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Is Blogging Really on the Decline?

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An article on Mashable today discussed a study by Pew Internet that broke down the online activities by age groups, starting with as young as 18 and working up to 74+.

Many of the results were not surprising. Email was an almost uniform activity across every age group, as were searching and getting news online. Also, younger individuals were more likely to play games online, IM and use social networks while their slightly older cohorts were more likely to visit government sites and check financial information.

All in all, the younger the respondent, the more activities they likely did online, though it seemed almost no one was using virtual worlds.

However, one thing that did catch some off guard was the decline in blogging. Not only was blogging an unpopular activity across all age groups, less than 10% said they blogged and less than half said they read blogs (with younger respondents having the highest percentage), there was a marked decline from the previous year’s survey.

Many will undoubtedly look at this and see dark things in the future for blogging. However, the truth is likely much different and there are very simple reasons for the numbers and why they aren’t very important.

Define “Reading” Blogs

I find it hard to nail down what it means to read blogs. Virtually everyone on the Web reads blogs. The study itself showed that virtually all Web users perform searches and a good percentage of those searches lead, at some point, to a blog.

How many people routinely read a page or two on a site without realizing it might be considered a blog? How many people bookmark blogs, visit regularly, but don’t think of themselves a blog readers?

If you think of “blog reading” in terms of RSS, then you’d be right in thinking that there has been a sharp decline. But there are countless ways to read blogs. For example, if you use Paper.li to read blogs and other news sites, it certainly isn’t the same as traditional “blog reading”, especially since it is done through Twitter.

In short, people read blogs without realizing that they are doing so. After all, few blogs (other than this one) make the fact that they are a blog a major part of their identity.

Of course, that isn’t the only definition problem that the study faces when it comes to blogging, the bigger one likely has to do with blogging itself.

Define “Blogging”

The other problem with this, or any other attempt to find out how many people read blogs, is that the definition of what is and is not blogging is changing.

Nearly every site created has some blogging elements. Funadementally, a blog is just a series of posts being updated at somewhat regular intervals. That could describe just about anything from a news site, to a recipe collection or anything else that has a “stream” of content.

When most people think of a “blog” they think of something personal or at least a personal expression. But what about sites like TechCrunch that are news sites presented in a blog format?

In a strange paradox, the activities that could be considered blogging have expanded at the same time as the definition of what people think of as a blog has shrunk. Part of this is because of microblogging and social networking adding new kinds of personal publishing that sometimes overlap, but also because blogging, in some circles, became something of a negative term, a sign that a site shouldn’t be taken seriously.

In many areas, people have shied away from this particular “b-word” and you even see companies renaming their corporate blogs to something else, such as with GM and its “Updates” and “Conversations”.

In short, blogging as an activity likely isn’t going anywhere, but the term blogging may be falling on harder times.

Bottom Line

In the end, bloggers don’t have to worry about their activity going anywhere. Whether people recognize it as blogging or call it blogging may be an issue, but sites with frequent, original and high-quality content are not going to fall our of style any time soon.

While it’s true that social networking and microblogging are competing for reader attention, these are trends that can supplement and help blogging rather than simply being competition.

The bottom line though is that bloggers need to focus on how their sites are doing and what their growth is like rather than wondering what is happening to blogging at large. With a term so hard to nail down, it’s possible to write almost any headline you want and back it up.

Blogging isn’t dead and it isn’t dying, but the terms may be on life support. That, in a strange way, may say more about the success of blogging than its defeat.

After all, when we stop “blogging” because almost all sites have blogging elements, it means that the format powerful and compelling, not that the act of blogging is dying.

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Avoid this Blogging Wake Up Call to Enjoy the Journey

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Blogging need not be a lesson in harsh wake up calls. You can and will largely enjoy the journey by knowing this: success finds generous bloggers. Let that idea firmly impress onto your mind. Be with it. Allow the idea to worm its way into your consciousness until being generous becomes part of your being. Helping people for free boosts your skills and increases your exposure. Skilled bloggers with massive exposure become successful.

