Blogging For Community Or Clients?

By Jayme Soulati, Chicago River, Wendella Boat

It’s summer, and I prefer a laissez-faire approach to blogging that matches my inability to be super productive because, as all of you know, I’m a #MomInSummer with no help.

What that means is the writing of pretty easy blog posts suitable for my community which get everyone thinking (none too hard) and generate a bunch of comments. In addition, I’m not doing too much hard work to add proof points and evidence that my opinion matters as evidenced by big data or research.

Is this a problem?

When I look at the really established bloggers with hundreds of tweets for each post (and often very few comments), it gives me pause. Should I be writing heavier content to impress would-be clients to show I know my stuff in business-to-business social media marketing with public relations? (Had to stuff that key word phrase in somewhere, didn’t I?)

Or, can I go ahead and offer up thinkable topics that align in and around the community while being accessible and sharing ‘raderie that I so love to do? There are times when I am hit in the face with hard business topics, and these require a different approach to writing; that’s when the smarts really show up, and it gets peeps thinking or running away. Comments become fewer, but traffic is there. People don’t often find the need to say anything because, well, I don’t know the because…this has often baffled me…the posts that say a lot about nothing; the bare-your-soul posts; the I-have-a-problem-and-maybe-you-can-help-me posts; the simple-non-thinking-fill-space-posts; seem to ALWAYS get the most comments.

Why?

What does that say about communities? Would people rather alight on a topic that’s airy and fluffy or get fodder that contributes to business topics?

In my thinking about this post, four heavy-hitting bloggers come to mind:

Heidi Cohen

Shelly Kramer

Adrienne Smith

Wonder of Tech

I love these four women who write the same all the time; hard-hitting news, tips, reviews, educational material, and more. I can count on them for good insight, and I can learn from them, too. Laura Click came over the other day and said she knew she was writing for clients and not her peers, and that’s why her comments from peers were fewer than when she launched her blog and engaged her peers more.

What that says to bloggers is a good lesson to heed.

If your blog is lackadaisical in approach, topic, content, goals, then take a look at these five women bloggers and look at their consistency of style. Are you writing for your community or your clients? Do you care?

47 comments
susansilver
susansilver

I have a business blog and a personal blog. Different goals and intent. One is a playground the other serious. One gets lots of comments (personal) & the other gets lots of shares (business).  

 

Though sometimes I feel a bit strange writing in two different styles. It is hard to keep up. I thought about axing one, but I would rather write less. I need both to feel creatively satisfied. 

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

Ah, the #mominsummer peer group unites! As you can tell from me, I write posts for both! I write for clients and I write what I feel like writing as I get inspired to do it. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to do it, as long as it works for you.

 

I think you hit on something in your observation and that @ShakirahDawud echoed nicely, the safety effect. When folks are comfortable, as they are with this post and the more 'opinion couched in levity' brand of posting, they tend to comment. When it's the 'big dog blogger' who has staked his proverbial claim in the sands of social media, marketing and the like, hell shall have no fury as the blogger scorned by critical comments.  It can get touchy. Who has time for that? Really? I don't.

 

If I learn something, I share. If I am entertained, I comment and share. If I feel comfortable, I always comment and then share - as I have done here.  It also is a form of support...to let my friends know that I'm still around and I do read their stuff! ;)  

 

However, BIG point to make for a LOT of folks...just because we don't comment, doesn't mean we didn't read it or that we didn't like it. 

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

I think it's good to mix it up a bit Jayme. I'm sure folks are loving to engage with you - - and they are gaining insights on PR and business, which attracted you to them in the first place.

 

That pretty much describes me :o

 

Both 'heavy' and 'thinkable' articles are good for personal branding as well as for potential clients to see in my opinion. I think there's a advantage to having both vs. one or the other.

 

Just my two cents...

 

 

rdopping
rdopping

Now you have me thinking. The traffic I get from the A+D industry doesn't get comments at all. The traffic is there but it's all Silent Bob's out there. But when I write some lighter stuff, like today, I usually get some attention from the blogging community. 

