Why Outspoken Blogs & You Maybe Should

by on 09/18/2009 • 12 Comments | Blogging

bloggingBlogging has become a favorite marketing strategy for many over the past few years. It’s given companies a voice, it breeds authority and before Twitter came, it even delivered a whole lot of links. No one can deny that the social media boom and birth of Twitter have changed the way people blog. But has it decreased its value? Is blogging still “worth it?”

Brian Carter wrote a post earlier this week giving four reasons why SEO blogging sucks and why you shouldn’t do it. And the post is filled with the exact same anti- blogging arguments I’ve heard time and time again. I’m certainly not going to hate on Brian’s post because he’s not alone in his opinion. However, I did want to share some of the reasons for why I think there’s still value in blogging and why we decided to create a blog when we started Outspoken Media.

Here are my thoughts. Feel free to tell me I’m worthless in the comments. That’s what the blog haters say this is all about anyway.

Not Everyone Can Be A Client

As a small business, we like helping other small businesses. It feels like there’s good karma in that. However, SMBs usually come without budgets and taking them all on pro-bono would bankrupt us pretty quickly. To still give back, we do our best to offer free information via resource posts. Posts like how nonprofits can use social media, how to launch your SMB Web site and what to look for in an SEO audit are all aimed at helping small business owners learn the basics, whether they’re looking to hire someone or just starting a DIY plan. Creating resources like the Online Reputation Management Guide have also helped us point people in the right direction when they come to us with an issue that we feel they can best (and more cost-efficiently) handle on their own. Being able to answer questions by pointing people to information they can digest at their own pace helps everyone.

We Get To Start Good Conversations

Brian takes a shot at SEO blogging saying it’s all “theory” and not a lot of substance, but I think that’s doing it a bit of an injustice. A lot of that “theory” sparks conversation that allow SEOs to talk through whatever troubles they’re having, issues they’re seeing, and potential new ways of doing things. Yeah, they need to take the information they’re getting and actually act on it and test things, but the discussion is often a lightening rod to get people thinking in new ways. Sometimes it’s not even what the blogger actually says, but what one off-the-cuff remark sparks off in your brain or the followup email someone will send you privately later. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone reach out privately when I brought up an issue in public. People like helping.

It’s a Differentiator

It’s not all altruistic, of course. Blogging has helps us to stand out in a very crowded niche and let people know that we’re alive. If there was no blog, nothing setting us apart and helping us to get our message out there, we’d be just another wallflower SEO company. One of hundreds on Twitter. Instead, we’ve used the blog to share information, connect with people, attract more clients attract better clients, get some links, and to just have a little fun. There is no way the company would be as well branded today had it not been for the blog and the conversations we’ve been able to start here. As Chief Branding Officer, the fact that you know who we are makes me happy. And keeps Rae off my back.

Someone Has To Be The Bitch

No? Well someone has to say it. There’s a whole lot of sucking up, genuflecting and ass kissing that goes on in our little incestuous bubble. I do my absolute best to avoid it and to veer on the side of being useful. As a result, when people compliment Outspoken they often use terms like brutally honest. Or genuine. There are worse things to associate with your company.

Connections

Without the blog, would you know me as well as you do? Would you feel like you know Outspoken as well? Would you feel comfortable reaching out to me and asking for help? Would any of us know one another?

The answer is probably not. Which is why this “blog thing” is so damn powerful.

I don’t think blogging is for everyone, whether the topic is SEO, your children or your travels. However, there are benefits there. Before you write it off, check it out. Determine what your goals are for your company and whether or not a blog can help you accomplish them. It’s easy to say “blogging sucks”. Especially if you’re not very good at it.

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About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.

Get social with Lisa at Twitter

12 thoughts on “Why Outspoken Blogs & You Maybe Should

  1. Yes, but would you know me if there was no Bruce Clay or Outspoken blog? Probably not. And if I wasn’t blogging them, I wouldn’t be at conferences. So…chicken or egg, my friend. Chicken or the egg. :)

  2. Ok… your’e worthless. :P

    On a more serious note. I agree with alot of what you say here. Lisa barone? never heard or until this blog… sugarea…yes, I known of Rae for years .. but you know who I come to read here?

    Yep, Lisa :) Blogging sucks! Who’dathunkit?

    I think one of the key sentences you made was…

    “There’s a whole lot of sucking up, genuflecting and ass kissing that goes on in our little incestuous bubble”

    I agree with that, even ranted about it myself a few times.. ironic I had a rant of sorts earlier, but regardless, this is so true and what a smallish bubble it is.

