Blogging can be compared to retail in terms of generating “foot traffic.” Many people venture into retailing because they enjoy interacting directly with customers, they’re passionate about a product or service and they’re certain that others will be as well. So they’ll lease a storefront, flip the sign on the front door to read “Open,” and wait for the customers to rush in and buy their goods. However, what separates a successful retailer from a bankrupt retailer is the realization that rewards are derived from hard work, quality, attention to detail, and evolving a passion to match the market need. Retailers can even spend a significant portion of their budget to advertise their product or service, but if they haven’t addressed these variables, they’ll never generate interest nor will they develop a loyal following. And yes, these same principals apply to blogging.
So why do so many blogs fail? In my estimation, I’d narrow it down to these 5 reasons:
CONSISTENCY – The blogger has failed to consistently develop content on a regular schedule; which in turn leaves whatever viewer he or she has previously attracted clueless as to when updates or newsworthy items will appear on the blog. Although many business owners say they don’t have the time to blog consistently, they need to change their perception of the blogging function and recognize it as a legitimate portion of their sales and marketing activities.
RELEVANCE – Just because a blogger may have a passion for nude para sailing, that activity doesn’t necessarily equate to like minded interest within the public at large. Similar to the retailer example above, a blogger must evolve their passion to address a market need. One unfortunate characteristic of our culture is that people are too busy in general to be interested in the passions of others; what they desire is content that emotionally engages them and equates to their own interests. This isn’t to say that bloggers can’t structure a message to endear their passions to others, but merely a warning to keep the interests of the audience in mind. In fact, regardless of the subject matter, successful blogs capture the emotions of an audience by making them laugh, cry, ponder, or get angry. Even nude para sailing could become a relevant blogging topic if the subject matter is able to emotionally engage the reader.
AESTHETICS – No matter the content, people in general still appreciate a well-designed layout for a Web page that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate. By maintaining a well designed Web page, bloggers are able to enhance credibility and improve the viral component of their distribution – because who really wants to refer a terrible looking Web site to a friend or professional acquaintance?
COMPREHENSIVE MARKETING– Going back to the retailer example, one cannot simply flip the sign on the front door to read “Open” and expect customers to pour in. Generating blog traffic will take effort; the content must be distributed out to a targeted group of readers in order to generate interest. Thankfully, utilizing technologies such as RSS (Really Simple Syndication), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and viral social components such as Facebook, Vertical Response, Twitter and even the “Send This to a Friend” link are all viable methods to help generate interest in a particular blog. Additionally, bloggers should must incorporate some good ol’ fashioned personal promotion. The power of simply honestly asking your friends and professional network to help spread the word is highly underrated and under utilized. Be honest and simply ask your sphere of contacts (family, friends, neighbors, work contacts, etc.) to read your blog and pass it along to anyone they know who might appreciate it. Tell them plainly that you’re trying to grow the awareness of your business. If you’re truly passionate about the value you are offering your customers AND you’ve taken the time to address the first three components this tactic can have amazing results.