Does anyone even remember that the word “blog” came from the term “weblog?” Does anyone even remember that the original use of weblogs were literally logs of webpages? Quite a mundane start for something that has become a phenomenal field, or even industry, or its own, isn’t it? Today, blogs range from mundane to inspirational to simply lucrative, as ads and e-commerce monetises some of the most well-loved and powerful blogs there are today.
Indeed, blogs offer a powerful method of turning in a profit that anyone can create — from businesses of any level to individuals with their own niches of expertise or passions. Of course, what makes blogs so popular is their content. Let’s make sense of blogs and the website content and copywriting that we often see in them.
Blogs and Websites
The boundaries delineating blogs from websites are virtually gone now — what with content management platforms such as Blogger and WordPress dishing out blog after blog and website after website. Indeed, the difference is nearly inconsequential most of the time. What really sets blogs apart, however, is the content that they serve up; being free platforms of expression by the bloggers behind them, blog posts can vary widely and wildly in style, form, approach, and content. Businesses or entities that have their own blogs follow particular style guidelines, but in general people expect blogs to be less rigid and freer.
Blogs in Social Media
In 2011, NM Incite research showed that blogs and social media took up nearly a quarter of the time spent by active Internet users — blogs and social networking sites were the top destinations in the US and nearly everywhere else in the Internet literate world. Blogs have indeed come a long way, and with the recent rise of social media, have become even more rampant than ever.
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Blogs, like social media, cater a wide variety of content to a huge base of readers. Better yet, blogs, again like social media, offer the most direct and informal way of communicating more often than not. With entertaining, informative, and engaging content, blogs have quickly shot to the top of the Internet list of almost every active Internet user along with their favourite social networking sites. It is important to note that the common denominator responsible for the popularity of both social media and blogs is their viral potential — their shareability, if there ever was a word.
Blogs in e-commerce
Because of this factor of blog content being “shareable” and viral, it is currently also a major facet in Internet marketing and e-commerce Obviously, content marketing efforts will benefit greatly from posting articles on such a platform. And content marketing, in turn, is an underlying facet in every other marketing venture that uses any form of content: from public relations strategy to social media marketing.
Yet another reason blogs are as hot in e-commerce as they are in social media is that they offer a more informal, relaxed venue to reach out to target markets and share content that they find appealing, engaging, and entertaining, all the while also being a vehicle of establishing authority in a field or niche. And then there are inherent advantages such as using blogging for link building and display ads. But all of these rely upon the content that is delivered through the blogs, the same factor that helped propel blogs to the top of the Internet scene in the first place.
Ideal Blog Content
So what is the ideal content for blogs? While there is no single answer to that, we know that blogs are a more relaxed, informal, and personal-conversational venue as most people would communicate this way. Others still have their own quirky or fun personas, depending on the theme or objective of the blog. Let’s break it down:
- Entertaining — While the descriptive term “entertaining” seems to be too general, note that it is also subjective. What some audiences find entertaining may be boring to others, or even insensitive. You need to know your audience and what entertains them to finally be able to turn your blog into an entertaining venue for your particular audience. If you’re blogging within a niche and you’re using your blog for e-commerce, your audience’s only real common ground are your products or services, which means that you need to tread carefully in providing entertaining content.
- Informative — An individual’s blog can be an outlet for his expertise or experience, so his content will naturally be informative towards an audience in the same fields or people who share similar experiences. A business should position itself as an authority, expert, or specialist in its own niche or field, and the content of its blog should be aligned to provide informative content relevant to its industry. Both horizontal and vertical information is much appreciated by different sorts of audiences, and for e-commerce purposes, both types of information can generate different sorts of leads or customers.
- Leveraging current events, news, and trending topicsViral — The factor that dictates how “viral” something becomes on the web is dynamic and cannot be attributed to a single facet. There are ways to make blog content more viral in potential, however, such as:
- Using controversial or “hot” issues
- Going with popular trends such as infographics or even memes
- Blogging using different forms of content: images, videos, and animations — the different types of content make it easier for the blog to go viral through different channels
Everything else (style, tone, approach, etc) should be guided by the goal or theme of the blog. While the above mentioned factors are general in nature and are characteristics that blogs should strive for, individuality and uniqueness also account for blogging success.
A weblog has indeed gone far from being simply a log of website events and activities. If you or your business can leverage its potential and popularity, blogs can be a sure conduit to success. Keep some best practices in mind but be sure to differentiate your blog from the rest, and you can be sure to attain a level of readership in the long run.