Future of blogging – from dialogue to collaboration
Businesses are starting to see that in order to make what they say and do relevant and valuable for the bottom line, they first need to listen to their prospects, customers and communities. It is not about what we want people to know any more, it’s about what people want us to know in order to serve them better.
This is also happening in ‘business blogging’ (bit of an awkward term) that often is still too much about speaking and spreading opinions instead of a genuine two-way dialogue where listening is the starting point.
Every year, it comes as a surprise to see how many businesses still do not blog.
Many brands and organisations are still afraid of humanising their interactions and communications. And thus we remain in a monologue situation, even if it’s being done on a blogging platform. This is reflective of the attitude we still tend to have of business communication as ‘we speak and you listen’ messaging. What blogging adds is the ‘and you may respond’ element. But is that really enough? Can’t we move beyond that simple model?
The interesting thing is that, with the increasing understanding that everything in the process of value creation starts with listening, businesses finally start understanding the value of blogs. They are ideal ways of involving and getting involved, engaging in more direct interactions and understanding what people want.
This can obviously also be done via social media monitoring but having an own interaction environment, which is what a blog in a way is, adds so much more value. When we add the community spirit, this value even becomes more important.
A community-driven and multi-channel experience
Blogs are still the hubs of a social media world that allow a business to offer value (content has become an asset instead of a commodity) and tap into the wisdom of communities, while identifying influencers and potential customers in those communities.
Organisations will understand that a good blog plays a key role in community marketing. They will understand that much larger communities exist around blogs than only the micro-communities that express themselves openly and are visible, yet are only the tip of the iceberg.
The vast majority of a blog community is invisible but that doesn’t make it less interesting. Recently I noticed a tweet by someone I had never heard of, saying that he waited for every tweet I sent. Since my tweets are often blog-related, this means that this person, for one or the other reason, used another platform (Twitter) to say in just a few words how good he thought the value of our blogs was. You have to listen across all relevant channels to hear this.
For businesses that are blogging, this is a challenge – integrating your blog with new ways of interaction and further identifying the members of your communities. The ultimate goal must be to identify need segments and serve the best content for the various types of readers and the channels they prefer.
Blogs are going to become a mainstream part of an integrated, community driven and multi-channel approach to gathering intelligence about our communities and, based upon that, providing value.
It’s not about the media, the channels and the formats. It’s about the holistic experience. It’s integrated.
The collaborative maturing of ideas through the blog ecosystem
Of course, the traditional benefits of blogging still apply. Blogs enable us to be found (eg. SEO), they show the human side of our companies, they enable human dialogue, and they are social media hubs.
On top of that, many people are now so used to reading and visiting blogs that it has become part of their digital lifestyle and even media consumption, thus making blogs an inevitable part of the content marketing mix.
But most of all, blogs are places to unleash ideas, have people’s feedback, start intelligent discussions and continue them all over the online space, involving people and communities.
Blogs are great to provide valuable content. They are great to gain valuable insights.
But they really become great when the ‘we’ and ‘them’ dissolve and grow into something new and collaborative. When ideas spread, get shared and are grown in a collaborative spirit.
Great thoughts can be shared on blogs. But they become so much greater when they mature across the blog’s ecosystem and grow into a community experience.