 

I care. I write to expose my thoughts and experiences for the A+D industry but really love the banter in the comment streams that comes from the posts that are more subjective. Maybe a bit conflicted but trying to tie the two together. I am not running my own business so there really is no other marketing advantage other than building a library of content over time, develop friendships and a voice.

Hajra
Hajra

I am blogging for fun! And if people come by and have just as much fun... then why think so much! ;)

lauraclick
lauraclick

Thanks so much for the shout out, Jayme! I appreciate the kind words.

 

Here's my answer - there's no right answer! Different strokes for different folks! I think it's just a matter of deciding what's right for you and your business and then sticking with it. And, sometimes (as others have mentioned), individual posts can serve different purposes. As you so aptly stated, you just determine your goals and then be consistent. When you're all over the place, you'll have a tough time keeping anyone's attention!

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

It all depends on what you want to do, my dear. What ultimately do you want from blogging? A variation on Michelle's question.

 

Either way I'm glad you do it.

New England Multimedia
New England Multimedia

This goes back to question #1 we all have to answer when we start a blog: why are we spending the time writing for a blog? If you're just looking for community, then write for community! If you're looking to create a personal advantage in the marketplace for your services, write with your target audience in mind, and create experiences that give them value, while showing that you know your stuff. If you're looking to drive up your website's rank in search engines for certain keywords/topics, write with those topics in mind. 

 

It completely depends on your purpose!

 

Maybe this: Include a short bio box at the bottom of each of your community-driven posts, the way online magazines do. Then you catch two birds with one net!

KDillabough
KDillabough

I write based on what I believe others will enjoy, learn from, be entertained by, be informed with, be inspired by and leave a little lighter, brighter, happier, healthier or wiser...not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily in each post, haha! My Mission in life? 3 simple words: To spread joy. My intention? To be of service.So whether I'm writing a more business-oriented post, self improvement/self-actualization post or the now rampantly successful Alphabet series, it's all about touching as many lives as possible and leaving them a little bit "better off" (whatever that means to THEM), than before. I care...deeply. Cheers! Kaarina

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

I agree with @ShakirahDawud but I also think it's a matter of hitting emotional buttons. I'm also #mominsummer, so my time - especially now - is at a premium. Though I still read a boat load of blog posts, my bandwidth for commenting is WAY down. I tend to comment mostly when something touches me emotionally - hits a hot button of some kind. Most "how-to" and "news-y" posts don't do that, but the "bare-your-soul" ones often do. 

 

As for who I blog for, it varies for each of my blogs. The writing one is  for peers (sharing tips and war stories), and - in the context of my marketing business - also for customers (I talk a lot about branding and platform building and am planning to make an offer to that audience this fall). My marketing blog is mostly for prospects and is geared towards demystifying the "scary" world of branding and content marketing. The Savvy B2B blog is primarily for peers. That wasn't intentional, but that's how it's evolved; and we're good with that. 

 

It's important to pay attention to how your audience is evolving so that you can either capitalize on what you've got, or self-correct and head back to where you meant to be. Bottom line - it's something worth thinking about! 

 

ShakirahDawud
ShakirahDawud

Honestly, I think you get more comments on what you call "bare-your-soul" posts because it's so much easier to have an opinion when there's no real right or wrong opinion. When the expert comes out, some of us are not so sure we know what we're talking about anymore, so we'll read it, act as if we already knew it, and just... back away slowly. Heh.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @EricaAllison  @ShakirahDawud And...look what the cat dragged in! OK, Lady, you just wrote your blog post right here so you're off the hook for another week! Heh.

 

GREAT seeing you! Do you miss us? Well, we miss you! Thanks for saying all of the above; still relevant, still timely, still a blogger pro and PR peep or whatever you want to call yourself. And, I see I already got an RT on today's new post! Wow! 

