Friday, May 4, 2012

Blog Saturation

I almost named this post "Should I start a blog?" because we get that question nearly daily at RHD.

So.....who do we have to blame for this.....MATT LAUTNER. I say that with the utmost respect. I have had a long-standing professional relationship promoting the Lautner brand since 2003, and I clearly acknowledge Matt as the best show cattle blogger in our industry. He has an extreme commitment to blogging and his success has inspired many to imitate his efforts.

I went through my files this morning trying to locate when Matt first started his blog. While we don't currently maintain his blog, RHD initially recommended blogging to Matt, and set up his blog for him. (Stephanie Steck currently maintains it.) He has always been one to look out for the "next big thing" and we had suggested a blog so that he could update his news from the road (hence the blog title) without having to send in everything as a web update. Because honestly, he was sending in 10-20 updates per day and it almost took a full time web updates team member just to work on his website.

We were using Blogger for our blog through RHD, and thus we chose blogger for Matt's blog. I've also thought to myself, Blogger should seriously consider paying me royalties because since Matt's blog went up, everyone and their dog uses Blogger for their show cattle blogs.  Which explains why I chose the title "Blog Saturation" because I often see all of the new show cattle blogs going up weekly - even daily - and I'm beginning to ask myself - "Is the show cattle blog thing being over-done?" 

With that said, blogging isn't for everyone. Starting a blog and posting funny text messages won't make you an instant club calf success just like getting Photoshop and trying to design a website doesn't instantly make you Ranch House Designs. 

Here are our tips to help you decide if blogging is for you, and how to improve your blog if you have one.

1. Be original. Imitations are never as successful as their original. While everyone loves News from the Road, Matt's blog is Matt's blog. Don't try to attempt to copy his style by posting text messages from people are posting funny pictures. Which brings me to point #2....

2. Provide relevant content. Zane Mai of ZNT Cattle does a great job at this. Zane's blog is popular because he often provides well written, educational, or thought provoking content. You don't have to write a novel, but a paragraph or two always makes for interesting reading. Tell stories. Share insights. Give opinions. People always enjoy reading well written, grammatically correct, interesting blogs.

3. Make a commitment to frequent updates. A good blog is updated several times a week, at minimum. Not everyone has the time to post daily updates, or even multiple updates per day like some of the more popular cattle blogs. But definitely, a blog should be frequently updated. If you feel like you aren't going to have time to update at least 3 times a week, a blog probably isn't for you.

With that said, don't feel pressure to update at a certain time frame. It is better to provide good content, than to write a blog like "Well, not much is going on here today." Nobody cares.

4. Be accurate. I have a M.S. in journalism and so accuracy in media is something I insist on. Don't post anything on your blog that is gossip, something you read on an anonymous message board, or hearsay. Always remember the old saying, "just because someone posts it on the internet, doesn't mean it is true."

A good post on legal guides for bloggers is here:

5. Keep it positive, and for all audiences. If you have a show cattle blog, you will have readers from ages 8 to 80.  Keep your content clean enough for children. Never post profanity or anything that you wouldn't feel comfortable with your grandmother reading.

6. Make sure your blog identity matches the rest of your business brand identity.  This is where people like me come in. Your blog look and graphics should match the identity of your other marketing materials, like your website, logo, catalogs, etc. A good example of this is Wade Rodgers blog. In this blog, his designer Chris Rosa has done a tremendous job of making an eye-appealing graphics header, and using the same overall fonts and style for his blog, his semen catalog, and his banners. We are actually in the process of re-doing his website now to tie into this great look. If you need help with blog graphics, we can help you with this.

7. Avoid the ego.  It's easy to get a big head when you become a blogger, especially if people start telling you how much they enjoy reading. Don't become an ego-maniac through your blog. And don't start thinking of yourself as some overnight expert, authority figure or celebrity either. We're all just normal, every-day people and blogging is just one way to express our personal opinions.

8. Tie in your facebook and twitter accounts to your blog. Again, I have to give Matt as an example of great use of integrating all of his social media into his blog. Whenever he makes a blog post, he also tweets that the new blog is up and mentions people he thinks will be interested in the blog. This helps generate traffic and interest, and also makes people feel good when they get a @ mention on twitter, too.

9. Don't think that a blog will replace the need for a website. Matt is the only person I know who has successfully transitioned his blog into his website, but this definitely will not work for everyone. While it's tempting to think, 'I can eliminate that $600 I pay each year for a website and just use a free blog....' that's not the case.

 A professionally designed website lends credibility to the business. A blog is best used when it is one component of your marketing plan, and one segment of your website. A good example of integrating a blog into a website would be V8 Ranch's website, where you find the blog by going to the "News" page. This type of setup allows for the site owner to still have a professional look for their website, but the flexibility of updating their own blog too when they have news to post. It's the best of both worlds.

It's easy to start a blog, but sometimes hard to keep it going. Hopefully these tips will help you on your blogging road to success. If you are interested in doing blogging, we can certainly help you get on the right track.

1 comment:

  1. love this. i have been blogging since 2008, and i said yes to most of your questions. thankyou!