But one wake up call seems to find most bloggers who refuse to learn this lesson. Bloggers need to struggle, fail and suffer because they try to get money and traffic by focusing solely on receiving methods, versus giving generously of their time and talents. Imagine this scenario; a blogger writes and publishes one blog post weekly. Cool. But the blogger sits around and does nothing else blogging-wise for the remainder of the week. Hmmmm…this is not being generous, guys. This is being stingy. Bad move. At week’s end, the blogger did not make a penny of profits. Panicking, the blogger immediately analyzes their various income streams. How can they maximize profits through the streams? What is wrong with their income streams? Did they pick the right streams? Or did they pick the wrong streams? What gives?

Struggling bloggers then spend 2, 3 or 5 hours analyzing their income streams, focusing all of their attention and energy on the GETTING aspect of their blogging campaign. Terrible idea. Why? The reason why you struggle to get is because you refuse to give generously of your time, energy and talents. The income streams? Nope; not a problem. Your lack of generosity is the problem. The wake up call is most bloggers focus heavily on getting when struggling to drive traffic and profits when they should be focused heavily on giving generously. Giving generously leads to greater blogging profits. Instead of writing and publishing one blog post weekly, how about writing and publishing 2-3 posts weekly, weaving some stories into your blog posts?  How about you spend 4-8 hours daily generously reading blog posts, commenting genuinely on blog posts, promoting other bloggers and yes, promoting yourself, too?

Put in the giving time to make getting easier and easier. No need to slam into the cold, hard wake up call of focusing selfishly inward, trying to pin your struggles on inanimate, lifeless income streams. You have a giving problem, buddy. Time to be generous. Time to step it up. Write a guest post daily or perhaps, every 2-3 days. Go ahead. Do it. Begin video marketing. Build bonds with bloggers. Help them out. Practice writing. Gain invites to guest post on blogs from your niche. Blogging becomes more fun, more enjoyable and flat out easier if you put in the time, generously helping folks.

Focus heavily on giving. Your star will shine if you generously serve people. On the contrary, blogging and life become so much harder if you obsess over your income streams, analyzing, over analyzing, focusing, wasting precious time and energy on getting, when you should be giving more freely. Blogging feels more fun, too, when you focus heavily on giving, because we were designed to give, to be generous and to serve folks. Doesn’t it feel amazing to help people? Of course, it does. Enjoy the blogging journey and avoid this painful wake up call….plus….you get to sleep in, hehehe 😉

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The Importance of Digital Marketing Research for Brands in 2020

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One of the key aspects of launching successful marketing campaigns is to conduct market research beforehand. This is no different when marketing on the internet. Digital marketing research is crucial to successful digital marketing, and without it, one can quickly blow through their budget without seeing any type of ROI at all.

A perfect example of this can be seen in social media marketing, where billions of ad impressions are served hourly. The same is also true with paid media marketing and pay per click marketing within Google. There is simply way too much information and user views out there, and if you aren’t careful and are using paid advertising–you could blow through a large budget in a short period of time.

If you have been neglecting digital marketing research prior to launching your campaigns, read on to learn the importance of digital marketing research and why you need to get on the bandwagon!

Digital Marketing Research

Market research helps the marketer understand the market and the trends. The information received can be used to develop a sound marketing strategy. Having an understanding of your audience and how to communicate with them is key to growing your business.

But, how do you go about implementing digital marketing research?

Here’s how:

Eyes on the Audience

First, you must know who your audience is. Your business should have a niche target demographic to reach out to. Once you have established who this target audience is, you will have a better idea of how to communicate with them directly.

After you have identified your audience, you will need to get to know them better. You want to know their behavior patterns: how often they shop, what they shop for, what their preferred products are. Using a survey is a great option to ask your target audience questions to garner information about them.

And even better, if you do plan on collecting any type of data from your audience, you should definitely consider your options with remarketing afterward. By this, you can start running Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns that target only the audiences that you’ve selected (whether that be through pixel or email data).

