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Blogging With Passion

passion_1After writing yesterday’s article reviewing other Salt Lake SEO’s blogs, I was doing a lot of thinking about what makes a “successful” blog.

Quite frankly, I was disappointed I haven’t been able to find a good local SEO blog.  I know somebody’s got to have one, so I will keep looking.

One of the things that struck me while reviewing those blogs is I don’t believe they know the good that can come from it, so they’re not expending the effort or passion necessary to do the simple things like write good content and publish frequently.  It can be very discouraging to spend the time it takes to blog and look at your web stats and realize nobody is reading.  It can be discouraging not to receive feedback either.

It seems that blogs have become passé with the new social media like Facebook and Twitter taking over.  Blogs really only began to be recognized during the 2004 presidential election.  Back then we had the stories of Heather Armstrong who got fired from her job for writing on a blog.  Today we refer to people who get fired from their jobs for blogging as being “dooced” a play on the name of Armstrong’s site.  Little did she know at the time of the firing she would end up making more money blogging than at her job.  Armstrong recently published a book and has had huge media exposure.  I don’t believe Heather knew a single thing about SEO when she started blogging.  She did have passion (and humor) about writing about her life and she’s still reaping the rewards.

As a business consultant I’ve always known the people most knowledgeable and passionate about their businesses are those running them.  I don’t believe it’s possible to have a successful business blog that isn’t at least partially written by principals in the company.  When I got my first real SEO job 11 years ago, the company I worked for had a highly niche product and  thought the web was the best place to market it.  They were paying a lot of money for a high profile spokesperson and had hired a Madison Avenue ad agency to run their website.  After spending over a million dollars on a website and advertising, they had seen no results.  Zero.  Zip.  Nothing.

When I was hired, I listened to my customer.  They said they wanted different colors for their website.  I did keyword research and started pay per click advertising to drive traffic.  We utilized testimonials from past customers and put our celebrity spokesperson on key pages.  Within three months we were regularly making sales from the web and our biggest single sale came from a web transaction.

If you’re not passionate about the subject matter on your blog, you shouldn’t be writing it.  Find somebody who is, or put in the time to research your subject matter until you have an understanding and the root of a passion yourself.  If the “right” people in your company don’t want to write, interview them and write it yourself, or podcast it, or video it.  Blogs are not just about writing.  They’re about photos and videos and sounds.  That’s part of their power.

Are blogs relevant today?  I think so and I think they will be for a long time.  They are so accessible and so easy to use, even a homeless person can use them.  Brianna Karp is getting some serious media attention after landing a job at Elle magazine.  What’s so special about Brianna?  She’s been homeless for nine months and has been living in a trailer in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  What’s even more special?  She’s been blogging about it!  Karp picked a niche to blog about – the girl’s guide to homelessness.  She wrote about her job interviews and maintaining her looks through shopping at thrift stores.

“If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn’t assume I live in a parking lot,” she writes on the blog. “In short, I am just like you, except without the convenience of a permanent address.”

Brianna Karp hasn’t been the only one to find a job in this recession because of their blog.  Elizabeth Ragone started blogging after she lost her job last November.  Her efforts at personal branding have paid off and she recently started a new job.  She attributes part of that to having the blog.

The common characteristic all successful bloggers have is a passion for their subject matter.  I don’t think any of these people started their blogs to get famous or wealthy.  They just enjoyed writing about their subject matter.  Because they were passionate, the writing was interesting.  Because they enjoyed it, they wrote frequently.  Because they wrote frequently, they developed an audience.  Because they developed an audience other opportunities presented themselves.

Whether you’re an individual or a small business or even a big business, I think blogging is an important activity.  I do believe you have to blog with passion.  When you start blogging make sure to create interesting content.  Copying and pasting someone else’s work isn’t interesting.  Make sure you post frequently.  You don’t have to do it several times a day.  You don’t even have to do it daily.  Just do it enough that your audience will stick around and grow.

I’ll have more on blogging soon.


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