In the #BlogChat Twitter Chat earlier in the week the discussion was on using social media as part of your blogging. During the chat I made the following tweet:
My generalized view: Blogging is for showing expertise (CONTENT), SM is for interaction (CONVERSATION) and Email is for CONVERSION
The tweet was Retweeted 40 or so times and generated some interesting discussion however while I still stand by it on some levels I was never really completely happy with it.
The tweet was overly simplistic/generalised (as you often have to be when you only have 140 characters to say something) so I thought maybe I should expand a little.
Let me start by saying that 'Blogging', 'Social Media' and 'Email' are 3 important parts of my approach to online publishing. Each plays an important role - however none are simply about one thing.
Blogging is at the heart of what I do. My blog is my Home Base (I talk about home bases here - http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/10/06/social-media-home-bases-and-outposts/) - and is for me where I put most of my efforts. My blog is a place that another company like Twitter, or Facebook or G+ can't take away from me if I break their terms of service or if they change their approach. It is in my control and it is where I ultimately build my brand and community.
My blog is a place where conversation and conversion certainly does happen - but if I had to name my primary focus for my blog it would be that it is a place which I use to produce CONTENT that is useful to people.
My hope is that every single day that on my blogs I publish posts that solve problems (big and small ones) for my readers through the content I produce there.
My blog is a place that is often the first point of content that I have with people and is a place where I hope I'm able to create an impression upon them that will drive them to connect in some way.
2. Social Media
Social media is a place which I primarily use for conversation and community. Yes these things also happen on the blog in comments - but I find increasingly people wanting to connect and converse OFF my blog with the rise of social media.
I tend to focus upon Twitter primarily but Facebook has increasingly become a place where my photography blog readers go and G+ is also growing for me in this way.
I DO use Social Media for other purposes - I use it to drive traffic to my blog for example, I occasionally produce content on it (particularly on G+ where I often 'think out loud') and I even promote my eBooks on it from time to time too (although I find it doesn't convert anywhere near as well as email - more on that soon).
All these things can be done on Social Media but for me it is more a place for conversation and interaction.
I've written about the importance of email for me many times on ProBlogger (for example: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2009/10/31/how-i-use-email-newsletter-to-drive-traffic-and-make-money/) - it is the single most important thing I've added to my blogging since starting out 10 years ago.
Email does many things for me - it is a great way to drive traffic, it can help with building community and driving people to points of engagement, it can even be used to deliver content - but for me it's stand out benefit has been around driving sales - CONVERSION.
Check out this graphic (http://digital-photography-school.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Screen-Shot-2012-12-10-at-12.53.44-PM.png) which shows where sales of our eBooks come from:
- 87% of our sales come from email
- 7% come from our blog posts
- 3% comes from our social media
- 3% comes from our affiliates
Over the last few years since starting to publish eBooks I've tried many ways to promote them but the #1 method every time I've tested it is email.
3 Mediums Working Together
Blogging, Social Media and Email for me all have become really important aspects of my business. I can't imagine leaving one element out.
Each of them are useful in a variety of ways - in fact I often use each of the elements to promote the others as I find it reinforces them.
For example - when someone signs up to our newsletter on dPS they get an email shortly after promoting to them our social media accounts. From time to time on our social accounts we promote the email newsletter and we regularly promote the blog posts we publish.
In sending people back and forth to the different parts of what we do I find people become more integrated into the community and the brand grows.
This post is a work in progress - would love to hear your thoughts, reactions, ideas and experiences!