Potential customers for products and services are increasingly seeking high-quality educational content that will help in making well-informed purchase decisions. To find this content, buyers are primarily relying on social media and search engines. Meanwhile, a high percentage of blogs are not showing up in search engine results and social media recommendations. Among the reasons for the dwindling popularity of blogs are two key factors — too many links and over-promotional content.
While a few blogs still provide stellar examples of excellence, that is proving to be the exception rather than the rule. Here are five major problems that have emerged in the blog universe during the past 15 years:
- Blog Networks — For example, BuildMyRank (BMR) went out of business when it was discovered by a leading search engine that BMR was creating hundreds of blogs simply to provide paid links to subscribers of their service.
- Links and More Links — While one or two links can be appropriate in a typical blog post, adding excessive links (5-10 is not unusual) becomes distracting (and annoying) to readers.
- Brief Content with Few Details — If a blog post contains only 50 to 250 words (as many blog posts do), the content is likely to fall short of what is required to fully educate a prospective buyer about a service or product.
- Content Spinning — In a rush to publish frequent blog posts, an ill-advised decision to spin content (by using algorithms that create many articles from one original) results in duplicate content rather than high-quality original content.
- Blogs Designed for Search Engines Instead of Readers — Too many blogs are primarily produced to enhance search engine optimization factors rather than communicate with a real audience.
A common outcome due to the multiple blog problems described above is that the impacted blogs (and perhaps blogs in general) lose readers as well as traffic generated by search engines. As I observed in a comprehensive 2017 overview of the problem, “Both business clients and search engines have devalued the use of published content that is not original, accurate and informative.” Nevertheless, many businesses continue to feature a blog as a primary tool for communicating with website visitors.
One Solution: Think Outside of the Blog
Perhaps it is time to think of the blog as a vintage relic that no longer deserves to be featured and promoted — much like 8-track audio tapes and videocassette recorders eventually reached a point of decreasing functionality compared to better alternatives. Today’s customers want to be in charge of the buying process and do not want a marketer-centric sales process like cold calling, advertising and promotional blogs. What is emerging as a viable solution is a customer-centric and inbound marketing sales process that emphasizes Thinking Outside of the Blog with educational and non-promotional content — examples include extended articles, case studies and white papers.
Common Themes in Thinking Outside of the Blog
The Bottom Line:
I consistently see several common themes in a successful transition to Thinking Outside of the Blog. Here are two of them:
- Providing high-quality educational content for consumers
- Replacing marketer-centric sales processes with customer-centric sales processes
The next step:
If you would like to talk before starting a business writing, consulting or career training project with Steve Bush, you can arrange a no-cost preliminary call (15-30 minutes) here:
Schedule a Call with Steve Bush