There were a lot of great questions and observations at the event in Edinburgh last week, but two particular questions struck a chord with me.
1) Are blogs ready for every market?
Although there’s no empirical data that I’ve seen or would stand over, I think it’s fair to say that common sense tells us that the size and maturity of blog readership differs from one geography and market to another.
For example, in the US technology industry, blogs are mature and influential, however, in a given UK market the immediate influence and first-hand readership is probably significantly lower.
First-hand is the key term however.
A less sophisticated Internet user doesn’t know or care if they’re using a blog. They just see a website.
They probably find information using one of the better search engines* and whatever relevant results arrive they navigate to. It’s unlikely they’ll add your RSS feed (yet) but that doesn’t matter – what matters is that they’ve found and are reading your content or opinions.
Using blogs to deliver this content is a powerful tool in itself. The combination of the blog’s SEO friendly format with the power of modern search engines means that your content can be incredibly valuable even if the current readership is small.
Information overload is always going to limit the number of feeds you monitor (without more sophisticated intelligence) so the “long tail” effect is a powerful one – particularly in the, as of yet, nascent online community. Of course first-hand readership is important – but it’s not the only measure.
2) But surely some subjects are just too boring to blog about?
Are they? In practically every sector around the globe there is an ecosystem of producers, suppliers and customers. That presents some opportunities from a blog creation perspective.
When this question was posed it was in relation to a drinks manufacturer who had started an (inane) blog about its products. The blog content was appalling – blowing it’s own trumpet – with no value for the reader. The result is a blog that will never deliver the results its creators were aiming for.
But does that mean that certain companies or sectors will never have suitable content for a blog? Nope.
It’s not the blog that’s the problem it’s the content creators. Think how and why your blog could be interesting. It could be supporting your community efforts, covering company news or views. The alternatives are endless. The lazy option is to blow your own trumpet – the successful option is researching what your audience would value.
*Cut me some slack, it’s the search engine I use