Yesterday’s call to action to tell me what you wanted me to share yielded some impressive topics for me to ponder. I guess that goes to show you that if you ever go to the blog topic well and find it dry, all you have to do is ask. I’ve got a dozen or so topics to explore in the next few posts, so thanks for that.

The one that emerged as as theme, asked or proposed by Tom Webster, Adam Helweh, Jon Steiert and some others in some variation is what has changed since I turned down the volume on my content production? What do I know now that I didn’t then, or in Tom’s spin on the topic, what do I not know now that I did then?

Here are my thoughts:

  • Blogging has changed. Fewer voices in the space are doing it, or at least not in the on-my-own-site fashion. They have opted, rather, for longer-than-status updates on Facebook, Snapchat posts, podcasts or even LinkedIn Pulse content. The core deliverable is the same — a person’s thoughts on a given subject — but the mechanisms are more diversified. But this means those that are still doing it the old way are likely providing richer, deeper content and context to the tasks at hand. I’ve even seen some former bloggers who have reduced their thought leadership to 5-word-or-less text on photos posted on Instagram. It’s sad.
  • As a result, people don’t value blogs as much. AdAge’s top 150 — the list I made it to the top of back in the day — doesn’t even exist anymore. Social Media Examiner has an audience poll for the top social media blog each year and there a few dotted other recognition features, but the diversification of conversations has made blogs less valuable to the wider audience.
  • Content production has multiplied. It seems to follow best practices today, you not only have to have a blog post, but a photo meme, a video and audio presentation, perhaps a slide deck and then Vine-worthy clips to promote the content. Of course, none of these are necessary if your audience is compelled to take the time with your core content — your blog post. If you’re reading these words, you’ve invested the time to really hear what I have to say. You are my core audience. And I thank you. I’ve never been great with the short attention span set anyway.
  • Twitter is far less meaningful. Conversations are happening on Facebook these days. Twitter is a seemingly never-ending stream of “Click my junk” posts, even from the true conversationalists in the marketing space. I’m guilty of it, too. But every time I post a link, a few hundred people click on it. That provides some lasting value, but it’s far less important than it once was, which is sad. People just don’t seem to talk there anymore. They just pimp and run.
  • Related, but a bit of a tangent … Twitter is over-valued by brands. Social listening almost always surfaces 70-90 percent of the total conversations around a given topic or brand from Twitter. But this isn’t because that’s where the conversations are happening. Twitter’s content is open and public (sans private accounts, which are few and far between). Facebook’s conversations are closed and private and, thus, not indexed by social listening or search engines. I’m guessing, but I think Facebook should account for about 50-60 percent of true conversations around brands, even more for broader topics. That would put Twitter at about 25-30 percent and the rest left for the blogs, message boards and news sites. And most of Twitter hits aren’t from conversations, but simple mentions. I did a spot check on a client’s conversations not too long ago and discovered that almost 90 percent of the month’s mentions were posts of two articles mentioning it in the headline retweeted by dozens of news organizations. When you’re looking at the true conversations about that brand, those tweets are meaningless.
  • Experts and gurus are still at it. There’s a new crop of youngsters who are all gung-ho about teaching you how to market on Snapchat and such. But like most “gurus” many of them are just regurgitating tactical tips and tricks (which are useful to some) rather than thinking about the business case for such tools. And not one is connecting social activation to business value metrics (customer acquisition, retention and brand value). Keep “joining the conversation” kids. The real decision-makers in the room need something to laugh at after toiling at connecting social to revenue all day.

The rest is yet to come. This is day two of my newfound energy and focus on generating content. I’m sure I’ll discover more differences and similarities as I get back into it full-swing. Keep in mind that my perspective here is one of an individual leveraging blogging as a primary mechanism to build thought leadership and credibility in the digital marketing space. Results will differ for brands trying to acquire customers, build awareness and so on.

But the journey will be full of insights. And share them, I will.

What’s changed for you in the last 6-8 years? Where are your primary social conversations now vs. then? Do you actually read more or fewer blogs? Whose blogs do you read now that you did then? Anyone come to mind that disappeared? Do tell. The comments, as always, are yours.

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