When I first mentioned the word “blog” to my wife back in 2005, she swore I’d made it up. It wasn’t until she started hearing it in mainstream media that she conceded blogs were real. (To this day, she still harbors suspicions that the whole thing might be some massive conspiracy I cooked up to fool her. Shhh, just play along… 😉 )

Much like social media optimization, it can be difficult to convey the value of blogging to the uninformed. I’ve had to convince a few technophobes clinging to old media traditional media enthusiasts in my career, and I’ve found the following points useful for getting them up-to-date.

A blog is a publishing platform. Much like a newspaper or magazine, a blog is a form of composition that is written, distributed, and consumed. The only real difference is the electronic medium, which drastically reduces the production overhead and allows even independent publishers to achieve a global reach.

Not all blogs are personal. One of the first objections you often hear is how blogs are nothing more than personal drivel masquerading as valuable content. This is certainly true of some blogs, but it couldn’t be further from the truth with others. Many blogs are written by well-respected experts on useful niche topics (e.g., Ward on the Web). In fact, the most popular blogs now have more readership and authority than many traditional print publications.

A blog is a conversational tool. Interactivity is what distinguishes new media from traditional media. By default, blog posts allow readers to comment and discuss the topic at hand. This can be useful for developing rapport with customers, colleagues, clients, or whomever else might be reading your blog.

Blogs are great for SEO. Done correctly, a blog adds relevant content, expands a site’s long-tail keyword profile, generates inbound links, and demonstrates that a site is regularly updated, all of which help to improve its overall search engine rankings.

Blogging isn’t as easy as it seems. While anyone can start a blog, few people have the creativity, diligence, and savvy needed to make a blog truly successful. If you don’t have what it takes (and if you’re not sure, assume you don’t), take the time to educate yourself and do it right from the start.

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