How and Why I Still Devour Blogs

2011 marks my eighth year of blogging. In that time I’ve logged over 2500 blog posts, acquired around 143,000 subscribers and had this blog named by the likes of Forbes magazine as their favorite for both marketing and small business.

reading blogs

Image alui0000 via flickr

If this asset has delivered any measure of success I can tell you that the primary reason is that in that same time I’ve also read some or all of approximately 120,000 blog posts written by others.

I’ve stated repeatedly that anyone that wants to start a blog, get better at blogging or make their blog a serious marketing tool for their business must first and foremost get very good at reading blogs.

Why I devour blogs

Learn how to blog – Any writing course you’ll ever take will tell you that great writers read a ton. Reading how others blog, what they blog about and even how they interact with their community is an essential step for anyone that is serious about using this tool. I get countless ideas for ways to say things and cover ideas that might never bubble up without reading other blogs. I get ideas for what software to use, what plugins work well and how to promote and display content in ways that make it more valuable to readers.

I Like You, But I Don't Know If I Love You

HeartThe other day I was experimenting with the Facebook Like button. By now you’ve probably interacted with that little like button popping up on sites like this – see it up there at the top of the post. Most content publishers have adopted this little sharing mechanism to take advantage of the growing popularity that is Facebook. (I wrote about how to install this button here)

As adoption has grown so have the options for how you can display the button. There are options for fonts, color schemes, layout, show faces or not and the verb you want to display – current choices include “Like” and “Recommend.”

I innocently posed a question on Twitter regarding this verb choices and was surprised by level of opinion expressed. I asked which was better, Like or Recommend. I guess I was thinking purely of the get clicks and views objective of spreading your content on Facebook, but the responses told me we clearly weren’t talking just about Facebook.

The overriding theme the conversation took on was that it was easy to Like something or someone, but an entirely higher level of commitment was needed to Recommend. A Like is a fleeting act that, while shared with your friends, signaled nothing very deep. A Recommend on the other hand suggested that I like this and I think you should like this too and that required more care.

So, while Likes get more clicks, Recommends get more thought and are perhaps more valuable or are at least meaningful in the long term.

From a testing standpoint this presents an interesting psychological quandary, but what I really want to know is this – How do you get someone to move from like to love? (Feel free to substitute with from respect to refer)

  • People like companies that make good stuff, they love companies that make simple stuff
  • People like companies that provide good service, they love companies that have remarkable people
  • People like companies that communicate well, they love companies that live a powerful story
  • People like companies that are innovative, they love companies that inspire them
  • People like companies that are different, they love companies that surprise them and make them laugh
  • People like companies that educate, they love companies that take them on epic journeys

So, I guess I’m saying that if we are to build a company that is to deliver a truly rewarding experience to the owners, staff, customers, partners and community – like isn’t enough.