There was a time in the not too distant past when the world of blogging, content, and social media was like the Wild West. Lack of real data allowed any crazy person with a Macbook and a hotspot claim to be an enlightened teacher of blogging and content creation to drive traffic and bring in business. In one sense, this unnaturally high number of social media evangelists was beneficial because it helped bring about the Web 2.0 revolution and helped convince skeptics to give social media a try. On the other hand, many of their bad guesses have persisted and even become accepted as truth. Here are just three of the blogging falsehoods that continue to parade as truths.
- Short digestible blog posts are better.
This tip is downright seductive. You don’t need to write anything long to be successful! It’s so convenient, right? Your public doesn’t want to read anything long, and you don’t want to write anything long. Done. The only problem? It’s not true. According to Google, long form content always performs better in search than short form content. How long is long? Over 3,000 words.
Shorter articles may be more “digestible,” whatever that means, but they are less authoritative, less likely to remain evergreen, and less likely to challenge the assumptions of your readers in a way that they lead to the conversion of readers to customers. Think of short form content—500 words or less—like a big-budget action movie. It gets your attention, makes an impression, and then is forgotten as soon as the final credits roll. Longer articles will perform better. No surprise, just like everything in life, working harder and smarter will pay off for your content strategy.
2. Keeping Corporate Social Media Accounts Updated Is Important
How many small businesses are paying $100 a month to have a marketing company keep their corporate social media accounts updated? How many are paying $1,000 or more? I wouldn’t be surprised to find that $100 million dollars or more was beings spent to have employees and outside marketing consultants update corporate social media accounts on a daily or weekly basis. It’s important to keep these accounts updated, right?
Wrong. In most cases, it’s completely irrelevant. The average piece of content shared on a corporate LinkedIn account, according to our internal data (we have over ten thousand users at ClearView Social and have processed over a million shares) receives fewer than 2 clicks. So basically, if you are paying $100 a month to have your company LinkedIn page updated once each week, you are literally paying $12.50 per click. The problem isn’t the execution either, the problem is the strategy. Unless your company is Apple, BMW, or Harley-Davidson, nobody in the world wakes up in the morning and wonders what your company logo is tweeting about. There may be other exceptions as well, but the vast majority of corporate social media accounts would have a hard time making a business case justifying their existence if all the data was out on the table.
I’m not saying cancel all corporate accounts, but you must understand their limited power to bring your firm results. According to our research, most corporate account perform on par with the average employee at the same firm. So essential, ten employees sharing the same content may be 10X as effective as the corporate share.
You need to make sure you are getting value for your efforts.
How many clicks is the content we are sharing getting per share?
How many qualified potential clients or referral sources have started following our Twitter account or Facebook page?
Have we seen traffic to our site or conversions from that traffic increase since we started sharing regularly?
But we have one hundred new Twitter followers? Isn’t that progress? Smoke and mirrors. One hundred Twitter followers may be a basic result of having a Twitter account and following other accounts.
See more here: When Social Media is a Waste of Time
In my experience, most companies aren’t asking these questions and may be wasting their time and money blindly updating corporate social media accounts.
3. If you don’t blog regularly, don’t blog at all
One of the most common falsehoods taught as a truth is this one: “If you aren’t blogging regularly, it’s better to shut your blog down.” This seems true, right? A “stale” blog will make you look bad, right? Wrong. Writing regularly is a terrific idea, and I highly recommend it. But if you have a major project you get stuck in or if you’re writing a book, it’s ok to take a break from blogging.
Never shut down a blog, just because it hasn’t been active lately.
If you only write one post a year but that post is awesome, it will continue to be read. It lives forever, so why on earth would you delete it and shut down the blog? Seven years ago, I wrote a post about Michael Jordan and how to run law firms like Phil Jackson would. The post was simple and made a fairly obvious point. To this day, it generates over two thousand clicks a year for me. The success of that article is in no way impacted by me continuing to blog regularly. I mean, I might get more clicks to that article if I blogged even more, but it doesn’t diminish the existing articles if you haven’t blogged in a few months.
Writing good content is difficult but once that work is done, the cost of keep up a blog is minimal or free in many cases. If you never plan to write for the blog again, it may make sense to move the content over to a different page, like your permanent website, but you should never delete posts just because the blog hasn’t been updated lately.
Don’t be lazy when it comes to validating the benefits of social media. Use the same methodology you would use for any business decision. Do you know of any other social media or blogging falsehoods that are taught as truths? Let me know in the comments section.
Adrian Dayton is the founder of ClearView Social and author of two books, Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition and LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers: Building High-Value Relationships in a Digital Age. You can learn more about how he is helping professionals bring in more business with social media at http://clearviewsocial.com