Blogging has to be one of the most powerful Social Media platforms on the web today and its growth is set to continue well into the future. In this article we will briefly discuss “what it is” and how it can best be utilized for your business.
Originally a blog was similar to a forum, it provided an open platform for online users to interact. It wasn’t long before it became a forum on steroids. Its format became totally flexible with the ability to act like an editable text document, pictures and images could be added, apps could be imported but probably the one thing that distinguished it from a simple forum was its ability to incorporate advertising.
Blogging seemed to develop a life of its own especially when the WordPress platform was introduced. Now it was no longer a forum but a flexible webpage that could be adapted for multiple uses.
This change did not go unnoticed by the commercial online community, here was the chance to embrace a flexible low-cost marketing tool.
Blogging is still used by everyday people for non commercial purposes but because it has become a more complex tool a lot of people have moved over to the more simplified models of communication such as Twitter or Facebook.
No doubt you will have noticed the change yourself particularly with the WordPress platform. Professional marketers have turned standard blogs into opt-in pages or squeeze pages, sales pages and even interactive websites. It’s easy to see why ordinary people have moved away, if not totally abandoned blogging platforms in favour of Twitter or Facebook.
You may hold a different view on this progress or change and feel that we have lost sight of what makes a blog a blog.
Whilst it’s a good thing that blogs have evolved into flexible web pages, we should not as marketers, lose sight of what a blog was originally meant to be. A blog’s original purpose was for communicating ideas, submitting topics and subjects to a target audience with the sole intent of engaging readers and like-minded individuals to become involved and to share their unique opinions. It was also meant to have a less serious purpose of being a place to relax and catch up with friends on the latest gossip. This role appears to have been taken over by Twitter and Facebook.
Unlike Twitter or Facebook, which have strict limitations on content inclusion, a blog can be used to give expression to so much more than snippets of information. WordPress can now include video and audio.
All of the social media platforms are now being used by internet marketers, if not to directly sell their products or services, then indirectly to fill their sales funnels for future sales.
This doesn’t mean static websites are becoming obsolete, quite the contrary, they are just being utilized in a different way. Whereas mailing lists were the original way for gathering the details of prospects, then email marketing, now it is social marketing.
We can look forward to some very interesting developments in the months and years to come. Where do you foresee the next advance for marketers? Could it be a platform that combines embedded chip technology with interactive online technology, who knows! If you are able to foresee the next advance in internet marketing then you will be well positioned to profit from it before it becomes mainstream.
For the moment though we are getting ahead of ourselves and we need to focus on the current technology which is still in its early stages. This can be seen by the way rules and regulations are being implemented daily to combat what is seen as abuses of online communications. The old rules regarding copyright, grammar, subliminal advertising etc. are all being stretched to breaking point.
Just trying to hold onto creative control over your content is becoming more difficult daily. The social media platforms are trying to cope but it appears to be a losing battle. As an example if you put a video up on YouTube or Tweets on Twitter and they don’t agree with its content, it can and will be taken down without any notice to you. Yet there are other online platforms that will gladly accept your content and publish virtually anything.
Just to bring this article to a conclusion we can summarize by saying that blogging has changed out of all proportion to its original format. Yet it is still a very viable format albeit a more commercialised one. It should still form a major part of your online marketing strategy to be integrated with the other online Web2 platforms.