You may have been the victim of “question tagging” on social media.
That’s when you’re typically tagged by someone else, where the tagger was initially tagged by someone else, must answer a question, and gets to continue to the trend by tagging someone else.
It’s like a stadium wave. Or an illegal chain letter. But for fun and curiosity, not for money. (Curiosity has a lot more to do with it than you think, and it’s actually quite powerful. I’ll come back to that later.)
The point is that you tag other people to ask them a question, the answer to which you’re curious about. But you start the trend by volunteering your answer first, which follows Cialdini’s first principle of persuasion.
That’s what makes these trends work so well.
I remember tagging people on MySpace, of all places. Back when social media was young, tagging was also a great way to attract new eyeballs and followers into your network (including potential clients), and to learn a little more about the people you follow, too.
In 2007, one was started, titled, “Why do I blog?”
I’ve been tagged in the past, and this is something I really like (and still do in 2020). It allows me to peek inside the minds, lives, and businesses of other people I admire or follow. In this case, it also gives me a great deal of insight into why blogs are so popular — and how they can be used as marketing tools.
So, to that end, here are my answers.
I blog because blogging, as a platform, is a perfect content delivery system and an effective tool for content marketing. It’s a form of content management and many content management systems, like WordPress, have evolved to become the platform behind many websites.
It helps to flesh out and structure my ideas, and categorize them in a way that’s easy to file, navigate, and read. Whether it’s posting articles or just news pieces about me and my business, I can organize the content in a way that helps me write and in the best way possible for my readers, too.
I have ADHD, so blogging makes perfect sense.
I use it as a tool. I struggle with unconnected notekeeping systems, and I hate having multiple locations to keep track of things. But blogging allows me to plan, organize, and communicate my thoughts from one central location.
Other than Google Keep, I use my blog (and specifically WordPress), where I can put ideas in draft mode, including links and images, that I was to flesh out more and turn into blog posts. This process reminds me of what I blogged about, what I want to blog about, and what I missed and need to cover.
I talked about how I structure my blog posts. Putting them into a blogging platform makes this process a lot easier. I also use the blog’s tools like Rank Math or Yoast to see the SEO score of my articles, any suggestions for internal links, and a checklist for each blog post.
I blog because it’s a great way to do research, to find out what people want and how they want it, and to ask questions from which I learn a great deal. I use it to ask questions, gain insights, and quiz users on what they like or wish they had.
I’m a perpetual student, and using a blog as a means to cull feedback from readers (or to incite or continue conversations going on in the blogosphere) gives me tremendous insights I would never be able to get otherwise. A great example was this blogging experiment that failed by Rand Fishkin.
But more importantly, using SEO tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, I can easily see what blog posts are getting the most traffic and traction (i.e., the most impressions and clickthroughs). This gives me great insights into what my market wants and responds well to.
It’s also a great way to test new ideas and perhaps products, too. I once heard Jonathan Stark and Rochelle Moulton, on their Business of Authority podcast (which I love), talk about “test with a tweet.” It’s an idea they got from Paul Jarvis, creator of Fathom analytics.
The idea is, before launching a product or service full-scale, test it with a tweet to see the kinds of responses you might get.
Similarly, I can often test with a blog post. In fact, I’ve done that several times already. It was through my blog that I’ve launched several coaching programs in the past, and even used it to define features and even pricing.
Writing clears my thinking. It’s partly therapeutic and partly exploratory. Like journaling, I come across an idea and blog about it, which helps me to define it or refine it more. In fact, that was the original intent behind blogging. In 1994, it was a way of logging the web, or weblog (shortened to “blog”) as it grew.
Like any journal, sometimes I write about events during which I even stumble onto insights. Other times, it’s my little soapbox in my corner of the Internet, and it gives me a chance to tell the world sometimes how I feel about things.
Social media can often be a great place to put ideas out and test the waters. But you don’t own social media. It can shut down (or shut you out) in the blink of an eye. So I prefer to use it as a testing ground of things I want to blog about, or as a way to amplify content that I published to my blog.
Philip Morgan, in his Expertise Incubator series, talks about writing daily to your blog or list as a way to cultivate expertise. He uses a great example of Jim Thornton, another SEO expert and content strategist like myself, who teaches a technique called “thinking through content.”
This is precisely what blogging allows me to do.
In this sense, it’s like journaling but with a purpose, a goal, and an audience. And with the constant feedback I get (either in terms of engagement or data through analytics), I can easily see if I’m on the right path.
I blog because it’s a great way to teach what I love. And I love:
- copywriting, and
By optimization, I mean search engine optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), and user experience optimization (UXO).
Blogging allows me to reach more people. But it’s also a great teaching platform, too. The fact that you can add content from different modalities (i.e., video, audio, images, quizzes, etc) makes it not just a unidirectional form of communication, but also, directly and indirectly, a conversational one, too.
I have always been a teacher at heart. I grew up in a family of teachers and even taught part-time at a local college (i.e., marketing management and web design). Blogging is what got me the teaching gig in the first place. The head of the school of business noticed me and hired me. (RIP, Wayne McIntyre.)
I’ve published several teaching products over the years, too. Many of them came from, were the result of, or were delivered through blogging. Some schools even use blogging as a way to teach, and some teachers encourage students to use blogging as a learning modality.
As a professional, by teaching others you showcase your expertise without the need to flaunt it. Well, you are flaunting it but it doesn’t appear as bragging, promotional, or overtly self-serving. This type of flaunting is far more effective, impactful, and believable, too. It’s implied rather than specified.
Finally, writing in a journal is something I’ve done for years. But while I may be teaching others, I’m also learning, too. I do so for two reasons.
First, I learn about my industry, my field of expertise, by being forced to stay on top of my game. Whether it’s being subscribed to a lot of content from various content providers and experts, or it’s researching a topic I want to blog about, I’m constantly learning and honing my craft.
Second, I learn about myself — and my talents, skills, and expertise. Journaling is a process of self-study and self-discovery. But it’s also a tool for self-directed learning. By blogging, I set goals on the things I want to learn and teach, and items that pique my curiosity that might also be helpful to my users.
Speaking of curiosity, I think the best take on the concept of “follow your passion,” which has been said to be bad advice for a number of reasons I won’t get into here, is that it’s better to follow your curiosity, not your passion.
When I look back at my life, I have to agree.
Passion is not always obvious. It can also be misleading. My recent ADHD diagnosis explains my creativity and desire to solve problems. But before, I didn’t know. So blogging was a tool to learn what I’m passionate about.
Just as it did me, blogging will allow you to discover a) what you’re more curious about and b) more about what you’re curious.
So blog on.