Friday, June 30, 2006

organic blog growth vs. blog promotion strategy


MaryBeth typed a question to me in a comment, under my post "no web usability problem is irrevelant".

She recently started a new blog, Thrift Barter Buy. She asked me how do to promote a blog so as to get readers.

To help, let me first say, it depends on type of blog, intended audience, and financial or other reward expected, i.e., the objective of blogging.

I have my own system and ideology on Blog Promotion, but I thought I'd check to see what the current blogospheric/web buzz might be on this topic. Perhaps I'd stumble on something I have not thought of, some strategy or policy, some trick or ritual, that might benefit all of us bloggers.

So I went ahead and Googled the phrase "how promote blog". The results were pathetic. Mostly questionable, dubious blogs that I've never heard of, plus some articles, like at The Blog Herald, on monetizing a blog via paid ads. Not much good advice on promoting a new blog.

(This is why I have Swicki custom search engine on my site, see it by scrolling down, in my sidebar to the right. I need to work a lot more on it, but soon it will be a very authoritative search tool for blog topics. Already, it's better than Google for blog topics. Don't get me wrong, I love Google and the free things they have given me, like Blogger and Gmail.)

First we must establish: is blog promotion a reality, is there a guaranteed way to make a blog known, to drive traffic to it? Or is blog promotion a myth, and it all depends on being the first in a category?

Is blog promotion a myth?

Those who follow the Organic Blog Growth Theory say "Yes".

I first saw this explicitly stated in The Blog Herald, in a comment. The comment poster questioned "blog promotion" as contradictory. He implied that many bloggers think that efforts to "push" a blog at hoped-for audiences is unnatural. Blog promotions and advertising are alien to the true nature of the blog, so they assert.

According to the Organic Blog Growth Theory, a blog has an internal law, an intrinsic value and authenticity, that governs its ultimate popularity and success. This means, just keep working on your blog, improving, perfecting, adding functions, posting frequently, and with this better mouse trap, the hordes will somehow "sense" the superiority of your writing, and will swarm obediently toward your blog.

As metaphysical as I am, I still don't get it. I think a blog can sit in isolation and never receive a single comment or reader, aside from the random web surfer. Sitting around, dreaming of readers, and waiting for them to drop by...this is delusional. Might as well set up a lemonade stand in the middle of the woods.

If Jesus or Buddha came today, they'd have a blog. But they'd still have to do something to get their blogs known. In the walking and lecturing days of Socrates all the way to the invention of the Gutenberg printing press, word of mouth was enough, coupled with tremendous memorization powers of the people.

Today, our memories are shit. We have rotten attention spans, and unreliable, mis-managed memory skills.

Let's use our imaginations. Pretend with me that famous people from the past arrived here, and let's imagine them starting blogs, which I feel they would do.

So how would Jesus, Socrates, Freud, John Lennon, Marx, Galileo, Hegel, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Buddha, or Elvis get readers for their blogs? How would any of these dudes get anybody interested in their blogs?

Let's say they start blogs. Maybe some would not, but let's say they did. Would Jesus or Marx or Elvis Presley have an interesting blog? Would it be popular? How popular are their works today?

So, again, assuming they would not be obscure outcasts, how would such popularity superstars write, design, functionalize, and promote their blog?

If you can answer this question, you'll know what you need to do to drive traffic to your blog, and build a stable, though fluctuating, online community of people focused on a technical topic, political ideology, special hobby, unique personality, professional expertise, music tastes, or a product line of a corporation. Or whatever. A blog can be, like a book, about anything.

"I'm no Jesus or Jefferson," you say. "I ain't no Freud or Buddha!" you exclaim.

I never said you were. But I think even they would have to have a methodology for attracting readers to their blogs. How would they do it?

A clue: how did they generate attention when they were alive? How did they get people interested in their books, or the books that would one day be written about them and their sayings?

I leave you to ponder. My brighter students will immediately know what I'm driving at.

What say you? Post a comment and let me know what you think.

1 comment:

carrie said...

ive heard of doing a search for the most popular keywords and use those words in your post.

also, you could make stickers or flyers with your blog address on it and hand them out/stick them places/put them on bulletin boards.

additionally, add your blog to a traffic exchange...

go to other similar type blogs and leave comments... leave your blog address at a message board for people with interests related to your blog....

um......

leave comments on high traffic blogs?

get people with similar, but higher traffic blogs to add you as a link or something

put your link everywhere