Today, I spoke to Susan Gunelius, who is the President & CEO of Keysplash Creative, the author of Blogging All-in-One For Dummies, and a columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. This is a follow-up interview to the one I had with Susan at the end of 2009. In this interview, Susan talks about the current state of blogging, how to stand out in an ocean of blogs, offers some advanced blogging strategies, and talks about mistakes bloggers make.
Should everyone in the world have a blog? Why or why not?
No, I don’t think everyone in the world should have a blog. Everyone is different and blogging is not for everyone for many reasons. For example, I can’t imagine my father blogging. He can’t even look at a computer without getting a headache. Seriously though, blogging is an amazing communications tool that gives individuals, organizations and businesses a way to publish their own content in order to meet their own goals.
Since blogging is basically free of barriers to entry and puts just about everyone on a level playing field, the world of communications has transformed — just as it did when telephones and televisions debuted. Blogging is a form of communication and publishing that makes the world smaller than ever, but just as not everyone likes to use email, not everyone will find blogging to be rewarding.
Are blogs still relevant or are they losing their luster?
When microblogging and Twitter debuted, the debate began that blogging might be usurped by shorter, faster communications tools, but I don’t think that will happen. As long as people create amazing content on their blogs and add value to the online conversation, there will be a place for them on the social Web.
How do you stand out amongst the 200 million blogs out there?
The easy answer to that question is to find your unique niche where you can add value and something extra that isn’t already offered across the Web. The longer answer is that you need to create amazing content, be available and an active participant in the conversation happening across the social Web, and let your personality shine through. Anyone can write a blog, but what makes your blog special? Making your blog stand out from the clutter works basically the same way that companies build brands. It takes time, patience, and persistence.
What are some advanced blogging strategies?
The strategies that bloggers pursue truly depend on their goals for their blogs. A strategy that works for one blogger might not be useful to another blogger in terms of meeting his goals at all. I’d be remiss to suggest a handful of advanced blogging strategies when it’s quite possible that those strategies wouldn’t help every blogger meet his goals. However, I will make this blanket statement — blogging success is a long-term strategy unto itself. While there are get rich quick and build traffic quick schemes that bloggers can pursue to grow their blogs, the best course of action is to commit to building your blog over the long-term by focusing on sustainable growth that leads to loyalty, word-of-mouth marketing, and ultimately, organic growth.
What mistakes have people made when trying to build their own blogs?
I think the biggest mistake is assuming that by publishing a blog, an audience will come. Unlike “Field of Dreams”, the blogosphere does not work off the premise that “if you build it, they will come.” The key to success is publishing amazing content that people actually want to read, talk about, and share. I call it “shareworthy” content. Some people start a blog and simply republish content from other sites or poorly written original content. Neither tactic will work in the long run. Without a fundamental focus on creating shareworthy content, a blog is unlikely to deliver big results.
Susan Gunelius is the President & CEO of Keysplash Creative. She is also the author of Blogging All-in-One For Dummies, and many other popular books. With nearly 20-years of marketing, branding and copywriting experience, Susan is a seasoned corporate professional having spent more than a decade developing and executing marketing programs for global and national organizations, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Susan’s corporate roles provided her with a solid background in various forms of writing. Susan is also a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com where she writes about copywriting and marketing communications, Forbes Women Network, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on a variety of business media websites, including MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, FoxBusiness.com, WashingtonPost.com, and more.