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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Dawn of the Anti-Blogger

I think a lot of marketing communications people and other creative types got excited when blogging became part of the day job vs. a nice-to-have.  While blogging is one more task on top of many in a day in the life, it offered a respite from the more processed writing style associated with business communications. Generating and delivering content using traditional marketing communications tools -- news releases, white papers, presentations, brochureware, case histories, etc. -- requires more of a left brained approach.  Writing a blog entry, however, allows the writer to exercise the brain's often less used right hemisphere, where creativity, intuition and subjectivity rule.

And while the traditional tools all serve a purpose as part of a marketing communications campaign that may include product publicity, cause marketing, thought leadership, influencer relations, issues management, etc., they only communicate out and provide little or no feedback loop. By design, these tools don't encourage conversation or the exchange of information.

When integrated into a broad communications campaign that does includes two-way communication channels -- like blogging -- they continue to be very effective, however.

Still, traditional business communication forms often don't allow for marketing services pros to be what many of us are or "secretly" want to be:  thoughtful and creative writers.  Writing for business is all about business.  It's what we do to generate awareness for our clients so our clients can sell more products and/or services and make more money and so we can get paid. Ask any professional blogger why they blog.  It's for the same reasons.

For the rest of us, the non-professional blogger, blogging was making it possible for us to scratch our creative and expressive itch. It's a format, so we thought, that gives us just the right amount of editorial and artistic license that news releases and white papers, generally, deny us.  It gave us a new outlet that satisfied the "I want to be a thoughtful writer" craving many of us have suppressed for too many years. So we thought.

For better or worse, though, these are the facts:  SEO, page ranking, backlinking, link baiting, ping services, social bookmarking, etc., are working overtime to put blogging in the same class as the traditional forms of business communications. The irony to me is that blogging gives us suppressed creative writers a creative outlet within our profession, finally, only to be microscoped by Google Juice.

Beth Harte, client services director at Serengeti Communications, initiated a Facebook discussion earlier this week on this subject, and puts it quite simply:  "But at the end of the day writing only for Google Juice doesn't always provide real value to your clients/customers.  Or, if you're a non-professional blogger like me, it's just not fun."

Perhaps we are seeing the dawn of the anti-blogger - folks who blog because they have something to say and care less about page rank and comments.