A couple of years of ago, and even as recently as a year ago, this phrase was tossed around a lot in marketing and sales: content is king. It applies to blogging as well. It’s almost always the number one piece of advice when it comes to growing your blog. If a blog doesn’t have quality content, who is coming back to read? Not me and probably not you either.
What I love about my real life job and blogging is that sometimes one informs the other. It’s always funny to back up an idea at work with: “Well, I have this blog I am growing…” It’s also a bit embarrassing but I digress. I was in a meeting and we were discussing how consumer trust is at an all time low, that content matters, but really engaging with your audience is just as important.
Here is the thing: even if you blog once a week and are not interested in growing (which is totally fine!) the people who read your blog are consumers. They are consuming that great content you are providing. So the truth of it is: content is king but engagement is key.
It’s as simple as building relationships within the blogging community and especially with your readers. It’s responding to comments. It’s taking a conversation offline (meaning email or something that is not public). It’s asking questions of your readers at the end of the post. Anything that engages your audience with you and your content is engagement and this is extremely important because in a world filled with phonies (and with a limited amount of my day dedicated to reading blogs), the blogs I make a priority of reading and commenting on every day (or close to it) are the blogs where I feel connected to or engaged with the blogger and her content.
I could have the coolest content in the world–killer DIYs, amazing stories, photographs like it’s National Geographic over here–but if I am not authentic, will you stay?
I’ve been hearing about engagement for months now at work and recently it clicked why some blogs just plain turn me off even though they have incredible content. It’s because, I, as a reader am not stupid. I know that the blogger is churning out content and working so hard to grow her blog and kudos for that. But without engagement, I can only stick around for a little while because as a consumer of your brand (because that is what a blog is), I won’t continue to read if all your content is self serving.
I get it. You want to grow your blog. You want content to be pinable. But it’s like the cartoon characters with money symbols in their eyes. I can see through every post that your end goal is not to engage with me or foster community, but to grow your own space as quickly as possible no matter what it takes. And as I said, those blogs that churn out great content: I give you a pat on the back because it is hard work and you are doing the hard work.
The problem is that I can see your hard work. I can smell the desperation (and I seriously don’t mean this negatively because I’ve smelled of desperation plenty of times in my life). And it turns me off because while I want to grow my blog too, there has to be an understanding that people–real live people–are the ones consuming it. I want you to feel loved and cared for (which may sound so cheesy) and like I am real with you at all times. Consider some of your favorite brands’ presence on social media and their advertising.
Do you know how much people read today? On the internet, on their phones, and tablets? Would you prefer an audience that is extremely loyal to you because of your engagement with them (because it does take extra work to engage) or an audience who could take you or leave you, who forgets about you as soon as the post ends?
Plus, let me just say, even as a writer who wants to grow, one of the most rewarding parts of blogging has been the people I have met online and in real life. The community is real and important. If you aren’t engaging with your readers and the community, you are missing out.
So while content is king, engagement is key. One without the other cannot sustain growth for any blog or any brand, to be honest.
Do you agree? How can I be better engaging with you guys because I actually do care about you? That’s why I am constantly talking about authenticity here. Is there a topic you would like me to explore from a marketing perspective when it comes to blogging?
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