Guest Blog Post – Is Blogging Still Relevant?

Todd Lohenry, one of our amazing power users is also going to be contributing guest blog posts about blogging. Please enjoy his post.

From time to time, students ask me ‘is blogging relevant’? When I say that blogging is the foundation of thought leadership marketing, many of them are skeptical. After all, aren’t bloggers 40 year old white guys that live in their parents basement spewing political venom in their pajamas?

Far from it! While Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter are all valuable business tools, I believe you MUST own your primary ‘residence’ on the internet. Would you build your new home on rented land? Neither should you build your main internet presence on a Facebook page. Facebook can and will and does change the rules at any time. My advice? ‘Hold on loosely‘ to tools like Facebook and aggressively use blogging as a means of establishing your thought leadership position. Why?

  • You own your blog
  • It’s easy to update
  • It drives traffic
  • More than 140 characters to express yourself
  • There are no privacy concerns, to name a few…

For me WordPress is the only platform! Whether I’m using a free WordPress.com blog like toddlohenry.com for my personal blog or the hosted version here for my business site, WordPress gets the job done with style and elegance. There are two additional tools I use to enhance WordPress; ScribeFire and Zemanta. ScribeFire is an external blog editor that allows me to easily create and curate content and Zemanta adds punch to every post by helping me find relevant photos, related articles, inline text and tags for metadata and seo…

Articles with images graphThe search driven media company Skyword recently reported “On average, total views increased by 94% if a published article contained a relevant photograph or infographic when compared to articles without an image in the same category” [Source]…

The case for using images is an easy one to make. Problogger says…

“Your opening line need not be a textual one.

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ and used effectively at the opening of your blog posts a compelling image can be instrumental in drawing readers to read your posts.

I have been using images combined with words on almost every post in my photography site for some time now and have long noticed that when I open with an image it tends to draw more readers into a post and can lead to more comments. I’ve even had readers tell me that they only reason they read a post was as a result of seeing the image in their RSS reader.

The key is to find an image that is on topic, that is striking and that readers find compelling or intriguing.” Source: 11 Ways to Open a Post and Get Reader Engagement.

One of my favorite clients, Nilofer Merchant, lovingly selects a high quality image from a stock photography site for each post — perhaps that’s the reason why some of her posts get upwards of 2,000 views?! While that’s part of it, I’m sure it has more to do with her beautiful brain and the way she lovingly expresses her point of view [that and the fact she writes for the Harvard Business Review]. Me? I have a ‘churn and burn’ blogging style and I find it much easier and more cost effective to simply allow Zemanta to semantically scan my text and recommend complementary images that are free and safe for me to use. Here’s a short video on how I used it to make this post pop

Zemanta also helps me find related articles from sites I trust. When I add a related article link from one of my fellow bloggers or a site I trust, I’m thanking them for their work by providing a valuable reference link back to their site which only helps them establish more credibility with Google in the long run. Zemanta also suggests in-text links for my text which allow me to provide backlinks while offering clarification for my readers.

Finally, Zemanta suggests metadata tags that help my post be found in Google. Tagging is one of the most important, but most overlooked aspects of blogging for seo purposes. Zemanta makes it easy for me to remember to tag every post with relevant metadata.

Not only is blogging still relevant, but in my book it remains the most important platform for thought leadership marketing and using tools like WordPress, ScribeFire and Zemanta will make it as fun as Facebook!

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