The Top 4 List I’ve Seen Lately
(In no particular order…)
Performancing’s Ahmed Bilal created a list of three common problems currently facing business bloggers:
Traditional marketing circles still don’t take blogging seriously
2. Some bloggers are too full of themselves
3. Bloggers don’t know how to pitch themselves to companies.
I can agree with that, though, to me, number one and number three can be grouped together. I think the reason bloggers don’t get the respect they deserve is because most people don’t have a firm understanding of what a business blog is. They hear the term “blog” and immediately think of the angry or lovelorn teenagers blogging on MySpace. They don’t realize there is an entire industry of business blogs out there, and they surely wouldn’t think of them as “customer-relations management tools” but that’s exactly what they are.
If bloggers want to gain industry respect, they need to pinpoint for outsider exactly what they do. The guys at Performancing think bloggers should refer to their services as “part of a package” that includes blogging, metrics analysis, research, knowledge of an industry, etc., and I think that’s a pretty good definition of how most corporate bloggers spend their day. Blogs are powerful marketing tools with measurable benefits, and bloggers are the ones responsible for that.
Ahmed also commented that “<i>some</i> bloggers” have become full of themselves and forgotten the elements that made them a big name in the first place. To that I say, well, of course. Find an industry that doesn’t have that problem. I think the percentage of big-headed bloggers is still a small one. The good bloggers out there have remained level-headed, or as Kim says, considerate, and still respect their roots and the tools that made them “famous”.
Aaron Wall created one of the greatest linkbait items of all-time — over a hundred ways to drive people to your site. It’s mostly all the ways you’ve heard before (including “30 Bad Ways to Build Links”) compiled into one long, searchable list. Personally, I enjoyed the last six on Aaron’s list, also knows as the “Getting Links By Being a Jerk” section. Hehe. I wouldn’t actually advise anyone to <i>uuuuse</i> these methods, but they’re amusing to think about. Especially number 99:
“99. Wear your URL on your t-shirt. Walk or drive your car while talking on a cell phone or reading a book. When you run into other people say “excuse you, jerk”.”
How fun! Wait — you’re supposed to run into people while driving your car? Er, I take that back…
I say this is a “top” list because I think it’s an interesting list, not because I agree with it. I agree with Kim. Long blogrolls, tag clouds, ads and your collection of social bookmarking buttons may make your blog “ugly” and hinder usability, but they also make it “yours”. Kim says your blog is your room:
“Adding all those blog toys to your blog is like leaving your clothes all over your bedroom. You know where everything is and it’s nearby if someone else needs it. It looks like a mess to everybody else, but its Your Room. That’s the hidden bonus of blog ownership.”
I agree. As long as your blog is your own, I think you should feel free to clutter it up as you may. It gives it a personality and tells your readers a little bit about you, which is probably the purpose of your personal blog anyway. Your readers, if they’re targeted to your blog, will probably appreciate your wacky train of thought and indulge your madness. If not, they probably wouldn’t have stuck around for long anyway. Or at least that’s my take. If this was my personal blog, it would be clutter galore. But it’s not. It’s Bruce’s. And isn’t it tidy?
ISOS takes a stab at creating a list of their own, counting off all the reasons they hate top ten lists. Why don’t they like lists? Because they claim to give you ten Earth Shattering insights (and typically don’t), they dilute the one “nugget of wisdom” they’re generally based around, and they often lead to a life of intense anxiety and heroin addiction. Wow, who knew?
ISOS’ list probably could have been done better (and should have included ten reasons, not seven), but it gets the point across. Lists serve as easy link-bait but typically provide little value to users — unless you’re listing the blogs you like and then we’re totally for that (hi Barry and Rand!). If you have nugget of info you’re just dying to share with the rest of the world, just give them that nugget. There’s no reason to fudge nine other points just to fill out a list. Create a bullet. We like bullets. The text kind, we mean.