Social Media Marketing and Other Digital Platforms

Once you have established your audience, you want to use social media and other digital platforms to market to them. Note: in your survey, it is best to ask them which platforms they prefer.

Essentially, you will be adopting a multi-channel marketing approach to reach your target audience. This means that you will be using different digital platforms to reach your audience, be it through content, social media, or messaging systems such as email, chat, or text messages.

Your market research will tell you which is the best platform to reach your demographic. For example, if your audience are teenagers and young adults – you may opt to use Snapchat and Instagram for marketing campaigns.

An older audience would prefer Facebook or even traditional platforms such as email for newsletters. And of course, if targeting professionals then LinkedIn is your platform of choice.

Who Can Help You and Who Can Challenge You

The importance of digital marketing research extends to knowing who can help grow your brand and who your competitors are.

A prominent aspect of digital marketing is the use of influencers. Use your marketing research to seek out these influencers and ask them if they can help promote your brand. For example, if you ran a company that sold protein powder, you would want to find fitness models who could endorse your products.

Similarly, use your marketing research to learn who your competition is. You can also look at their marketing campaigns to get an idea of what you are up against.

Get The Ball Rolling

Now that you have learned about digital marketing research, it is time to get the ball rolling. By following each of the recommended steps and methods above, there is no reason why you shouldn’t see improved numbers across the board. Digital marketing is changing all of the time, and so are the ways in which you can target and reach new audiences.

Research your target audience and ask them what their needs are. Determine your platforms of choice. Utilize influencers and keep a watchful eye on your competition.

Are you looking for more tips on how to use your blog for marketing purposes? If so, then browse around our blog for more of our latest content.

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Do You Honor the Law of Lag?

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The law of lag is always in effect. How it works; you generously, patiently and persistently help folks, trust in the process and yeah, make sure you promote yourself freely, too, OK? Be patient and persistent. Relax. A lag exists between you working generously, and, actually seeing traffic and profits increases. I refer to this as the law of lag. Lag times exist between you doing what works blogging-wise and seeing specific traffic and profits increases. Relax. Take a chill pill. Do not panic. Never believe that 0 traffic and 0 profits over the first few weeks of your successful blogging campaign indicates being generous, patient, persistent and trusting is NOT working, guys. Far and away, this is hands down the biggest mistake I see in blogging. Bloggers do not honor the law of lag. Bloggers panic and bail because they see minimal or no traffic and profits increases, during weeks or months, after they follow the successful blogging route.

See the journey through guys. Honor the law of lag. Know how it takes time and practice to become skilled enough and to yield enough exposure to actually boost your blog traffic. Boosting your blogging profits takes a bit longer, usually. Honor this lag time between work and results to become a highly successful, prospering blogger. Imagine being a doctor. During your first 3 months in pre-med, do you panic and bail because you have not made a cent through being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do you panic and bail during your 6th year of medical studies because you have not made a penny from being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do not panic and bail if you have not made a penny during your first 6 months of generously creating and connecting. Be patient. Good things take time. You need to become more clear and skilled in order to gain credibility in the eyes of readers. Plus you need to gain greater exposure by generously posting to your blog and by guest posting.

What happens when business slowly, steadily begins to grow?  Now it’s time to learn how to better serve your customers.  Nobody knows how to serve customers and clients fully until serving customers and clients in real world circumstances, gaining critical experience without a mentor or coach looking over your shoulder. I learned priceless lessons by boosting my traffic, by meeting more folks, by coaching clients and by interacting with customers. I had to put in the time and be patient during seeming lulls, or lags, to be a full time blogger. Being patient, persistent and generous made me the blogger I am today. You never grow until you go through testing periods where nothing appears to be happening but where everything is happening more quickly than you could ever see, in the background. All grows exponentially under the surface but only slowly and steadily bubbles up as profits and traffic stats. Envision the slow burn, bubbling up as a lag that cultivates your generosity, patience and persistent, and, your trust in self, as well as your trust in the blogging process.

I believe in you. See the journey through. Honor the law of blogging lag.

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