Hans participated in the 2004 Global PR Blog Week 1.0, a virtual event for PR and marketing bloggers from around the world.
Hans decided to answer a question I asked of the participants in a recent blog post. He mentioned that he has been running a long running survey on blogging, called the BlogSweden Survey. The survey is in its 5th year. And his survey results reveal that the motivations for blogging remain the same, people want to "express their opinions and share what's on their minds," and also "network, get feedback and keep in touch with friends and family."
Hans provides some great analysis of the survey results in his post and also moves onto describe his own motivations for blogging.
"it is a way to push myself to think deeper about a subject and to learn more. When you are forced to articulate your own opinion about a topic, you do more research and it seems to stick better in your memory. Then there is the social aspect. By writing a blog, I engage in a conversation with smart people and that is always a lot of fun. It is also a great way to build a good network. But perhaps most of all, my blogging has always been fueled by the reactions from other people, who link to or comment about my content. The more (positive) reactions you get, the more fun it is to blog. And that’s where I have a real problem to motivate myself to blog these days. It seems that many people don’t have as much time to blog today as they used to, before Facebook and Twitter grew popular."
I think its interesting that Hans suggests not as many people have as much time to write a blog today. I also wonder if its because bloggers don't respond as much as they once did?
Hans also indicates that the amount of time spent reading blogs has decreased, and he conjectures that bloggers are spending more time on social networking and twitter.
I agree with Hans that bloggers are spending more time on social networking. Partly I think because there are more people involved with social networking and twitter. It's easier to maintain, but I do wonder if blogging will see something of a revival amongst established bloggers. Last year, I was surprised to see the number of bloggers still blogging from the Global PR blog week.
For me blogging remains a place to express ideas, thoughts, and build ongoing relationships with colleagues, friends as well as make new contacts. I integrate my blogging efforts with other social media such as Twitter and Facebook. I think a blog is a good idea for an individual or company because the blog represents an individual or brand amongst all of the other websites on the web. And if you understand how the eco-system of how the web works, you'll understand how important it is to maintain a presence on the web.
Most people use search engines when searching for information about products, ideas and brands. That means it is important to have a ranking on a search engine if you hope to be found or influence searchers when they click through from search results on Google or other search engines. The critieria for obtaining a ranking on search engines includes content that includes the keywords my audience is searching on, an indexable site and links from other sites that includes the keywords my audience is searching. There's more to the algorithm but linking strategy is extremely important to search results. And you gain links from other websites. Asking for links has always been something of a hopeless cause, not always, but its time consuming and tough to get links. When blogs came along, getting links was far easier because you can become an active member of a community and as result of chatting with colleagues in the industry you naturally gain links, and so that helps you improve your search engine rankings. Many blogs started with the goal of obtaining links, but that is not a completely sustaining reason for blogging. Rather you can gain many other marketing benefits besides the direct sales results from higher rankings. Word of mouth, thought leadership, customer feedback, and product development all come to mind.
If it is true that bloggers are linking less, then those bloggers who remain and who can marshal links and traffic from the community through their writing and relationship efforts will gain even more today than just a few years ago.
But blogs are just part of the ever expanding world of social media, if you network within a social network, its important to be active, and participate. Just as blogs mirror the wider web through search engines, because a group of 20 different blogs can swamp search engine results. If you are active in Twitter or Facebook, you must understand how to generate content and engage your audiences to be found successfully as well. Plus, several social networks such as Twitter results also appear in the Google results and as a consequence its important for both the network and the wider search eco-system involving Google.