Extending your blog

It is easy to accumulate “friends” or followers online. How many of those people are truly reading what you write or watching your videos?

One of the common questions asked around the internet is whether now is a good time to start a blog and if so, how do you build and expand it? Wayne Sutton wrote about the topic yesterday [website no longer online] referencing a conversation we had at the beginning of the year. How do blogs and social media sites work together? Here is a piece of his article relating to our conversation:

Earlier this year I had a conversation with Tyme White about twitter and personal branding that had stuck in my head ever since I got off the phone with her. She brought up the fact that I had a lot of twitter followers but where or how would I stay connected with those followers if twitter goes down (fail whale) , twitter gets purchased by google & closed like Pownce or their business model just doesn’t work and everyone leaves the community. We talked about how some people who I admire like Robert Scoble and Gary Vaynerchuck have huge online followers despite twitter. Robert has a large following and readership on his blog before twitter and the same for @GaryVee but we do know they both have used twitter to extend their brand.

Towards the end of his article he disclosed his plan on how to extend his blog. Everyone will take a different approach and should do what makes them feel comfortable. However some thought should be given about how what you do today impacts you tomorrow.

It is easy to build a Twitter audience (Facebook, MySpace…you get the idea). It is much easier than a blog because the tools are there to quickly send friend requests – which most people accept. Send out enough you’ll have people subscribed to your content. However, how many of those people are actually reading or are interested in what you are saying? It is common for people to only read what Twitter displays the moment they log on…they don’t scroll back to see what they missed. Same thing goes for a blog. Just because your FeedBurner stats state you have X subscribers doesn’t mean all of them actually read your content. Just because you have X amount of subscribers to your blog doesn’t mean everyone subscribed actually reads your articles.

That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t use third party services. They can be a great compliment to your site. However, if you have more subscribers to a third party site than you do your own site that might work against you in the long run. If those sites ever went out of business, blocked access to your profile (who often does that happen on Facebook?) or even worse had technical difficulties and lost your friends list what would you do? How screwed would you be?

Another problem is overextending yourself. If you are spread out amongst too many services it makes it very hard for people to follow you – to catch all of your content. Imagine telling your readers go to Facebook for this, MySpace for this, my blog for his, Twitter for that. I had a profile on Pownce but it is gone, update your records. My work record is on LinkedIn, I have Yahoo, AIM, MSN, ICQ and Skype – add me! See what I mean? It’s information overload on one person. Add more people and the odds are they aren’t tuning in as you’d like them to.

With my own audience I don’t put anything in between us. It’s me and them. That’s how we roll. For me, it works out. Sure, we drive each other crazy sometimes but I know they are reading what I say. Not necessarily expressing their honest opinion (we’re working on that) but they are reading and interacting with me. Not via Twitter or anywhere else but my site, my email, my IM…me.

Head on over if you want to take a peek. Remember – social media sites are tools. Use them wisely.

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