In my Strategic Communications class last semester, we learned that blogs are the earliest form of social media. And there is a reason that they have stayed prominent despite the emergence of Facebook and Twitter. Heck!! It could even be argued that Twitter was formed off the concept of blogging, which is understandable seeing as it is a microblogging medium. Blogs are a fantastic way to show people your personality and to make yourself completely transparent to your audience. Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress (to name only a few) are simple (when used correctly), yet effective ways to help readers feel connected to you, build relationships, and share stories. For example, take this clip from BBC's television show, Sherlock set in modern day Britain. Martin Freeman's character, John Watson, maintains a blog throughout the entire series and posts about Sherlock's and his investigations. As an end result, the two become internet phenomenon's and everyone flocks to Sherlock for help. Hysterically enough, John is continuously getting complimented on his blog throughout episodes. Moral of the video: tell your story, make it true to you, and people generally will want to keep coming back for more.
(credit to YouTube)
Still not convinced blogs are a good way to go?? Take this story that was told to me by Sheryl Connelly from Marketing Media Management. Well you see, there's this tiny company. Maybe you've heard of it?? It's only just Zappos.com. There was a woman that ordered shoes for her ill mother as a present. Before the shoes arrived, her mother passed away. Knowing there was no longer any need for the ordered shoes, she contacted Zappos and informed them of the situation. The representative she spoke with told her to leave the shoes on her front porch once they arrived and they would take care of the rest. When dealing with what she was, no one should have to worry about the hassle of returning products that had been ordered online. After speaking with the woman, the representative for Zappos told the UPS man to pick up a dozen roses for their customer and a sympathy card. Little did they know, the women was a blogger with a rather strong following. She told her story via her blog and the story went viral. What we have here, is essentially what I like to think of as "accelerated word of mouth".
While making yourself personable and transparent is massively important, there are other key elements that must be done as well to help generate traffic. Videos. I love videos (as you can most likely tell from my posts). Pictures and links to other websites and resources is another excellent option. In addition to having fun visuals, adding "tags" or "labels" to your posts make them more easily searchable and will help to bring in more traffic. When and if someone comments on a post, comment back!! Let them know you are aware they are there. Engage, engage, engage :)
To touch a little on microblogging and Twitter, it is important that when you post through this media outlet, you do not exceed 120 characters. Many of you probably already know this, but for those of you that don't, those left over 20 characters are for people to comment with when they retweet you. Let them have their voice.
Go forth and blog!! It's quite fun.