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Are Blogs and Social Media Dead?

Last week I heard an interview that Jay Baer did with David Meerman Scott, author of ‘The New Rules of Marketing and PR’. The part that really caught my attention was David’s discussion about the terminology we use in the online space – specifically, words like “blogging” and “social media.”

“Blogging” is a Dirty Word

As a business owner, what comes to mind when someone suggests that you start a company blog? If you’re like many of us in the green industry, your first reaction is “Are you kidding me?! Why would I waste all of that time writing useless stuff that no one reads?”

The problem here is that many of us have a preconceived idea of what a blog is – and it’s not a flattering view. The words “self-indulgent,” “boring,” “badly-written,” and “poorly-researched” come to mind. And if that’s truly what all blogs are, then you’re right – there’s no point having a company blog.

“…we have some semantic problems [with] the term “blogging.” It just feels frivolous.” David Meerman Scott

But the truth is that a good blog is something altogether different. It gives you the opportunity to provide readers with valuable content in real-time. It’s up-to-date, interesting, and useful to your customers. It’s an invaluable marketing tool that brings new traffic to your website and to your business. And, done correctly, it’s more efficient and effective than other forms of marketing.

What if I talked about “real-time content creation” instead? That’s a term David Meerman Scott uses to describe what a blog really is. It’s different, it makes you think, and it brings to mind something entirely different from the term “blog.” It brings home the key point that what you’re doing is creating and disseminating content in real time (meaning that it’s relevant and timely). Wouldn’t that be good for your business?

Say Goodbye to “Social Media”

What the heck does “social media” even mean? You hear it everywhere, yet it doesn’t really tell you much. Is it streaming video on YouTube? Blogs? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Plurk, FourSquare, … the list goes on. Just about anything you do online can be called “social media.” And that’s the problem. Many business owners get annoyed just hearing the term, and I don’t blame them.

So what is “social media” really all about? At its core, it’s about “communicating in real-time to your marketplace” (to borrow another of David Meerman Scott’s terms). It doesn’t matter which tool(s) you choose to use. What’s important is that you communicate (and keep in mind that communication is a two-way street – this isn’t just about talking at your audience).

No one cares what you had for breakfast, which coffee shop you stopped at on the way to work, or how you feel about your mother-in-law (well, she may care about that one). What they care about is whether you can tell them something new, interesting, useful, and timely. And social media tools are the perfect way to do just that. With very little time, effort, or investment, you can reach a wider range of existing and potential customers than you can with just about any other marketing tool.

So, how ‘bout we start talking about what we’re really doing – using real-time communication tools and creating content in real time, rather than doing social media and writing blogs?

2 Comments

  1. Jay Baer on September 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Great job on this Monica, and thanks for the kind words and link. You’re exactly right. I really hadn’t thought about it that much until David mentioned it, but we’re doing ourselves no favors by falling into a buzzword trap of our own construction. We need to fix it! This post is a good start along those lines.

    • Monica Hemingway on September 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks so much Jay. Overuse of jargon has always been one of my pet peeves so your interview with David really hit home for me. As an industrial psychologist, I often hear colleagues talking about “conducting a validity study” or “determining critical KSOAs”, when all they’re really trying to do is “make sure our tools work” and “figure out what it takes to be successful in this job”. It’s no wonder clients often end up staring at us like a deer caught int the headlights!

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