Sorry, web marketing gurus but blogging purely for numbers is missing the point.

March 14, 2013


Is Blogging Dead? was the title of the presentation directly before mine at SXSW. Asking and answering the question was a spritely woman from an aggregator website. I cannot recall her or its name. As I write this, at 35,000 feet, I also cannot access the Internet and provide you with that information. Yet, when I get home I likely won’t do it either. Not because the speaker wasn’t articulate, enthusiastic or charming. She was. But I’ve heard her rhetoric before. Blogging has died a thousand times in the last decade. “Nobody reads them.” I do. “It’s no longer a good marketing tool.” Was it ever?

If you think I took umbrage with her message because I am a passionate blogger you are partly right. But it was her insinuation –shared by countless others- that blogging suffers because it can’t “grow one’s brand” or create “viable revenue streams” that really fired me up.

Maybe if most of these critics were actually writers instead of Internet gurus and professional speech givers they would appreciate blogging like so many others and I do. Blogging does incalculable good for my wellbeing. Measuring it strictly by numbers seems harshly one-dimensional.

My point in cartoon form, by Hugh Macleod

While I appreciate a growing and loyal audience immensely, I also adore the mental workout blogging provides, regardless of audience size, both in terms of honing my writing skills and expressing myself.

If we are indeed “brands” then mine is a peculiar one. Expressing opinions on advertising, popular culture and miscellaneous is like working out in a mental gym. Joe Blow famously stated, “I write so I will know what I am thinking.” Well, I’m the same way. As a matter of fact I find I often become wiser on a particular issue just by writing about it. Sometimes, I literally change my thinking while addressing a topic. Imagine if other so-called “thought leaders” did the same.

I don’t believe Gidget the Internet Guru had any of this in mind when she harped on blogging. ROI obsession frustrates me. It’s why so many industry leaders come off as geeky pimps. To them, social media, Apps and the like are only as good as their ratings –whatever dubious criteria that’s based on. Which is bullshit.

Don’t misread me. I write for an audience. I do not journal like a college freshman. But exploiting my audience or going off track to get a bigger one is not this blog’s primary purpose. Nor is it mine.

9 Responses to “Sorry, web marketing gurus but blogging purely for numbers is missing the point.”

  1. Well said. I couldn’t care less about cultivating a brand through blogging. I blog in order to satisfy a desire to express myself in writing. Blogging should not be assumed to be a “one trick” marketing tool.

  2. Juliette said

    Finally the voice of reason. Some (most) of my favorite blogs are little known gems! Blogging is alive and well in my world. Good post!

  3. Willie said

    Agree. Blogging can be part of a strategy also. Just like “opening’ the retail door can’t be a stand alone strategy, neither can social or blogging or newspapers. I write because I like it and I can ‘talk’ to others….

  4. Steffan1 said

    I can see I am not alone. Thank you for your comments, support and, yes, your blogs!

  5. Hey Steffan – as always, well said. Might I suggest extending your observation to include any type of social media. Please, people, enough with the ‘look at me I’m a personal brand whore’ approach. Use the tools to communicate an authentic, well considered idea and your voice will cut through the din –

  6. drishism said

    I blog because it is fun and frees my mind from the stress of grad school. I am unsure if I have any kind of target market… but I appreciate everyone who follows me. It would give me a headache to find a target market for everything I blog about.

  7. Your blog has always attracted me and this particular post left me speechless. It is one of the best pieces of writing I have seen. Good job.
    Peter Zmijewski

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