You might pillory me for this, but it’s been brewing for a while.
The benefits of blogging have been clearly delineated over the past 10 to 12 years. Posts like this one do a great job of outlining the pros succinctly.
I am starting to believe these posts are—for most people and organizations, most of the time—wrong. No doubt, your blog and its regularly updated content are great for search engine optimization (SEO). But it’s not that easy, and here are four reasons why:
1. It takes time. You need to update the content regularly—this is hard, and if it’s not done you’re blog looks bad. There are other ways to reap SEO benefits besides blogging. As with all things in life, it boils down to opportunity cost. Blogging has a very high opportunity cost because publishing takes serious effort and thought, and in a world where idiocy rules, great content often goes unnoticed.
2. The odds are against you. Although there are myriad success stories about how companies and individuals have done great things for themselves via blogging, there are at least 1,000 times more failures. Yes, Chris Brogan’s blog makes him money. But odds are yours won’t do the same for you.
Again, in a world of scarce resources you have to think about the counterfactual. What could you do besides blog? Would it bring more cash? I bet it would at least do so quicker, because blogging takes so much time to show returns.
3. The table is already set. In a number of industries the “land grab” is pretty well done. This means that big players are already established with their blogs—whether they have anything good to say or are actually talented at executing business is another matter—and have grabbed large segments of the audience.
I know, for instance, that everyone in PR thinks they need to blog. You don’t, and breaking into the field and securing an audience (if that is your goal) are harder today than it was yesterday due to the proliferation of sources.
4. There’s enough information out there already. I am totally down with the idea of blogging to be “knowable.” A prospective employer can learn far more about you from your blog than from a résumé. But blogging for “knowability” does not necessitate mountains of content. Due to the information overload that seemingly everyone claims to suffer, I’d argue anyone who checked out your blog to get to “know” you would only consume a small fraction of what you had produced.
Here’s the thing: I want you to blog. It helps me make cash. The folks who write the “helpful” tipster posts about how to create “killer content in 5 easy steps” share my desire. So, too, do social media consultants everywhere.
But between the immense time it takes to show returns, the small chance of creating content anyone consumes, the difficulty of accurately measuring the direct business benefits of your activities, and the immense opportunity cost that comes with blogging, you may be better off doing other things with your time.
I’d love to get your thoughts on this.
A version of this story first appeared on the author’s blog Proper Propaganda.