Google released a product called Google Blog Compass (link broken as Google decommissioned the service; removed) that is supposed to help bloggers know what to write. Sounds like a great idea, right? Now you’ll know what to write that people will want to read.
But I think there’s something off-putting about this notion that we should write to gain readership, especially if you are a personal blogger writing for fun and not for fame or business.
There are only a few reasons people keep blogs:
- As an indie publishing house, smaller in scale than the New York Times and news networks (eg. Vice, Vox)
- As part of a business strategy to carry out what is now widely known as content marketing, to drive inbound leads to buy stuff on your site
- As space to publicly share one’s ideas, thoughts, opinions, and subjective experiences which can be shared with people when desired and, potentially, serve as a logbook of one’s life
- As a way to gain hollow follower-ship by pandering to people’s attraction to drama and sensational information
Google’s new blog compass app may be helpful for people in groups one, two, and especially four. I think I belong to the third group, so it isn’t useful to me.
The world is noisy, though, and I’ve met several people who have presented the idea to me that I should “monetise” my blog by driving up readership with a proper content marketing strategy and selling products or ad space. On at least a few occasions, I’ve given it serious thought.
But that would potentially rob me of the joy of being able to write to no one in particular when I want to. So you, the reader, would, instead of observing a person having fun in his own little corner of the world, be part of a transaction in this blog.
I’m not sure I want that for this blog, and I hope nobody manages to convince me otherwise.
Also, it seems like at least TechCrunch thinks the same about the futility of chasing trending topics to write about.
Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash.