When the word “blog” first appeared on internet platforms, many people didn’t know what to think. What is it? What is it for? Why would anyone keep one? Years later, this term, which is a shortened version of “weblog,” is common vernacular for anyone even vaguely familiar with web content.
A likely reason for this familiarity is the rising popularity of blogging. According to research from eMarketer, the year 2011 sees 53.5 percent of internet users, or 122.6 million people, reading blogs on a regular basis. This is a large increase from 2008, when only 45 percent of web surfers were focusing on blogs.
Based on the trends of the last four years, eMarketer predicts that this percentage will only continue to rise. An estimated 60 percent of internet users will be reading blogs by 2014, suggesting their growing importance in the world of web communications.
This news comes as quite a shock to marketers, who tend to put only minimal focus into running a public blog. They may be right to do so, as these eMarketer statistics are slightly misleading. The estimates are based on blogs by “bloggers,” after all, and not those created by media companies or marketers.
Does that mean that these statistics should be ignored, however? We certainly don’t think so. These numbers prove that people are ready and waiting for blogs, blogs, and more blogs. All you need to do is make sure that your marketing blog is as interesting as personally-run blogs.
This can be a difficult task, however, as most personal blogs don’t adhere to any subject or theme. Focusing on a certain business or industry can limit your blogging options, but there are still a few steps you can take to help make your blog resemble those of regular bloggers.
1. Be casual and open. Don’t write your blog as though it is a collection of press releases, because that will bore people. Write as though you’re speaking to a friend.
2. Create a voice with personality. Your blogs should have character so that readers will get attached to the writer, as well as the written material. This will keep them coming back even if there’s a post here or there that doesn’t interest them.
3. Don’t be afraid to be controversial. You don’t want to piss all of your customers off, of course, but it’s okay to ask daring questions to encourage engagement and interaction.
4. Be diverse and creative! Try to incorporate images, videos, music, and anything else you can think of in your blog posts to keep people interested.
5. Don’t be afraid to go slightly off topic. Every once in a while it’s okay to give your readers something different, as long as you remember what the main goal of your blog is.
Do you have any advice for brand new bloggers?