Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Next I'll show you my vinyl collection

Blogging seems positively quaint in the age of Twitter and Facebook, but Mike Sansone says that blogging should be the foundation of your social media outreach, and he makes a powerful argument:

I'm all for Twitter and Facebook... and Slideshare and Flickr and Foursquare too. They are fruits of the Social Media tree, extra rooms in our Social Media storehouse. We can really branch out and connect from those places. We can throw rice against a wall and see what sticks. Brainstorm. Even improve our findability.

But the foundation of what we do and think, what we believe, and the most important inventory we have online is that space we call "blog" and the content or conversations that live and endure there (link).

Now, he's overstating the case. Blogs are not indispensible, but for most organizations, a powerful web site is, and the point is still the same: Facebook and Twitter are great for sharing content, but not so great for creating content. I manage a blog for my employer, and it wouldn't get any traffic at all were it not for Twitter and Facebook. But neither of those outlets would let us tell some of the great stories we've produced on the blog. As for this blog, I get more comments on Facebook when I link to a post than I actually get on the blog, but that's fine. If my Facebook friends see that what I've posted is interesting enough for others to discuss, they will be more likely to click on the link.

If blogging is retro, then print is positively paleolithic, yet Joe Pulizzi thinks it's about to mount a comeback. I think he may be on to something. One of his most interesting points is that as fewer organizations rely on printed magazines and newsletters, those that remain are more likely to stand out and grab your attention. Print also is a way to reach people who aren't yet engaged to the point that they are friending you on Facebook, following your Twitter feed, or even opening your email newsletter. It's a way of waving your hands in front of their face to get their attention -- assuming you've created a good product. It's a conversation starter.

And let's not underestimate the visceral appeal of holding a magazine, book or newspaper in your hand. You don't have to be a Luddite to appreciate it. I'm an iPhone junkie, but on Saturdays, I refuse to use my Wall Street Journal app for fear of ruining the experience of reading the weekend edition when it arrives in the mail. Many colleges and universities have weighed the pros and cons of ditching their print alumni magazines in favor of all digital, and some that do end up regreting it. Maybe it's just tradition they are holding onto, but if it's done well, with detailed storytelling and fetching artwork, a magazine has few rivals when it comes to getting your message across.

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