Does blogging matter any more?

Does blogging matter

By Mars Dorian, {grow} Contributing Columnist
Five years ago, I wrote my first blog post. I was all — yay, a digital crusader entering the exciting realm of the blogosphere. It was like the Wild West — nobody knew what kind of article attracted the most readers, but the pundits all agreed on one thing — If you didn’t blog at least twice (or better, five times) a week , you were putting the nails into your own digital coffin. I followed their advice and cranked out high-quality posts up to three times per week and I loved it, just like my readers…

Fast forward four years.

When I feel productive, I blog every other month. Yeah, you heard that right — I think a graveyard probably has more going on than my blog. Sometimes, I even skip a month or two between posting articles, because … meh. The effectiveness of blogging has dropped and I find I only act upon the impulse to blog whenever I have nothing better to do.

What happened?

I’d say reader behavior has changed drastically due to the emergence of mobile and an ever-increasing content shock. I believe blogging in its current form is going to be useless, especially for individual content creators. I know it’s a big claim, but I’ve summarized the three biggest “culprits” that lead to the downfall of blogging as a business strategy.

Are you ready? Let’s start with numero uno.

1. Interaction — Does blogging matter?

Back in the day, blogging meant interacting with the community. Readers used comments to engage with the author, but that role is now dominated by other social media outlets. Most of my discussion happens on Twitter, my personal Promised Land of interaction.

Heck, I even got into a heated debate with the folks behind the #weneeddiversity hashtag, but that’s another blog post all together.

2. Free content = skimming

Our attention span dwindles by the year. Children born into today’s “All You Can Read” environment are now seemingly born with ADD by default.

Read: choice overkill.

According to a German research study, the average web user only reads about 20% of the content during an ‘average’ visit.
Many people only skim articles. I do it more often nowadays, which hurts, because I know how much time a lot of content creators put into their well-crafted articles. It comes down to the age old theory that “you don’t value what you don’t pay for.”
Because of this, a lot of ex-bloggers have switched from free blogging to information-based Kindle ebook publishing. They pack their content into small ebooks and sell them to niche crowds for little money, which made me ponder.

Why I should I waste my precious time creating content that people skim over when I can make good money with ebooks that people pay to read?

3) Quality work speaks for itself

My mentors used to say that blogging is the best advertising for the products and services you offer on your website. Based on my online business experiences in recent years, I have to disagree. Your services and products are the best advertising. You may attract new customers through blogging, but only the quality of your actual products creates the word-of-mouth you need for a sustainable business.

If you create a service / product that answers a pressing need in a market niche, you will attract quality clients on a regular basis. My portfolio page on my blog has been the number one advertising tool–and I don’t even share it. I just update it with newer work. It’s the same with self-publishing — all the successful indies say the best way to get more readers is to write another book, not to waste time blogging or tweeting (about) them. Which reminds me of the infamous Steve Martin quotation: “Be so good the world can’t ignore you.”

The people who read my blog don’t even buy my stuff — they comment and share, which is awesome, but it doesn’t put food on the table.

It hurt me to write this post.

Unfortunately, blogging is not the priority it once was for me.

What about you — how much of a role does blogging play in your customer acquisition? Does blogging matter to you?

Note from Mark Schaefer: One of the reasons I have guest bloggers on {grow} is to offer diverse opinions. I have not had the same experience as Mars — my blog community is still vibrant and growing, it is my major source of business leads, and it is still my number one social media priority. In fact, I regard blogging as the “fuel” that powers everything else. But I thought Mars’ view is worthy and legitimate. Does it resonate with you?

Mars Dorian describes himself as a creative marketeer with a moon-melting passion for human potential and technology. You can follow his adventures at Original illustration by the author.

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