“All you need to do is have a blog and the traffic will come pouring in!”
Does this advice sound familiar? This misguided advice has been followed by entrepreneurs, businesses, and agencies for a number of years now. While content marketing is a powerful tool, it’s not the magic unicorn of internet success. As of 2020, Tumblr stats ~ 513 million blog accounts. WordPress.com has more than 409 million people who view more than 20 billion pages each month. and Medium is quickly taking the world by storm with more than 60 million visitors a month. All of these numbers look extremely impressive, but the real question still remains, why should anyone read your blog?
In the early days of the web, circa 1999, the blog was a place for individuals to openly share their thoughts, personal adventures, and opinions with their small, intimate, and close-knit community. While their posts were usually visible to the world, only those who wanted to engage and valued what the author had written followed their blog consistently. Most of the early sites were focused on the “individual’ rather than businesses or news sites.
Fast forward to 2020 and everyone has a blog, but for much different reasons. Blogging has turned from an intimate and community-focused platform for sharing and adding value into a billboard of regurgitated information for the masses. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in blogging, obviously. But after trying things the way everyone else did, I realized a few things. First, I wasn’t generating good traffic. Second, I was adding more noise than value and lastly, and most importantly, I wasn’t being myself.
Table of Contents
Blogging is About More Than Traffic
If the sole reason you are blogging is to generate more traffic, then I can guarantee you one thing, your traffic will suck. We like to think that the masses are dumb and won’t see what we are doing, but truth be told, people are much smarter than we give them credit for. Sure, you may see a boost in your traffic for a little bit, but without a powerful purpose and clear direction, people will soon leave your site for something that adds value.
More traffic is a short-sighted goal. Yes, growing your readership is important, but sustainable growth is a much more profitable goal. We live in a world where everyone wants to go “viral.” Really? Most viral content is exaggerated hype that often falls just as fast as it rose. What business really wants this? Using your blog to continually add value to your readers will encourage them to share your content with others who share their worldview. This leads to sustainable, long-term, organic growth.
Renew vs Regurgitate
How many content marketing tips can we take? Do we need another 5 best email practices list? List and “How to” posts are extremely helpful and the data backs it up. If fact, I create a lot of this type of content as well. But I now do it from a whole new angle. Instead of copying and pasting the latest tips from the industry’s “big dogs”, I personalize my lists to my audience. I write from my perspective and share how, what, and why I do what I do. The key is to improve upon or share a personalized take on the strategies, topics, ideas, etc.
We live in a “copy and paste” culture where many don’t value the hard work and time others put into their content. Want to be different and give people a reason to read your blog? Write your own content.
Know Your Audience and Speak To Them
People are different. Seems like a simple concept to grasp and one that most of us would agree on. Many people are afraid to narrow their marketing scope, but the truth is that if you’re marketing to everyone you aren’t marketing to anyone.
Just because the business down the street uses certain marketing strategies doesn’t mean your clients will engage the same way. Of course, there are basic principles you want to use, such as SEO best practices. However, when you are developing blog content or an eBook for your ideal buyer you want to make sure the information is relevant and helpful to their buyer’s journey.
While reading blogging tips from a marketing website may give you some principles, you shouldn’t blindly follow them as a road map to success. Take the time to really understand your buyers and readers and then give personalized, professional advice and answer pressing questions they have. Tailor your content to meet the needs of real people who may come across it.
Don’t Do (or Stop Doing) These Things:
- Copy & paste content
- Blog because everyone else is
- Post “just because”
- Copy the competition
- Share un-useful information
- Belabor a point to make a post longer
- Promote your own ego
Blogging is a powerful tool to share your thoughts, opinions and give practical advice to your audience. Blindly publishing content without a clear purpose and without your audience in mind will only result in noise. If you want to see value and ROI from your blog, then publish content that adds value to your readers. People have more choices now than ever before and shorter attention spans to go along with them. Write with your audience in mind and share your heart, passions, and knowledge with them. Give them a reason to come back time and time again. Copying others never made a business great. Learning from others and doing it differently has. It’s your choice.
Original publication date July 8, 2016. Updated December 10, 2020.