June 29, 2009
/ by Heidi Sullivan
Social bookmarking sites, lifestreaming, social networks and file sharing sites all consist of content created, shared and discussed by the masses. Clearly social media. But what about blogs? Some blogs are looking more and more like traditional media outlets and visa versa. So why are blogs considered social media?
Community. Successful blogs exist not only on their homepage, but across the social web as a part of a community. Before you argue, I realize that many traditional news sites also have great communities. I would say that those active sites are also social media – and probably have writers and editors who are engaged in those communities. Check out this post from Mack Collier at the Viral Garden. Mack says that successful blogs aren’t successful solely because of great content, but because their bloggers are actively involved in social media.
Mack writes that “being active in the blogosphere and on social sites IMPROVES the quality of the content you create on your blog! It gives you a better idea of what your readers are looking for, AND it exposes you to other viewpoints, which helps you solidify and strengthen your own thoughts. And as this is happening, you are also exposing your blog to other people, by interacting with them in their space.”
Regardless of semantics, the fact remains that blogs are inherently social. As PR people, whether we are creating the blog content or reaching out to bloggers on behalf of our clients, we need to remember that we are engaging as members of a community. You don’t go to a block party and only talk about yourself and your own needs (at least, I hope not). Remember to comment on other blogs, get to know bloggers that are relevent to your campaign and only share your own links and stories as a larger mix of compelling content.
If you have your own blog and aren’t receiving the number of visitors you had hoped for, it’s time to get out there and share. The same best practices that apply above for PR people apply to bloggers wanting to grow their audience. One-on-one interaction is a surefire way to gain fans: I recently read and commented on one of Valeria Maltoni’s Conversation Agent blog posts and was extremely impressed when she sent me an email to continue the conversation. While I’ve always enjoyed Conversation Agent, I’ve been visiting the blog more regularly these days – and I think a big reason why is because I feel I’m part of the community (and the conversation) happening there.
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