Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What is the Role of Blogging vs. Newer Social Media

There is no doubt that business blogging is an essential part of content media strategy whether the target is B2B or B2C.  The immediacy and ability of blogging to communicate detailed information and to provide deep links to website content or other calls to action can’t be matched. However, new platforms like Pinterest and Instagram and even tools like infographics cause some to question the value of blogging, even in B2B.

As an individual I started blogging “early days.” Candidly I was afraid my brain would atrophy when I retired from full-time teaching and blogging seemed a way to keep it alive. It turned out to be even more—a way to learn about the emerging discipline of social media marketing. I kept the diy-Marketing blog going for several years, until it was so content heavy that its response was unacceptable. I started another strategy blog and found an interesting response to a series of Social Media for Good posts. However, by that time my primary professional activity was the Internet Marketing textbook, providing updates for adopters of the text and thinking about a 4th edition. Blogging proved to have less value in that context.

I have a new Google+ page each year so Internet marketing instructors can search current material for their courses. Debra has a Google+ community and a Facebook page for the book, and I contribute to both. I have 3 Pinterest boards and Debra and I share another. I have been amazed at the way people pick up on my Pinterest postings even though I have done nothing to promote them beyond the users of our text. I try to see most of the posts from all the platforms are fed through to my Twitter account.

So what? In doing all of this I’ve come to have strong opinions about where content curation fits in and the role of content creation.

Content curation specifically keyed to our textbook has the potential to fill an important role for the users. Since personal brand development is no longer a huge objective for me, curation doesn’t do a great deal for me personally.

Creation of original content, as Debra has often pointed out, contributes to visibility on the web in a way that mere curation does not. Even more important to me personally is that my blog is my voice on the Internet. It is my creative opportunity to say what I believe and to try to make a contribution to the discipline. Consequently, I have started a new blog with a limited focus. “SocialTechnology for Good, or for Mischief” allows me to continue the postings which received favorable attention in the earlier blog. There is plenty of mischief around but it is the personal privacy implications that particularly interest me. I’m working on visibility because I want people to find it. My rule is only to write a post when I can make a contribution, even if the contribution is only careful research.

That brings me to infographics. I like them and have a Pinterest board for infographics. However, they are so numerous that they litter the Internet landscape. Many have no lasting value. They represent visual curation, not the creation of original content. Consequently, I do not agree with those who regard them as a substitute for blogging. If the blogger has a point of view and a message, that requires a verbal argument, not statistics with pictures.

Even with careful attention to distributing and optimizing content, there is only so much any one individual can do. That is the point of the graphic. Some platforms lend themselves to original content—websites and blog postings because they do not have length restrictions, videos (short or long form) because they are inherently informative and engaging. Many of the platforms that have become popular recently are really “announcement platforms” They are invaluable for distributing content but for business use they usually need to link to more detailed content like a blog post or a web page.

Likewise there is only so much any given brand should do. The old rule is still just as true—the choice of communications platforms depends on objectives. As you choose just factor in an additional consideration—curation vs. original content! 

Please consider this an invitation to visit the new blog!