 

Kidding you and teasing you terribly...I'll try to stop or I'll get @rdopping to come support you!! TeeHee!! Ralph, you should know by now it's all in jest, right? Good-hearted teasing is what I do ALL the time. Just ask @Bill Dorman !

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Mark_Harai I like that; makes perfect sense to me! 

 

Someone below suggested that "if you're all over the place" people get confused. But, that's the nature of my field -- PR IS all over the place. I'm an agency brat; that means I work on all industries and sizes of business. My thirst for knowledge is endless and my blog topics take me all over the place -- the "20Things To Do Before I Die" was one I can easily recall and look what happened! 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @rdopping Good. Someone else has seen what I see, too. What is the A+ D industry, Ralph?  

 

I think the lighter stuff applies to everyone; the professional stuff is more niche. It's my better work, but it garners fewer comments. I'd need to look at traffic analytics to see if I get more readers, or not. Maybe different ones. 

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

 @lauraclick People make their money off of pretending there is ONE answer, now that I think about it. While you, Jayme, Michelle, are all right, I think I'll go the disingenuous route for the sake of a buck. People are always looking for easy and I'll give it to them. HA HA

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jennwhinnem And, it wasn't a question for me per se but for all to consider. I like the feedback, though. Validates. Thanks for coming over.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @New England Multimedia  Michelle, I've always admired your approach to blogging and pretty much everything you do online. It works for you and Scott, and it's sage counsel for your clients. Bloggers here and everywhere would be smart to heed it. 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @suddenlyjamie  @ShakirahDawud I love that you're here, peer #MomInSummer. What I have never understood is how you can do 3 blogs and keep them alive and still have any time to bump the revenue stream? Fascinating. We do manage, eh?

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @ShakirahDawud And, thanks for being first to say so!  I know you've said that in the past in other words, and I appreciate knowing that that's what happens. Kinda had an inkling...oh, that's @Ken Mueller 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @rdopping Oops. I see Architecture and  Design. Not sure you saw my Soulati Media On The Street interview with Patty Swisher of a Pittsburgh architectural firm. It's on YouTube and here, too. 

lauraclick
lauraclick

 @jennwhinnem That is such a pet peeve of mine - people who talk in absolutes. Yes, you can have an opinion and belief in how something should be done, but there is often more than one right way to do something. But, you're right - so many people just want to be told what to do instead of taking the time to figure out the best approach.

New England Multimedia
New England Multimedia

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Thanks, Jayme! I have another blog in the works that will be written with a completely different purpose -- definitely for community. But a large segment of that community will be interested in the eBooks I'm writing with them in mind. Someday, when I have time, it'll get launched! 

 

You have great community here, for sure. I watch and learn from you re: "negative" comments on anything you write that's controversial. My blog will be on controversial topics-of-the-day, things that have my ire up; your courage under fire, and ability to stay gracious but not roll over, are important skills. That's your PR experience, all the way, and is really needed for anyone involved in social media. So you're still showing your expertise, even if your posts are for conversation and community. I certainly learn from you! 

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @ShakirahDawud Yep - we manage, and then some. ;) 

My saving grace is that Savvy and the writing blog are both collaborative efforts, so I only have to post once in a while. For my own blog, I'm currently only trying to post once a week ... and even that slides quite frequently at the moment (in addition to summer, I'm just wrapping up a fiction writing class in Boston). 

No matter - I'm in a slowing down mindset lately - it's actually going to be part of my rebrand (coming this fall). :) 

 

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  I launched my site fairly recently (was - blush - making do without one for a while), but what I'm working on now is a new approach for Suddenly Marketing and a whole lotta new look & feel and structure. I'm excited and can't wait to start working on it ... just have to get past these lovely deadlines. :) 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @suddenlyjamie  @ShakirahDawud OK, so maybe I've known you awhile, but forgive me this question...did you  recently rebrand? Like last year? 

 

Just curious and wonder if that's a blog post; "why it's necessary to revisit the brand; and what the heck does that mean??"

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