“I threw open my shop but found no takers”, said Vallalar, a great saint and Tamil poet of 18th century. Yet, he had composed over 5818 poems breathing universal love and peace. Poetic outpourings do not wait for audience. In the same way, blogs, if they are passionate outpourings, do not have to bother about comments.
“We’re all talking but is anybody listening?” asks Tim McAlphine of Currency Marketing, who is a Canada based branding and marketing consultant, promoting social media concepts to credit-unions, co-operative financial institutions. In his recent blog, he writes, “It used to be that we counted success on the Web by the number of hits, then we moved on to average time on your site, unique visitors or video views. But now, it seems that everybody is striving for interactions. These days, people are obsessed with: how many comments per blog post?, how many retweets or mentions on Twitter?, how many comments or likes on Facebook?”
I agree that interactions is the key, but the emphasis should be on quality of interactions. Quality is highly subjective and it could mean any type of “value creation” in terms of new ideas, new businesses, new relationships, etc. While casually surfing Facebook, I was surprised several times to find big brands doing great business having fewer than 100 fans. It would be extremely difficult to a blog post with comments, even in the case of some of the big social media gurus. Since July this year, I have posted about 34 posts in the four months, but received just one comment – I received that from a friend to my first blog post for Younomy, and he could have done as a token of encouragement.
If I had to go by comments, my blogging is a waste of time. But I know it is not. Blogging helps me to connect with new friends and new customers for sure. Soon after I sent out a blog on social media policy, I was engaged to write a social media policy by a big business house in India. I keep receive calls from friends whether I would be interested in meeting their customers, who want to know more about social media. Almost all of these friends do not read by posts. But the fact that they refer my name to their customers is the proof that there is some mind share that is built.
My friend, Kirk Bridgman, who runs PS: Research! & Consulting, talks about Network Communications, Inc (NCI)., a Atlanta based publisher that provides blogging services. This company has 1200 social media clients and employs over 60 bloggers, who produce 2,500 blog posts a week (probably employing a network of freelance bloggers, I suppose). “What struck me in the weeks leading up to the training sessions, and during my time with the team in Atlanta, was that the engagement level on the blogs was often non-existen. Few, if any comments, no retweets, no ‘signs of life’,” he writes, adding that this company is not failing their clients. “So, how does NCI create value for its clients via blogging?” To this question, NCI’s Senior VP, Adam Japko explained, “Our goal is to drive leads for clients on the Web.” Here is a case study.
As I had mentioned, in my own experience, consistent blogging does create leads. Plus, the key thing that drives me to blog is not just about leads. It is probably – as any writer would agree – the satisfaction of having relieved something that is been on my mind for a while. In his days as a writer, editor, Mahatma Gandhi was writing almost every day and he attributed it to the act of what he called the “soul force”