Note: Kevin McKeown is a colleague, a friend, and a thought leader on blogging, social media and leadership. I hang on his content, appreciate his contributions to any conversation, and asked him to share the way he thinks in the form of this Guest Post.
Eric, thanks for asking me to share why I believe a blog needs to be the anchor of a professional’s online strategy.
I think of my blogging as the locomotive and other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ or even email newsletters as the train tracks. I use these tracks to share, distribute, and amplify my blog’s reach. I deeply believe that to own your blog is to take control of your professional destiny. And, I’m not the only person who believes this.
Here’s a triad of influencers (Clark, Singer and Hyatt) making different but related points that underscore the case for owning your blog:
1) Blogging Is More Essential Than Ever
…[F]or organizations and individuals that want to be known for their ideas, the clearest–yet most underrated–path is through blogging. It hasn’t been buzzed about in years, but it’s more essential than ever…
If you want to shape public opinion, you need to be the one creating the narrative. A fascinating study last year by Yahoo Research showed that only 20,000 Twitter users (a mere .05% of the user base at the time) generated 50% of all tweets consumed. A small number of “elite users” sets the conversational tenor, just as in the general world of blogging.
An article lives forever on the web and will be seen around the world.
Nowadays, we’re measured by the quality of information — not its brand name. If you create high-quality content, you legitimately may become a source as powerful and trusted as the “legacy media.”
Writing is still the clearest and most definitive medium for demonstrating expertise on the web. …In an information-hungry world, there will always be a need for expert content. And there will always be more readers and “retweeters” than there will be creators.
If you want to have an impact, you might as well be the one setting the agenda by blogging your ideas.
Read: If You’re Serious about Ideas, Get Serious About Blogging by Dorie Clark (HBR)
2) Blogging Answers The Long Tail of Search And Social
When you set up your blog as a “hub” for your social strategy, you are best positioned to benefit most from all that top-of-funnel awareness.
With a blog, you have assets to feed each stream in a way that when you do something that matters, you won’t have to worry so much about changes in platforms. You are free to step back and focus on the big-picture things that matter, like an editorial vision.
…Blogs let you think user-centric, not platform-centric.
Without blogging, it is difficult to build an ever-increasing amount of content to be discovered via search engines and shared via social. …[E]ach time you publish a blog post, you make it so significant that the industry takes notice.
A perfect example of a brand doing this well is Tesla. Each time they have news, their blog is the central place where it’s shared and whatever is published is amplified not just by social but media of all types. It’s worth following them as an example of a brand that understands the importance of self-publishing and a model you could follow.
Call it blogging, digital publishing, or whatever you prefer: you’ve been able to publish your own ideas, in any format you like, wrapped in your own template, with full access to analytics and ability to monetize how you see fit (or use it to generate organic leads to equal revenue later) and distribute across search, social, and email since the Web existed.
…To give your best content over to someone else as the canonical place makes as little sense now as it ever did. To amplify and share your ideas in OPPs (Other People’s Platforms) in a way that adds value and is efficient for you is the smartest path to digital success.
Read Why Blogging Still Matters: Data, Distribution, and Ownership of Content by Adam Singer (ClickZ).
3) Build Your Blog On A Home Base That You Control
…[W]hen it comes to your platform, you can’t afford to build your house on a rented lot. And Facebook continues to teach the same lesson.
Like Twitter, Facebook is an important part of my platform. But it’s not integral. It’s too fickle for that. Owners make rules, not tenants. And Facebook owns the lot.
I was an early adopter and advocate of social media. I still am. But I encourage everyone interested in growing a platform to begin with a home base that you control. Use other services to expand your reach, but build your house on your own lot.
Few things in life are truly stable, but some things are more stable than others. I bought MichaelHyatt.com in 1998. It’s been through a lot of iterations, but it’s always been mine. Ownership provides stability because you set the rules.
This means that you post your primary content on your own blog.
Read Don’t Build Your Social Media House on a Rented Lot by Mike Hyatt
How Did I Evolve Into A Blogger?
I started listening online via Twitter to gain perspective and enhance my professional development. I began to tweet but a 140-characters wasn’t enough. I turned the digital dials more in my favor by blogging. Plus, the act of listening to blog well helped me understand the conversation around the colliding forces of social networking, leadership and the business of relationships.
Over time you’ll realize that by calling out others in your posts, you facilitate a level of connection that fosters the relationships necessary to extend your knowledge and network. The people I cite have colleagues, associates, friends and family who will share my posts across their social circles if my content is good.
So, I find that by anchoring myself online with a blog, Google sees the signals (E.g. my posts being shared on social networks) and rewards me with better search results. Today, my blog is not just a tool for fostering and developing business but also a creative outlet for my writing.
Building an online persona that equals or exceeds your offline reputation is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on quality content and long-term connections. As Adam Singer says, “What’s popular is typically easy, but what’s easy isn’t always what produces the best results.”
- Blogging is more essential than ever.
- Blogging answers the long tail of search and social.
- Build your blog on a home base that you control.
Make sure you own and control your blog like comments from Clark, Singer and Hyatt advocate.
How are you developing your online persona? Do you control the platform that serves as the hub of your digital presence?
Kevin McKeown (@KevinMcKeown) is president of LexBlog. His blog is Leadership Close Up. LexBlog empowers lawyers to increase their visibility and accelerate business relationships online. With LexBlog’s help, legal professionals use their subject matter expertise to drive powerful business development through blogging and social media. Visit LexBlog.com. LexBlog also hosts LXBN, the world’s largest network of professional blogs. With more than 8,000 authors, LXBN is the only media source featuring the latest lawyer-generated commentary on news and issues from around the globe. Visit LXBN.com.