using the opportunity to go on the attack rather than help their customers out, or reach out to a customer, answer the first query, then not follow up with any visible action.
Social media isn’t a game where business is concerned. Irk just one person, the wrong person, and you can believe that thousands will know about it soon enough. And when that happens, it’ll be hard for any business to follow up with all those other people to apologize, if it’s warranted, because they won’t know who they all are.
You can’t avoid social media because whether you like it or not, you’ll be pulled into it if you don’t act. It’s better if you make the decision to do it on your own. But be proactive across the board. Get it as right as you can. Your business will prosper and you’ll thank me later. 😉