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When A Blog Isn’t A Blog…

With the multitude of functions that blogging platforms are currently being appropriated for (especially  WordPress software), is blogging in danger of losing its identity.

It’s no surprise that blogs are highly optimized for search engines, tend to be the weapon of choice for linkbait campaigns and are usually the chosen weapon when a single individual (or marketer) decides to take on an airline, supermarket chain, or budget airline.

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Add to that the fact that affiliate marketers are also employing it’s flexible architecture to construct landing pages, opt-in forms, affiliate content sites, shopping/shopping comparison sites, coupon sites, customer loyalty sites (plus the occasional or maybe not so occasional affiliate cookie stuffing site) and you’d realize that it’s not just a diarying platform anymore.

In a tweet yesterday, Top Ranking Marketing CEO Lee Odden fired out this tweet “Even thought I’ve said contrary, content published with blog software is technically a blog, but without comments, it’s not social #blogchat”

I sent the reply:

“Does the underlying platform define a blog? Or does blogging refer to the style in which content is published online?”

To which Lee replied:

“I think it’s the style in which content is published. We create newsrooms with blog software but I wouldn’t call them “blogs”"

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So while publishing content (however, you may define it) on Blogger/Blogspot or WordPress may have been considered “blogging” before, I see that blogging (along with affiliate marketing) is growing up, we have to dig below the surface, to perform a more detailed analysis to see if it’s defined as a blog.

I’d associate the first generation of blogs (from the 1990s) as more of the “online diary” phase of blogging.

Later, as the medium progressed, editorial, expert comment and analysis crept into the mix. We weren’t limited by the everyday “I had mac and cheese for lunch” blog content (that’s prevalent in the infant media Twitter).

And still later, corporates got into the blogging-Public Relations/undercover sponsored blog side of things.

So blogging’s all grown-up, but does it have anywhere to go?

While marketers, merchants and affiliates wearing all hats from white to black are generating traffic, collecting leads, converting leads into customers and generally transforming WordPress into a transaction platform, still blogging in my opinion, excels as a personal or corporate branding platform.

I’ll be invite a public relations specialist to come on the Friday Podcast soon and one of the key issues will be seeing how blogs and social media are employed in the areas of reputation management and crisis managment.

I’d recently spoke on a panel at a recent conference, and one of the panelists, a crisis management expert, talked about dealing with the media during the recent hijacking of the US-crewed Maersk ship by Somali pirates. Having a communications plan in place, along with the right communication channels to distribute this information, in the age of instant cellphone messaging and Twitter, can make the difference between showing the pro-active response by an individual or a business entity, or it could be a major public relations disaster.

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For more blogging tips, check out the Secret Blog Weapon.

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