I received an email this morning from Mr. Marc Shaffner who runs the excellent blog Searching for Accurate Maps asking me about why we do this blogging business and our future. I thought it was an excellent question and one I had asked myself several months ago. I think this conversation would be of interest to anyone who is doing Social Media, Social Media Marketing and blogging - or is thinking about blogging. I've written before that blogging blows Social Media away as blogging gives one a base camp; Social media is good but the party is always at someone else's house. With your own blog, the party is at your home and your are the host!
Here's Marc's letter and my reply. I hope you find this exchange useful:
Out of interest, what is the purpose of your blog (I mean usually, before this nuclear/tsunami mess)? You don't make money out of it (that I can see), you don't sell a product.
The reason I ask is, because Searching for Accurate Maps is now getting 200 or so visitors/day.
Once this crisis is over, the blog will lose its focus point and hence its visitors, and I'm trying to think of ways to capitalize (I'm not thinking primarily of money at the moment).
A good question. Here's my reply to Marc:
What is the purpose of my blog? Good question. I think I might be like you! I started my blog because I worked in mass media for so many decades. As a producer, part of my job was selling advertising for programs I produced.
These last few years saw a rapid decline in advertisers for the Main Stream Mass Media MSM (this recent event in Japan and the shoddy reporting by that media is one more good reason why) and that, besides the facts that clients cannot actually count how many people are really watching or listening to a broadcast on the traditional channels made me realize that I had better change and get Internet savvy.
Today, you can go around you and ask many people if they are Internet savvy and most of the people under 45 will tell you they are, but they are fooling themselves. They are not Internet savvy by any stretch of the imagination. I don't think that being able to do email or use Google search or Microsoft office makes anyone Internet savvy. But, many of these people will fool themselves and tell you that they are.
It's laughable when you consider it like that, but it's true.
So, if I wanted to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, I needed to actually do my own blogging and Social Media. I had to do these things and learn by experience on effective ways to write on the Internet and how to use Social Media. There's a million lessons to learn. The only way you can learn them is by doing them yourself. There's even a totally different skill set at titling blog posts for maximum effectiveness.
There's not really any bible on the subject of how to effectively do blogging, Social Media and the Internet, short of David Meerman Scott's "New Rules of PR and Marketing" so the only way to know how it works is by jumping in head first and doing it...
Oh, Marc, how many times I've wanted to quit blogging too! Staring is one thing... Having the drive and perseverance is what makes the big difference. I gather that most people who start a blog quit after three months. But I've held on - in spite of myself - and persisted. I am glad I did.
My blog started out as a blog for Marketing and I wrote about the things I learned everyday concerning the Internet. Then it started to evolve. It is basically, now, about three things (I think) and all relate to Japan:
2) Mass Media
3) Anything "Japan" that tickles my fancy
I don't run advertising on this blog because I want to fairly criticize if I can and not be compromised. I want to be as honest as I can be. Regretfully, at this very moment, there is a particular company that I need to expose but have been afraid to do so because there is one person at that company who is a great person (the rest? well...) and I don't want to make trouble for that guy... But, that company is messed up and needs to be exposed... I placate my feelings of procrastination because, if you search this companies name on the net and see what people are saying about it, you'll find that few say anything good about it... So, I guess it can wait.
But I digress... This might sound like bragging but the fact of the matter is that, after doing this for these last 8 months or so, I have gotten over 200,000 visitors to which I am blown away and humbled. I have to thank my friends Mish Shedlock and Lew Rockwell for their fabulous support. Without those guys, I might still be at 20 page views a day (with more than half of those by me!) If you are getting over 200 views a day - and your blog is new - that's excellent! Keep up the good work. I don't think that you will lose readers after this crisis is over for three reasons:
- This crisis is going on for a long time... With ups and downs over the next few months, I suspect.
- This earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident shows us that it was the bloggers and a very few other minor medai that were doing the truthful reporting on the situation here. The main stream mass media - and even many so-called “Alternative media” were - to put it mildly - basically sucking at their jobs with the fearmongering and crass sensationalism
- Your writing quality and style is excellent! Well done, really!
Like, I said, Marc, your writing is very good and level-headed. I may not agree with what you say, but I love the way you say it and think people need differing viewpoints to be able to draw their own conclusions (if, that is, that there are any left who can still think for themselves).
In the book, "New Rules of Marketing and PR" David Meerman Scott talks about doing this blogging and just doing it and learning while you go. He is right. If you start out with the idea, "OK, I'll blog, but how do I get paid?" Then you are starting out on the wrong foot. In my case, I've actually been hired and paid quite well from two different companies to teach their people how to use the Internet, Social Media and to blog effectively... I've been approached by a few others but I declined because I didn't find their business "fun" nor appealing to me (Translation: I don't use nor even like their products and think they are unhealthy - not just for the body, but for society).
By having a blog, I can show people with data what I am doing and prove by actions - not just words - that I do know what I am talking about. Well, at least I know more than 99.9% of the other people out there do.
You'd be very surprised by just how many Japanese advertising and PR agencies give advice to clients on how to use the Internet yet none of them actually blog or use Social Media personally. It's like the blind leading the blind.
I think, Marc, that if you consider the situation in Japan - about blogging - then you can see where there are very few people blogging about specific “adult” subjects concerning Japan (and I don’t mean “adult” as in porn). Most Japan blogs are Anime, Manga, Kinky stuff and other frivolity. Those are nice, but I think blogs like yours and mine are few.
Keep up your blog and keep it focused and the rewards will come... You are a great writer and you have no competition as you are probably the only expert in your field blogging in Japan, no?
See Marc's excellent blog and top quality factual reporting on Japan's nuclear accident and the current status here at Searching for Accurate Maps. http://www.sheffnersweb.net/blogs/accuratemaps/