Life on the web. How in the world did we get here? It all seems to have swooped in out of nowhere. (Does anyone even remember pay phones and keypunch computers?) Making the most of the web seems to require an ongoing tutorial. (More web time.) And understanding what is meant by writing blogs is one of those efforts that will help make the web work for you.
Blogging has had its own organic existence, evolving in structure, subject matter, and purpose since its origin in 1994. The word “blog” is actually the snipped version of “weblog,” a term coined by programmer Peter Merholz.
Blogging started as a form of journaling online. A person could start a blog to talk about anything and everything – feelings, activities, hobbies, you name it.
If that sounds familiar, you may be wondering how that differs from today’s social media obsession. Facebook even stores your posts for future trips down memory lane. Just one more way to “be you” with an online audience. Photos, opinions, food choices, feeling emoticons – you’re essentially doing a modernized version of early blogging.
But what is meant by writing blogs today?
The answer to that is broader than a simple definition and depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Facebook, for example, started as an online way to connect Harvard’s students. Users have fostered the evolution of this social media platform to serve other interests and purposes. Today you wouldn’t even recognize its original purpose if you didn’t already know it.
And so it is with blogging. People saw this “online diary” format as an opportunity to convey other information and even monetize their interests.
A blog, by its simplest definition, is an informational site that displays information in reverse chronological order. It may have one or many authors, including guest authors. And its topics can be about any area of interest or expertise.
Unlike the standard pages on a website, which are static pages of information, a blog has regular and frequent updates. Each post in a blog will have a publishing date and any number of byline elements, such as author reference, categories, and tags. It may also contain links to other sites or to static pages within the parent website.
And, because blogs tend to be written in a storytelling fashion, you have a forum for natural, unaffected expression.
Understanding what is meant by writing blogs depends, in large part, on your intention for writing one in the first place. But one purpose that underlines all blog formats is connecting the blogger to a target audience.
Are you simply trying to put your life out there and feel that you have people who are interested? Are you trying to share your knowledge in a niche area? Are you trying to grow your business? Are you trying to grow your popularity and bank account by gaining online celebrity status?
Having a grasp of your intention behind blogging will help clarify the meaning behind it. It will also help you decide what form of blogging you should be using.
Here are some of the most common forms of blogging you will encounter:
These follow and maintain the original spirit of blogging. You can wax-poetic all you want because this is your own diary of feelings and ideas…but with an audience.
At some point business owners recognized the opportunity to capitalize on the blogging format as a conduit to business growth. As traditional marketing methods evolved away from Yellow Page and magazine ads, content marketing blogs gave new life to businesses.
In this blog format, your intention is to draw people to your website (your business). Instead of handing out business cards to everyone with an open hand, you are strategizing how to attract your target audience.
Because the focus of the business blog is connecting your parent company to potential customers, you need traffic. Traffic on the web means you need visibility. And gaining visibility means you need to know how SEO works so you can enrich your blog and make it work for you.
One big difference between advertising “the old way” and advertising “the web way” is the intention behind the advertising. Expensive magazine and TV ads that say, “Buy me!” are being replaced with blogs that ask, “What do you need?”
As a business blogger, you’re seeking to provide helpful information to your target audience. And, in the context of being helpful, you’re referencing and validating your business as a trustworthy solution to their needs.
Promotional materials, invitations to give feedback, and calls to action all provide ways of expanding your business mailing list. And, from there, you have the opportunity to convert your audience to loyal customers.
In this way, what is meant by writing blogs is more than just getting people to buy what you have. It’s building a relationship with consumers who know they have countless choices and the prerogative to be selective.
Recommended Reading: 11 Reasons Why Writing Blogs Will Grow Your Business
As the name implies, a niche blog focuses on a single topic with as much information and insight as possible.
No matter what kind of blogging you do, you may occasionally want a break from the written word. That’s where alternative media like podcasting, vlogging, and photo blogging can be a refreshing insertion. Media blogs, however, use these formats as the rule, not the exception.
Perhaps you’ve been blogging for years and have comfortably evolved with the forum. Perhaps you’re experienced with the various forms of blogging and creatively integrate them to serve your purpose.
Perhaps you’re new to blogging and don’t know how or where to start.
Regardless of your experience level, writing blogs can provide a powerful connection to your target audience. You simply have to trust you have something to say and know why you want to say it.