The Traditional Blog Post Is Dead
Warning! This post is a paradox!
Content Marketing And The Blogging Myth. The Traditional Blog Post Is Dead
Today we thought that we would explode one of the biggest myths regarding content marketing.
We are in the VR marketing business but this post applies to all blogs and bloggers. Read on.
How many times have you read the following…
6 things online businesses should do…
Start a blog…
A blog sends traffic to your website…
A blog makes you seem more authoritative about your business…
Blah Blah Blah…
Here’s one such offering
Develop a Content Strategy
Content marketing was the buzzword of 2014 and in that respect, nothing much has changed. Content continues to rule and this year, just like last year, we expect to see businesses with a well-documented and structured content strategy outperforming businesses with poor or no content strategy. Give before you expect to receive.
You know what really grinds my gears?
These articles never, and I mean never, inform business owners as to what a blog (or content strategy) is, what blogging entails or how it will benefit the site owner (or, more importantly, the potential client).
Some may state some vague SEO benefits, others will tell you that you will get more web traffic.
- How will it do this?
- Who will read these articles?
- How will people come across these posts?
None of these “so called experts” tell you anything about blogging itself. They don’t mention the actual nitty gritty…
- What do you blog about?
- How often should you blog?
- How long should these blog posts be?
- What constitutes a good post?
They don’t even cover the basics.
Here’s the bottom line
The traditional blog is dead in the water. Long form blogging (like this article) is out of date.
OK, 5 or 10 years ago the long blog concept worked. I have to admit that I was doing it and it served it’s purpose.
In those days you had to write long articles because you could only target keyword phrases, so if you wrote a long article you could stuff that article with your keyword phrase and that manipulation wouldn’t seem too obvious.
The thing is those days are over. Well over. Gone. Real people can’t be bothered to read anything longer than a paragraph of content these days before they hit some sort of latent, time induced, panic threshold and look to move on in their search for yet another photo of Kim Kardashian, Kobe or kittens. That’s our kismet.
Changes in circumstance.
The advent of smartphones and tablets has brought about a major sea change in circumstance when it comes to where people interact with our content.
During 2000 – 2010 most people would read what we wrote whilst at home or in the office on a desk based computer. Now a huge percentage of content (getting on for 50%) is devoured on the move via mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets just don’t lend themselves well to reading long text based articles, especially when using them on the move.
So now your content needs to be short and sweet in order for it to be taken in.
So what do we do? – We need to look at our audience.
Painting pictures for the populous.
That lady behind you in the queue at the supermarket, the one looking at her phone right now. She has 30 seconds to check her social media stream before starting to empty her trolley onto the conveyer belt at the checkout.
She doesn’t have time to read some long, detailed, blog post that you spent all day writing.
She needs to skim. She’s going to skim. She wants a visual titbit, a lovely photo with a catchy headline and an indelible bullet point or two of text. That’s it.
It’s no good taking your time painting a masterpiece for this woman. You need to be firing a succession of paintball pellets straight at her forehead.
The great thing about paintball is that even if you miss with one or two shots as long as you keep firing you’re going to hit her sooner or later.
This woman is behind you every time you go to the supermarket (just look later on today or tomorrow) and she’s in every single supermarket in the country. – In every country!
Feeding the masses.
That guy next to you on the train, the one swiping his iPhone, he’s checking the news, the weather, the sport and the posts his friends have shared and let’s face it they haven’t shared anything much longer than an iPhone screen lately (they don’t even have time to scroll any more).
As marketers we need to serve the fare that our clients are hungry for.
We need to be dishing up the marketing equivalent of a flash card, a mere aide memoire , a branded bite size snack.
It’s no good producing a rich dish of foie gras if everyone is eating pot noodle.
Your posts should be beautifully presented and easy to digest.
Quenching an insatiable thirst
While we’re at it, look at that couple drinking coffee.
You can see them in every cafe, every Starbucks, every Costa Coffee, whatever. They’re even sitting opposite each other at most breakfast tables up and down the nation.
They don’t even have time for each other. They’re both in the stream. Looking for the occasional digital island to wash up on.
It’s not called a stream for nothing. Imagine sitting on a riverbank, things enter our vision, they drift by, they’re gone again, replaced by something else. That’s the social stream that we are marketing on.
As a content producer it’s best go with the flow. You want to be throwing brightly coloured objects into the stream so they catch the eye when they float past. If the articles have too much text people won’t be able to read it all with a fleeting glance.
The recipe for success
Besides the above recipe mishmash (some of which are essential ingredients), have a look at your own social feeds and see what’s catching your eye, see what’s getting reshared, make a mental note of posts that attract a lot of comments.
These are the posts that you want to use as your own templates, your inspiration, your benchmark.
Our recipe is as follows,
- One eye catching image (maybe with a text overlay to underline your message)
- A catchy headline (in bold)
- Around a paragraph of text
- Maybe a closing question to stimulate engagement
- A link to more information (if applicable)
- A link back to your main website
- A byline – Posted by …..
- 4 or 5 hashtags
- Don’t try to sell stuff – Social media and marketing don’t mix – Save the selling for your website.
Rinse and repeat 5 times a week.
For text overlays and other image manipulation see canva.com and picmonkey.com (both are aimed at producing social media images, free to use and easy to get to grips with.
We don’t need a blog we need a plan. A plan that works.
So, next time that you find yourself sitting down to create some content you need to decide if you’re going to spend a couple of hours painting a large detailed work of art (that may be too big to fit on peoples walls) or whether you would be better spending 10 minutes making a jigsaw piece that fits into peoples busy lives.
Time is money and you have 2 choices
Sit down once a week for 2 hours and write a traditional blog post that tells a story that no one has time to read (just like this one).
Sit down 5 times a week for 15 minutes and create 5 jigsaw pieces that each tell their own story and build into a bigger picture (there’s nothing stopping you creating all 5 pieces in one sitting and publishing them throughout the week).
I know I said that you had 2 choices but I lied. You have a third choice too.
If you really want to write long posts then at least consider chopping them up after publication and then repurpose those parts into teasers that raise awareness and drive traffic to the longform version.
Here’s what we mean
That’s all folks