Last month I participated in the #vDM30in30 challenge, in which a group of bloggers were invited to write a blog post every day for the month o of November. I joined late, and wasn’t able to keep up at the end of the month, but it was a great experience. Go check out the blog posts from everyone here.
I’m finally getting around to writing about what I learned from this project, even though I’ve been thinking about it since November. Blogging is a form of reflection, after all. 😉 Here’s what I discovered:
I really love to blog
I started blogging in the summer of 2003. I used to be one of those people who would send emails full of links to important (or hilarious) information. When I found out that a blog post would allow people to consume the info in a way that fit their needs (RSS, email, discovery, sharing, etc), that was it for me! All the email lists went into a blog post! Next I learned that blogging would allow me to work through my ideas on certain topics. Blogging helped me tie the ivory tower learning concepts I was studying in my master’s program to real-world performance and instructional experience. It helped me temper gut feelings I had about new concepts with a dose of reality from folks who were experienced in the field.
Not to mention – blogging helped me realize there were other education rebels out there — and find them.
I also love to write. I’m planning to make time to get back to blogging more regularly. More on that later in the post.
Marketing ate the blogosphere
I say this as a blogger and a marketer. #vDM30in30 exposed me to lots of tech bloggers I had never read before. They reminded me why I thought it would be ok to go into marketing — tech marketing (especially B2B) needs a healthy dose of reality. The bloggers who are taking the time to write down how they use software and hardware products we market, especially when they discuss how to make the products work together and what they do after upgrades, perform a really valuable service.
I think a few things happened.
- Bloggers got treated like rockstars. Parties, trips, acolades. That all costs money, and as long as the money is flowing it will keep happening. But in some cases, it turned talented techies into experts who don’t have time for the little people in the community – either because the exposure to their talent led to more demanding jobs or because they started to believe the marketing hype.
- Marketers ignored highly valuable bloggers that didn’t fit an algorithm generated profile. Bloggers who didn’t have the “right” reach to get noticed by whatever tool marketers used were ignored, or worse. Klout became the end-all-be-all, and didn’t reflect the technical depth that is needed by B2B enterprise bloggers. Every blogger I’ve developed or approached to work with me has been a techie through and through. Some of you did not show up on tools, and it was a fight to get you noticed. But y’all know me – I’m always up for a good fight. 🙂
- Marketers depend on web analytics-type tools to report ROI. Marketers have to measure what they spend and report back on how it impacts the bottom line, and in most cases for marketers that is reporting on how a program drives leads.
And the rub is that social media, especially for B2B marketing, gets very tricky here. Yes, you can use the “correct” keywords, you can buy google ads, you can pump all that into a big social monitoring suite; and you’ll probably get a nice little chart of what works and what doesn’t. Right?
Maybe….. We’re starting to find out that most of the metrics you get back are fake — see what AdWeek said about fraudulent video views and this Information Week story about fake Facebook likes.
Marketers: you are measuring the wrong things, because you have to prove that you’re getting results for that money you are spending. You’re trying to stay with the times and get into social media, content marketing, whatever you want to call it. But you are totally missing the incredible resource that is the group of customers and users who are blogging about your products and key technologies. The tools won’t help you find them, vet them, nurture them, and in general build community.
Facebook and LinkedIn are the cotton candy of social interactions
This is the biggest thing I learned about myself, and one of the things I”d like to change going forward. I post things on Facebook that I would have blogged about years ago, because Facebook is faster and easier. But I definitely put less thought into what I say about the things I post on Facebook. It’s a quick fix, like cotton candy at the fair. You gotta have it, the sugary goodness just calls your name, but then halfway through your tummy hurts and you wonder why you fell for it again, and why you didn’t just get the lemonade.
We’ve lost our bloggers to Facebook, to LinkedIn. I miss the blogosphere. I want it back. So here’s what I propose:
Lets go back to blogging.
I’ve started reading the blog posts in my RSS reader. Do yáll even have an RSS reader anymore? That used to be my Sunday routine: coffee, snuggled on the couch, reading my blog posts from the week. Catching up on the industry , checking out new projects people were working on, sharing and discussing it all either on Twitter on with a new blog post of my own.
So this week, I’m going to write a post on how to capture RSS feeds so you can read them at the time you chose. Then I’m going to start introducing you to the bloggers I read, and why you should read them as well.
It would be so cool if yáll would do the same — who are you reading?
Why I think this is important
In our industry, we are the folks responsible for storing, managing, archiving, and delivering the world’s information. We are a guild. It is important we help each other by sharing information, sharing the history of our industry.
When I think back, this is why we all started blogging in the first place – to get around PR and marketing restrictions on sharing information with our customers. The flat out restrictions may be gone, but the pace of our worlds has certainly increased. What impact could we have on each other if we shared and supported each other like we used to…with our blogs?
Who’s with me?
Edited for clarity and typos 12/23