Now that everyone’s tweeting, do we have time or even care about that really long form of published content called the blog? You know, that web thing that was so hot a few years ago because it replaced, in popularity, the really really long form of published content known as newspapers and books?
I think blogs are more important in business today than ever. Here’s two examples:
I won’t ever use Balsamiq Mockups. I really don’t like mocking things up at that high a level. I’d prefer to design the interface (fonts, margins, padding) as I’m coding. Mockups is an avoidable extra layer in my process.
But, for some reason, I’m rooting for the product. I like reading Peldi’s blog when he tells me what he’s doing to make the app better. When he talks about the minutae of changes that don’t and won’t ever effect me, I read it. When he tells me exactly how much money he’s made (to the dollar) and how many products he’s sold (to the unit), it captivates me. I’m completely interested in what he’s selling and I won’t ever buy it.
Wine Library (http://www.winelibrarytv.com)
Gary Vaynerchuk is rootable. At this point, with congratulations to Gary, there’s nothing more to root for – he’s got the 7-figure book deal and the press to ride for the next ten years. I’ve sat through a few of his wine shows and I find them interesting. Every red wine I’ve tasted and smelled tastes and smells just about the same. I don’t smell burnt tire or Pez candy…ever. It smells like red wine. But, he talks in excrutiating detail about wine and business.
Why I root for them
In both cases, I’m attracted to their businesses because they are infinitely personal and infinitely detailed when they blog about their product. Blogging is still so important in this new age of tweets. We’ve become so enamored by the real-time-ness of a 10-word-tweet that we’ve forgotten what an impression a really personal blog post can make. It’s hard to spend those hours writing or recording a blog post when we can just tweet something quick.
Here’s the problem: Too many businesses are using Twitter to feign being personal. It’s too easy to say you’re done talking. I cannot apologize to a customer or explain why I don’t agree or sympathize with a certain kind of genuineness in 140 characters or less. I can probably write 20 tweets @ 20 people I’ve never met and pitch my product. But, while it’s real-time and direct, it’s completely impersonal.
Blogs still hold the key to the business-customer relationship.
I spent nearly an entire work day trying to explain why we changed our pricing plan for DoneDone. And I hope when people read it, they appreciated how much we thought through and cared about what we were doing.
Then, I spent about 18 seconds thinking through this tweet….
“We’ve upgraded all instances of DoneDone and released a cheaper pricing plan! Read all about it here: http://bit.ly/12QhZr“
….brilliant! Dammit Ka Wai, how do you come up with that stuff?
I’m not saying don’t use Twitter for your business. We do for both X2O and DoneDone. It helps us spread the word but not the message. It cannot be (and isn’t) the focal point of how we relate to our customers. Email them directly with a well-written, thoughful response. Spend a few hours crafting a blog post or video about your business. I typically edit my blog posts a half dozen times after I post to make it read better. When I tweet, I couldn’t care less (and they won’t let me).
Being genuine and personal takes time. It’s something you can still do with a blog.