Ultimately, I think a blog should be used for conversation outreach. What I mean by that is: posts are a way of communicating with your readers and visitors. They should be set up as conversations acting as a medium for self-expression, explanation and exploration of an idea or concept.
Social media thrives on conversations. After all, it is termed as ‘social’, whether it’s for networking or bookmarking. This is not a platform for selling, a point that is misused by sales people and misinformed marketers from the old school. It is a method of creating, continuing with and working on conversations with all sorts of people, whether they are past, present or prospective customers.
The concept of conversation outreach is paramount when it comes to blogging. When I write my posts I tend to compose them as conversations in my head with another person. It’s like sitting down to coffee with a friend and instead of the words coming out of my mouth, they’re spilling out of my fingers through the keyboard. Sometimes it can get quite frustrating when I can’t type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts!
I believe this makes them not only more conversational, but more interesting to read. Back in the old days when I was just starting out in the world of blogging, it took me hours to write a post, carefully choosing my words and constructing my sentences. The result was dull, staid and far too academic. What you don’t want to post is a carefully calculated article-like thesis, because they usually bore the pants off your readers. Keep those aside for article websites or your college tutor.
Look for conversations within social networking sites. They are (or should be) happening all the time, easily and obviously spotted by being interesting to read, capturing your attention or talking about fashionable or trendy topics, usually readily shared around the internet. But interspersed in between these are status updates about what your dog had for breakfast, tweets that are stuffed full of jargon or hashtags, or dumped post links from disinterested bloggers in the discussion section of Facebook or LinkedIn groups. These examples are not creating conversations, in fact their conversation outreach is virtually nil.
Social bookmarking performs better through interaction, which is a geeky way of having conversations. It’s important to be interested in other bloggers and what they write, in order for them to show an interest in you. This social interaction should spark off blog comments, reviews and recommendations, which in turn raises the popularity of each blog and thus more attention from the search engines (as well as other visitors). In fact, commenting on blogs per se, whether through social bookmarking or not, is a very good way of creating conversations within blogs, and I particularly remember one 14-long comment relay I had with a blogger on one of my posts as being very enjoyable.
So think carefully about creating some form of conversation outreach when you update your blog. Is what you’re saying interesting to your readers? How will it maintain their attention, give them something for nothing and make their lives better for reading it? Is your post suitably optimised with appropriate keywords to increase its attractiveness to the search engines? Remember your powers of communication should not be compromised by over-use of keywords, spoiled by bad spelling and grammar, and undermined by poor research or an inability to tell a good story. It’s important to satisfy your readers as well as the internet spiders in your attempt to complete a satisfactory conversation outreach.