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August 27, 2007

Would People Notice If You Disappeared?

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The question posed by Copyblogger’s Ryan Imel is: If Your Blog Disappeared, Who Would Miss It?

It really is an excellent question and something that extends to your entire Internet marketing campaign. I mean, think back a few months or a few years or however long it has been since you established your Web presence. You launched a Web site because you believed you offered some kind of product or service that people needed and you wanted to help them find it. You created a site from scratch, wrote content for it and tried your best to form a community and connect with users. Now that it’s established, ask yourself, would anyone notice if you suddenly disappeared? Would they care or would they just head over to one of your competitors’ sites? Are you filling the void you set out to fill?

I’m sure this is just my narcissism kicking in, but I actually wonder about this a lot. I wonder if I got in a car accident on my way up to SES San Jose and couldn’t blog if anyone would notice there was coverage missing. If we took a week off from blogging with no explanation would our readers notice our absence? Would readers care if Bruce up and fired me one day or would they just head over to one of the other ten million SEO blogs they read daily?*

I think it’s good to give yourself a reality check every once in awhile. To ask yourself if your site or your blog is as unique and valuable to users as you think it is. What is it that keeps users coming back to your site? Or perhaps, what is it that’s driving them away?

Personally, I can think of number of blogs or Web sites that I would be heartbroken over if they disappeared. I mean, seriously, if Heather B. Armstrong ever stopped updating me on the activities of Chuck and Leta…well, I think I might lose all reason for living. There are absolutely sites that are part of my online community. Sites that if they disappeared I wouldn’t just be able to replace them. These sites are unique in that I’ve already formed an attachment to them. Try to take them away from me and I swear to God I will throw a computer monitor at your head.

Ryan offered up a couple of tips on how bloggers (and site owners) can ensure that people miss them should they ever go missing. I’ll simply summarize them here:

  • Target Your Audience
  • Be Unique
  • Interact with your readers (audience) on a personal level
  • Create content that can’t be duplicated

Obviously, all four of those tips are very important to the success of your brand, but I think it’s that third one that’s really going to ensure that your readers notice when you’ve been eaten by a bear. Unless your audience has formed an attachment to your brand, you are completely replaceable. It’s that personal interaction factor that will keep customers coming back and keep them aware of your presence.

Here’s an idea. Fall is right around the corner, right? Start the season off by taking a step back and reexamining the legacy you’ve been creating online. Have you allowed your site or your blog to become replaceable? Have you been engaging and communicating with your audience or are you just talking at them? Are you providing a service that is useful or are you just like everyone else? If you don’t like the answers you’re coming up with, it’s time to follow Ryan’s advice – Re-target your audience, be unique, interact with your audience and create content that can’t be duplicated. Start now.

*Please do not take this as your cue to tell me how wonderful/funny/pretty this blog is. Susan already accused me of using my Is Mixing Humor and Blogging a Bad Idea post as a way to fish for compliments. I promise that is not the purpose of this post. Honest.

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3 responses to “Would People Notice If You Disappeared?”

  1. Glen Allsopp writes:

    I’m sure many of us would like to think so but it’s certainly not always the case.

    Nice post, and I definitely won’t try to pull you away Lisa ;)

  2. Jack Yan writes:

    Great reality-check post, Lisa. And you are right. I stopped blogging for a bit in November 2006 and no one noticed. All that happened was my traffic dropped-a lot.

  3. pat writes:

    If you went away, I would miss it, sorta.



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