Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Jonathan Gebauer. He is the co-founder and CEO at exploreB2B, a German company.
Exemplary corporate bloggers and content marketers give us the impression that blogging is the answer. These are the men and women who continually publish great content on their blogs, drawing thousands of readers’ daily. Many treat these thought leaders as celebrities (Brian Clark at Copyblogger, Robert Scoble, Brian Solis) and give us the impression that, we too, can establish this level of professional blogging influence.
This assumption, today, crashes and burns. Though strangely, it is still highly promoted.
If a consultant has told you to start your own corporate blog or you have been swayed by one of the many articles stating this is the only way to establish expertise during the content marketing revolution, then you have been a victim of misguided thought.
While blogging used to be productive (during it’s rise over eight years ago), there are now other forms of self-publication that are easier, more efficient and effective. As technology and best practice evolve, blogging becomes old news.
Most of the reasons given to begin a blog no longer apply exclusively to blogging. Instead, they are an argument to publish. Blogs, when we think about it, are really just a liberal form of self-publication – and are certainly not the most efficient method today. After all, would you create a publishing house and put it in a location where less than a handful of people related to your industry could find it, just to publish a few times and distribute to even fewer readers?
Several factors influence the killing of corporate blogs, so let us first get an overview:
Consultants are killing business blogging
The number of business owners being told by consultants to create their own blog increases each day. All those business owners compete for readers. Several years ago, there was enough space in the blogosphere to build a blog with professional influence. Today, new bloggers are a mere freckle on the face of the web. Sadly, high-quality content (often) does not solve the issue of not being found. No matter how good the content is on your blog, your readers will have a tough time finding it without added (paid) assistance.
SEO is killing business blogging
One of the main reasons regularly stated for creating your own corporate blog is SEO. Sounds simple, right? You create a blog on your corporate site and every article on your blog creates a new page that is helping you attain search engine traffic. People will post your articles, creating links to your site. This used to be a neat trick – in 2005. Today, this method is overused and Google has made tough adjustments to protect their credibility. With high quality content (that people share), the system still has the opportunity to work, though this is not without producing a massive amount of content to flood your blog. How long will it take to get this kind of content, when you are competing with blogs that have been running for 2 to 7 years?
Your consultant might tell you to push optimized articles through all of your social media channels, that SEO is the golden ticket to having your idyllic content found. (In the likely event that you created your blog to enhance your website SEO, you are now in the odd situation that you are doing SEO for your blog that you have created for doing SEO for your Website – if this sounds confusing… that is because it is). The consultant is not completely wrong, but what he is probably not telling you, is that it will take years to establish your blog, especially in a niche market. It simply should not take that long for your content to be read.
Shortcuts are killing business blogging
As it has become more difficult to achieve the desired level of exposure through business blogging, people have begun to cheat. Many try to increase the power of their blogs by reposting what others write. This has created a duplicate content problem, with search engines rating duplicate content down.
Buying Facebook fans (companies purchasing thousands of ‘likes’) has resulted in potential leads mistrusting the number of followers a company boasts.
These, among other shortcuts, have been taken by many people trying to create short-term success for their professional blogs. These methods are now backfiring on blogs in general.
So what are the solutions?
There are numerous ways to publish on the web that can produce faster and long-withstanding company results.
Keep in mind that what you want is not actually to create a reputation for your blog; it is to create a reputation for yourself and your company. Here are some ways to do so:
Guest post on other blogs. Not everyone is in your boat of trying now to start from scratch. Utilize the already established blogs in your industry; most of them accept guest posts. Research blogs in your field of expertise, think of a topic for a contributed piece, and contact the author.
News aggregation sites. Compose an article and submit to an aggregation site that allows you to contribute pieces. The moderation queue will let you know shortly if your post will be published and exposed to the aggregation community. Either it is featured on the platform, or you can reuse the content elsewhere.
Content-based networks: Content-based platforms allow you to post material (videos, articles, infographics) without awaiting moderation. Here you create a profile and post with zero lag time. The most frequently network of this type is YouTube. For articles, exploreB2B (a business platform built for the purpose of sharing and exposing written content) is also effective in allowing for content discovery.
Do not forget offline options. Conferences where you can attend or speak – accessing other thought leaders and influencers in your line of work, are a highly effective means of PR. Publishing in print magazines also channels an outlet of people seeking information. Publish where your audience is looking to consume new ideas, both on and offline.
When you produce high quality content, people will remember you. This authority does not come from the power of a blog; it comes from the power of your thoughts, findings, teachings and innovations being communicated in a meaningful way. Find places to publish that give you the maximum amount of exposure to share these ideas. More important than creating a reputation for your blog is to create a strong reputation for yourself.
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Jonathan Gebauer is co-founder and CEO at exploreB2B a German startup that recently went international. exploreB2B’s mission is to revolutionize worldwide business-to-business communication by providing a platform where any professional can publish. Written articles connect users and create the necessary framework for collaboration and new business opportunity. You can reach Jonathan on Twitter at @jogebauer or contact him directly via mailto:email@example.com.