A Blog By any other name would smell as sweet
Why are You Writing Blogs and How to Tell if They Stink
Truth? Right now I'm writing this series of blogs for a grad class. So. Compulsory Blogging. But, I know why. And I know why I started it in the first place. The answer is simple, but achieving it is complex: Platform. Blogging is one of the best ways to get followers and followers=platform. Platform=sales of whatever you want to sell. In 2023 it's more than just products (books, albums, textiles...). In 2023 you can also just be selling yourself. Not in the streetwalker way, obviously. Well, there is that too, but I don't know that blogging is a preferred way to get a platform for that. But I digress. I am blogging because I have to, like I just said, but I also know it's the best way to get a platform.
People (a lot of people actually) have written entire books about blogging. By "books" I mean digital copy of course. In Blogging to Drive Business: Create and Maintain Valuable Customer Connections, Eric Butow says "Blogs represent a great opportunity for businesses to get their names out into cyberspace as experts in their line of work." Once you have an audience who can see that you're an expert in your line of work, they are likely to come to you for services or product.
But of course it seems sort of manipulative to say that outright. You want your blog to be a place people can go to get the help they need for a particular thing. Maybe people are looking for a place to read some (FREE!) expert advice about blogs.
Blogging for my stupid mental health
Did you know that "three decades of research has shown that written disclosure is linked to improvements in physical and mental health"? Yes, blogging specifically. Well, it doesn't have to be a blog, but the distinction is that it's not just writing in a diary for yourself. There's a benefit to the sharing/posting of one's thoughts. Psychologically, people receive a benefit from the social affirmation of their peers when they post their thoughts and others affirm in some way ("likes," "views," comments...). Also, and this seems like an obvious benefit, there's evidence that blogging reduces gaps in memory which can then reduce anxiety and depression. Wow!
Does my blog stink?
Take a look at your analytics. Are people reading your blog other than your mother and your cousin Susy? That's one thing to look for. But take heart. It's a process and it also depends on your goals. Are you just starting a blog for your own enjoyment? If yes, then you don't need to check analytics. If you are perfectly happy with mom and Susy keeping up with your blog, then you have achieved success. But if you want to get and keep traction on your site, Erin Kissane writes, "In publishing, if you don’t win, hold, and reward the attention of your readers—whether they’re fans of tabloid journalism or wistful MFA-program novels—you’re out of a job." You'll have a clue about whether or not you're hitting your goals by looking at your analytics.
In 2023, blogs are just a piece of a much larger puzzle. If you want to build an online platform, you'll find that you'll need a multi-pronged digital strategy using several resources. You don't need to use all of them, but you'll need more than a blog. Pick a couple of your favorite social media platforms and use them faithfully and well. While you're doing that, you'll want to learn a little something about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I'll leave it at that. Open a new tab and do some exploring. It's quite a web.
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