    Regarding SEO I am no expert by a loooong shot, but it’s in itself a long term thing with added constant short term gains, but it should never be the main thing, writing for people is the important bit, seo is just a part to incorporate into it.
    It’s neither good nor bad…unless you are a spamming idiot, which makes the SEO irrelevant! Just means yer a spammer! ;)

    Blogging itself is never going to be for everyone, never was, never will be, the biggest challenge for any company, business is going to be getting the right person to write the blog for them. Screw that up and it won’t matter how much SEO they use lol.

    Just another worthless comment from me. :D

    Rob

  3. Blogging is a great liberator for small businesses because it’s a easy way to get our message out. For example, your blog has a great following because you write from the heart about relevant topics in the Internet marketing industry (insert my jealousy!)

    The challenge is keeping the blog lively and updated. Did Kenny, Rob, you, me, and the comments to follow create a dialogue that’s worth reading a year from now? What happens if you write a new post every week for a year then stop for a week? Other than personal edification, is your blog valuable to the reader?

    Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

  4. Actually Lisa, and I’m afraid of what might happen if I say this in public… I have never read a single post on the Bruce Clay blog.. *GASP* I know.. And I was following you on twitter before I ever read a single Outspoken post because of the street cred you carried ;)

  5. Rob: I appreciate the long worthless comment. :) I think you hit the nail on the head in that the blog has really helped people get to know “us”. It’s not all about SEO. It’s actually very little about technical SEO stuff since I don’t do that for Outspoken. It’s more about us and our quirks and what we believe as a company. If you’re a prospective client, reading the blog gives you a pretty good idea of who we are and what working with us is going to be like. And that’s pretty valuable.

    Levi: We’ll have to see in a year. I think it depends on the post. I think posts that cover “the basics” and the comments that surround them will always be valuable. As far as we’ve come, there are always people just starting out and people looking to see what’s been done before. I do think there are value in posts a year, two year after they’ve been written.

    Kenny: YOU’VE NEVER READ THE BRUCE CLAY BLOG? z0mg! And, Bitch, please. Let’s not pretend I have street cred. :P

  6. Lisa, this is such a great post. It’s absolutely a differentiator for you guys:

    - Outspoken has a strong voice (appropriate, given your company name :D) in the community
    - Outspoken shares its knowledge
    - Outspoken knows its sh*t
    - Outspoken posts rank well in SERPs, bringing in long-tail readers (and prospective clients) directly

    All four of those not only help you win future clients, but get referrals from other members of the community, AND create a positive brand. Not everyone needs to have the same voice or same strategy as you guys but all four of those have been successful building blocks for Rand, Aaron, and other top-flight online marketing companies.

    It still may not translate to non-web businesses yet but as more and more clients in ALL industries get online, regardless of your industry and ESPECIALLY if you’re a small business without a lot of advertising budget, blogging is going to be key to business development.

  7. Hi, I have been reading your blog over the past few months and enjoy the writing that you do and the perspective you provide on many topics. I agree with you that blogging is still “worth it” as a social media tool as it provides a great forum to share in detail your thoughts, ideas and viewpoints.

    Comparing blogging to micro-blogging or to using social networks or to wikis, etc… is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Yes apples and oranges are both fruits but they are very different. Same with comparing blogging to twitter, or facebook or linkedin, etc… yes they are all fall under “Social Media” tools but they all provide different means of communicating with each other. For example with a Tweet I can not say all I want to say in 140 characters, or on LinkedIn I have all my professional information listed, but it is a relatively static website. Blogging gives people the chance to talk about the things important to them and to connect with a group of readers who are interested in that topic – I treat my blog(s) as my home base in the social networking space.

  8. Love ya Lisa but I’m not against blogging ;-)

    I was just pointing out why SEO is uniquely difficult to blog about in a helpful way, beyond a certain basic level of SEO competence.

    Blogging rocks, and you are one of the best bloggers evah.

  9. Way back when blogging was still online journaling, and those of us who thought it was neat did it for fun…. Way back when it WAS just for fun, and wasn’t some sort of status symbol or business model – those of us who DID got a lot of flack from those who did not. They thought it was dorky, unnecessary, and a bad idea to document your own folly, because anything is searchable with the right keywords.

    Nothing has changed. The people who blog have, in some cases, and what it’s getting used for is far broader an application than was perhaps originallyintended, but that’s natural progression. People who say blogging is pointless would have, had they happened upon it for the first time sixty years ago, said the same thing about television. The nay-sayers aren’t foolish, they’re just not as quick on the uptake as we early adopters.

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