Halt! Save Those Blogs From Being Banquished!

I am writing to make an open and heartfelt appeal to all fellow bloggers to self-regulate and raise the standards of blogging. In my view, this is critical if the blogging community is to avoid a day when it will have to say, “Halt! Save Those Blogs From Being Banquished!

Please. It is my sincere appeal to you to join me here in a journey to prevent the blogging community from becoming an endangered species.

What? You think I am being sensationalist like the Indian media is currently and rightly being accused of? Or, maybe you think I am being a scaremonger to attract traffic to Lata Wonders.

If so, allow me to point to the disappearing world of the printed word. Sure, print is being displaced by digital. Yes, that is so. But the undeniable fact also is that print and broadcast journalists began a slow fall off their pedestal ever since a smarter and smarter consumer of news began to realise that a lot of content was being dictated by advertisers or advertising revenue. Or worse – that newspaper empires and journos were accepting payment for content. On this subject do read When the pen becomes the sword.

We have an opportunity here. The blogging community can step into the void and gain the respect of consumers looking for credible and authoritative information and opinions.

To gain that standing, however, we have to decide what our blog or personal brand is going to stand for. And then evaluate everything we write, audio or video about against those measures. That’s why I have chosen Troy Thompson’s graphic on The New Brand Formula as the feature image for this blog.

What story do you wish to narrate? What experience are you curating for your audience? Each post you write will set reader expectations and build a brand or not.

Your personal brand.

Your blog brand.

That brand will then either begin to be respected or not. That’s the choice you have to make. I have to make. We all have to make.

Yesterday, in a post titled And the award goes to…, I talked about the importance of adhering to some golden rules of communication. I think it is worth repeating that here.

The best communicators, across media, know the importance of (a) knowing their audience; (b) having something relevant and interesting to say to that audience; and (c) crafting their messages to hold attention.

There is one more thing I would like to add to the above though for the purpose of this post. It is important that bloggers lend credibility to their central message by supporting their argument or opinion with credible sources. Unless, of course, the post clearly states that the opinion expressed is purely personal and just offering the reader food for thought. Even then, opinions make an impact best when the author examines other perspectives on the issue as well. And, is seen to be agreeing with some while refuting others. That’s why good writers are argumentative and excellent at debating. In a sense, you can say writers are akin to lawyers who have a rep for winning their cases.

These are important points. To prove what I am saying, let me point to just one statistic. The average attention span of people world over is now 8 seconds. That’s how long we, as bloggers, have to catch a reader’s attention and then hold it. On this subject, do read Say it quick, say it well – the attention span of a modern internet consumer and Thanks Social Media – Our Average Attention Span Is Now Shorter Than Goldfish.*

The short attention span has an upside! It allows you to measure how successful you are in keeping your audience interested and engaged by monitoring the average time spent on a page and the bounce rate.

Trust me, these are the measures that are going to increasingly count in the future. Especially with digital platforms and marketers who are increasingly coming under pressure to justify their spends on content and social media. Google and you will find a plethora of news items on this subject. Besides, I have been heading Marketing for Sterling Holiday Resorts and can tell you that I have attended enough CMO Roundtables on this matter.

So, if you, as a blogger, are hoping to make a living through your blog or blogs, please think about the writing on the wall.

Also think about this.

There is little point in your posts getting consumed primarily by other bloggers. They have to reach a wider non-blogging audience. Here, I would like to appeal to all bloggers to please take that extra minute and share posts you really like with your social networks. We all have family and friends there. It will help increase the reach of good blogs. But don’t just share posts. Comment on why you are sharing. Tag people who you know are interested in the subject or who will like a piece of writing. As an example, see the Facebook conversation thread on a post I shared by Sunaina Sharma. In particular, I would like to draw your attention to the comment I made and the people I tagged. By those actions, I do believe Sunaina Sharma’s beautiful poetry not only reached a wider audience but received the appreciation it so richly deserved.

Will you, my fellow blogger, join me in this effort? Can we pledge to promote good work to a wider audience?

Please. This pledge is important. As it is, as bloggers, we work in cyberspace and are anyway always at risk of being swallowed up by the black holes that pepper our orbits.

Those orbits could be views on trending news, poetry, memoirs, travel experiences, philosophy, history or v-logs.

Point is whichever orbit we operate in, our painstakingly crafted word or video or image missives could just disappear into cyberspace, never to be found again. If we don’t wake up now and take action.

If we don’t, I very much fear that there will come a day when all we will be left with is the cry “Thar she blows“. While watching first the readers and then the ads disappear.

Question is, as a blogger, “Is that why you write; Is that what you want?”

If not, one last point of caution. Avoid blogging for brands unless you are truly convinced about the brand’s story. It will kill your credibility with your readers. Believe me, it is better to forego that revenue rather than risk losing your readers. Your reader traffic is why advertisers are interested in you.

#words #blogging #brands #personalbrands

Author’s Note: Sometime ago I wrote about The Day I Stopped Being a Content Snob. This post may seem to contradict that. But it doesn’t really. Anyone can write. The point I am making here is that we need to make a collective effort to do better and set benchmarks for all bloggers to aspire to.

Thank you for reading this post. If you enjoyed the read and found value, do check out Has anyone seen Quality? I am looking for her. May I also request that you help spread the good word in this post? All you need to do is take a second and click on any one of the Social Media buttons here. Of course, I would also be delighted if you subscribed to my blog site. Or connected with me via LinkedIn or Twitter where I regularly publish my posts on my feed.

Featured Image Credit: The New Brand Formula – A visual explanation of the new brand formula: story + experience / expectation = brand – Troy Thompson (Flickr.com CC BY 2.0)

*Rob Weatherhead. Head of Digital Operations, Media.com. 28 February, 2014. Say it quick, say it well – the attention span of a modern internet consumer. The Guardian.

*Michael Brenner. Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred. B2B Marketing Insider. May 22, 2014. Thanks Social Media – Our Average Attention Span Is Now Shorter Than Goldfish.

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