Sunday, July 22, 2007

Drinking The Kool-Aid - But Not Catching a Buzz

On Friday, Copyranter did me the kindness of linking to a story here at Where’s My Jetpack? (Good for a huge spike in traffic, with that link being the leading source of traffic over the weekend – and likely through this week.) In the comments section of that post, I thanked him, as did Mr. William Green of Make the Logo Bigger. Bill pointed out that Copyranter “ranks higher than me on every blog ranking list he doesn’t want to be on.”

Copyranter has no labels, no Technorati tags, no digg icons and he doesn’t Twitter. He’s not asking you to Stumble Upon him or mark him as There’s no way for you to email his stories to your friends from his site. He steadfastly refuses to keep a blog roll, even though he’s known to make the rounds as a commenter here and there. The most he offers his visitors is a Feedburner link.

So what makes Copyranter’s blog have a Technorati ranking of 14,117 and an Authority of 297? (Those numbers, for those of us who watch them, are mockingly higher than many blogs with every social media icon known to man cluttering up the end of every post.)

Say it with me, class…CONTENT.

That’s not to diminish the value of all those social media tags and widgets, and if Copyranter were to employ them, he could probably write a book, sell it online, and retire in wealth and peace, free to toss the Plastic Flatball™ with his girlfriend in the park. But any book he wrote would only be a bestseller because of its content.

Content is still king. For all the attempts by some to make their blogs rack up huge traffic numbers and links from other blogs, it’s surprising how many of them have so few comments under the posts. Why? Likely nobody cares about what was written.

I’ve had the opportunity to help clients set up blogs, and I know many of you are engaging in the same practice. But I honestly fear for the livelihood of those blogs. Few are participating in them at best. And no one’s reading them at worst. Maybe it’s a lack of transparency. Maybe it’s already a backlash on the part of the audience, small though it is. It is easy to distrust a corporate blog, unless that corporate blog is in some way compelling by its content.

You hired a new employee? Woo-hoo! You’re speaking at a conference? Yay you! You landed a new piece of business? Awesome. You'd be better off to save that news for your Sunday afternoon call to your mom, so you can hear her say, "We're so proud of you." Or issue a press release no one is going to read.

I want you to tell me something new, something refreshing, something newsworthy or something funny. I want you to be an authority. I want you to have an opinion. I want to see you push the bounds of corporate communications and tell me how you, as the high-powered and well-known CEO of Acme, Inc., think the San Diego Chargers made a HUGE mistake in firing Marty Schottenheimer. (You do have a personal life. Your customers and prospects can benefit from seeing your humanity.) I want you to throw open the curtain and say, “People are complaining about our new rollout, Product X. Some have outright called it 'a piece of shit.' We’re working to resolve some of the obvious problems, but I invite those people who are dissatisfied to please comment here on my blog and see if together we can resolve your issues.”

Another problem with corporate blogs is frequency. If you’re posting once a week or less, just quit now. You need to keep it up. And get out there and comment on other blogs if you ever hope to see a visitor who didn’t just find you by accident. And by all means, do not engage in fake conversations with yourself, commenting anonymously on your own blog just so you can have some comments.

The Age of Conversation is very real, and I’ve made virtual friends (even met one) out here within this Series of Tubes. I’ve found voices and opinions I love to listen to and converse with in the year this blog has been active. The blog is a powerful and fun tool. (I’m not talking about MySpace, Facebook or Second Life yet. That’s a whole different post.)

Blogging isn’t going anywhere, but it has yet to be tapped effectively by those who seek to make it a means of “engaging the consumer.”

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  • Ha, yeah. I made that comment referring to an old post of his, where he complained becaused he was on someone's damn list. But yeah, it's all about having a unique voice, and in his case, being totally honest about your opinion, not giving a fuck what people think. People tune in because he's saying what others want to but can't or won't.

    And no, he didn't pay me to say this.

    The pay-per-post dude did.


    And there are more than a few discussions out there in marketing land about “But how do we monetize our blogs!?!” HOW?

    Who said youhad to monetize it anyway? But if you want to, I'd say build readership first with unique content, and don't fill the damn blog with Google ads expecting income day one.

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at July 22, 2007 at 3:48 PM  

  • Great post JP, informative and thought provoking. Thanks for the tips.

    Have a great week!

    By Anonymous dirtsister, at July 22, 2007 at 4:05 PM  

  • JP: While I agree, in theory, with your post, you've left out the main reason he gets so much traffic: he's a featured columnist on Gawker ( which is arguably the most popular blog out there.

    Now he became a columnist because of his unique voice, et al. And having a site like Gawker take you on is a much bigger compliment than any of us giving him props. But I'm guessing it's been a stupendous boon to his site, numberwise.

    Like you, I got into this because it was fun and because I started commenting on ad blogs all the time I figured I'd write my own.

    I'm such a chucklehead, I literally had no idea how to figure out how many people read the Toad Stool until David Burns on Adpulp had a post about the woman who sold MediaPost for a zillion dollars and I quickly developed an interest, which led him to point me to Sitemeter.

    But at the end of the day, I realize that the audience for an ad blog, or an ad-and-2.0 blog is pretty limited.

    Which is fine with me.

    PS: Another reason I dig Copyranter is that he pisses off all my ad snob friends who dismiss him as a "nobody" or a "wannbe" because he never worked at Chiat or Crispin or wherever. Regardless of how spot on his criticism usually is

    By Blogger Toad, at July 22, 2007 at 9:24 PM  

  • I'm right behind Copyranter - haven't you seen the new Todd And ratings?! Psyche. (Oh my god, I just typed psyche...)

    I totally agree with everything you posted Jetpacks. I had to come out of new job induced commenting hibernation and tell ya... :D

    By Anonymous Catch Up Lady, at July 23, 2007 at 9:49 PM  

  • Now I know atleast one person is reading the crap I crap out.

    BTW: way to weave the link-love into a well-meaning head-smack to all of us to keep our blogs fresh, inventive and full of purpose and -- yes, yes -- content.

    By Blogger James-H, at July 23, 2007 at 11:06 PM  

  • James:

    Not so much a head-smack to regular old bloggers like us; more a bitch-slap to would-be company/corporate bloggers willing to pay a new media agency money to tell them they need to blog - and then letting it go dull or dormant.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at July 24, 2007 at 7:27 AM  

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