Is Blogging Dead?
An online forum recently asked this question--without anyone giving much of a response. In my last few entries, I've been writing about some of the insight from Bob Bly's new book, Blog Schmog which is a skeptical and practical look at blogging and business. People love absolutes--you must do such and such as a writer. For example, some people are saying every writer must have a blog. Others say every writer must have a website. Others say every writer must have a newsletter. The answer from my view is much more gray rather than black and white. You can have these things if they fit into a larger plan and purpose. To create a website or a newsletter or a blog without a larger plan for it, just doesn't make sense to me.
Direct marketing is the world where Bob Bly lives and breathes and succeeds every day. He asks, "Are blogs effective marketing tools on a widespread basis? Not according to MarketingSherpa. "Call us cynics," says an article in Sherpa. "Blogs may be hip and trendy, but they don't do diddly-squat for most people's businesses." A page later, Bly says, "Blogging is not a particularly potent marketing tool, and creating a blog for most businesses is strictly optional. No business "needs" a blog. Most businesses probably shouldn't waste time and resources creating one. Although blogs can incrementally increase sales of products and services, their ability to generate online revenue is insignificant when compared with proven online direct response marketing methods such as e-zines and e-mails."
Then Bly gives two areas where blogging has value as a marketing medium: "First, blogs can in many instances significantly improve a site's ranking in the search engine, thereby driving more traffic to that site. Second, blogs can be effective as part of an integrated program to establish one's reputation as an expert in a particular field. Therefore, blogs can help consultants and other businesses that sell expertise (either as a stand-alone service or in support of a product) increase visibility and credibility among the target audience."
Whether you blog or not, it's a choice and hopefully your reason for doing it fits into a larger plan. I agree with Bly's conclusions (or I wouldn't have done this work to include them in my own entries about the Writing Life). The bulk of my writing day is involved in other aspects of publishing such as writing books or writing for printed magazine articles.
Blogging isn't dead but it's good from my view to stand back and look at the effectiveness and the potential results from it. You can make your own decision about whether you want to jump into it or not. Just don't feel pressure from the "everyone is doing it" mentality.
If you want to capture the editor's attention, you are much better spending that same energy toward a quality book proposal or a quality fiction manuscript or a series of printed magazine articles. Then you have built a body of work in the print world which will gain attention from editors and potentially provide you other opportunities.