Blogging often gets a bad rap. For too long, many people have thought that blogging was just for “teenagers and wannabe reporters.” Nowadays, more and more folks have begun to see the real value to blogging. The phrase I’ve been hearing again and again is “content marketing.” I read about it on Adam Vincenzini’s great marketing blog, and it’s part of the focus of Matthew Certo’s fabulous new book, Found: Connecting with Customers is the Digital Age.
Many businesses and individuals are starting to get the message that creating great content that others want to read, not traditional advertising, is a great way to gain and retain customer loyalty.
Depending on where you look there are several ways to describe the different types of blogs and bloggers. For the purpose of this blog, blogs will be divided into five categories:
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
The Matt Walsh Blog is something I’ve seen posted to Facebook a lot recently. I would characterize it as a semi-professional blog based on his posting frequency and the number of shares and comments displayed on each post. He tends to post several times a week, usually dealing with a newsworthy or controversial topic, taking a unique perspective. As a result, he receives a lot of passionate comments. His recent post titles include “Thousands of toddlers are being drugged because they act like toddlers,” “This person is planning to kill me in order to teach me that I shouldn’t be mean and hateful,” and “This poor child is confused, not ‘transgendered.’”
This sort of controversial take on newsworthy items and hot topics makes his voice a unique one from many blogs I’ve seen. He is definitely creating his brand personality through controversy, dealing with issues in black and white instead of shades of gray we often see. As far as I can tell, Matt uses word of mouth as his way of getting traffic to his blog, although he comes up first when searching for “Matt Walsh.”
The Matt Walsh Blog has a good amount of ads on his blog and he even sells a shirt. He also has a tab which includes offers for speaking engagements and media requests. He has Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and an RSS feed in the upper right corner of his home page and also gives various options for sharing each post at the end of them. It looks to be a successful blog gaining followers and momentum, and he’s doing a great job forwarding his brand. Longevity remains to be seen, but he has a partnership with the Liberty Alliance, which certainly can’t hurt his audience reach.
A personal favorite of mine is a blog by my friend, Alli Hendrix, The House of Hendrix. Her blog would be classified as a recreational blog due to her specific content and passion with which she blogs about her self, her children, and her family. There are no ads on the site, and she even lists her personal email address. Her blog is meant to inspire and encourage others, while sharing her own experiences as a friend, wife, and mother. A typical blog is a recent one titled, “How sibling fighting led me to drive a car covered in Nerf bullets.”
Like most bloggers starting out, she has friends who subscribe. She was also listed in the top 25 family blogs by moms on Circle of Moms. The House of Hendrix also uses Pinterest as a tool for gaining traffic on the blog. Alli posts social media share buttons on her blog and encourages readers with a personal message to connect with her on Facebook. This is typical of her brand voice. She is personal and personable. Alli easily connects with moms about their desires for the families, through fun crafts ideas, and by revealing her struggles. As a recreational blog it is great. If she were looking to have advertisers, I’d recommend having things like summer sleepaway camps, children’s clothing, and craft products. As it is, she does recommend one store and her “Favorite Socks Ever!”
While the blog has only been around for a, relatively, short time, I would still say this qualifies as a successful blog. I’d love to see her publish new content with more regularity, but the content she does publish is original, useful, and oftentimes inspirational. Using Word Press, you can follow her blog from the moment you first visit.
Another local favorite is Relevant Magazine. While they do publish a print version, their online news-style blog is able to cover many more topics than the print version. Their about us tab tells the story of how their publishing efforts began and that they now havw a reach of about 2,300,000 per month. They tell the story of how and why they started here:
They are unique in their target of twenty and thirty-something hipster Christians who are searching and not always finding the answers they’re looking for in church. They have a wealth of great content that would help with SEO. They also should get traffic through social sharing and the word of mouth they mention in the above video. Also, I would assume they get traffic through their titles like “4 Lies the Church Taught me about Sex” and “Top Ten Relationship Killers.”
There are ads on the page and also opportunities to subscribe to their printed publication. This is a well conceived and executed blog and brand. They have new content that is published often, and you can connect on many different social sites, including YouTube. You can subscribe and share many different places on their main site and through social media links, and Relevant has been around for more than a decade.
So, whether you’re trying to educate and inform, share your opinions, inspire others, or sell something, blogs are a very useful tool.
Some other favorites of mine I’d like to list are:
- The Pioneer Woman — I came across this blog years ago while looking for a recipe, and it has now practically become it’s own industry with books and a television show.
- A Thousand Miles — Inspiring story of an amputee’s journey walking 1000 miles that was shared with me soon after a dear friend’s brother lost his leg.
- Fluent in 3 Months — If you want to learn a second language or have ever wished to become a polyglot, get the refund on your Rosetta Stone, this is the blog for you! He offers a paid subscription service for more help and tips.
- Technorati — Great for social media and online marketing information and tips.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to start your blog!