IAN GREENLEIGH

Author | Marketer | Speaker

I help companies turn data, ideas and relationships into reach and influence. 

Blogging in the dark: The vital data no one has (or talks about)

Blogging in the dark There’s something that’s been bugging me lately, big time. It’s not your average annoyance, or mild setback. It’s a huge problem for all of us in social media marketing, but no one seems to say much of anything about it.

Let me illustrate the issue with a real-life scenario, though there are countless others:

You’re hired as a social media manager or consultant to a company that sells something, B2B or B2C—whichever. Dreaming up a social strategy to generate conversions from qualified prospects (email subscriptions, webinar registrations, contact form submits, etc.) to fill the pipeline for your company’s overall sales and marketing efforts is central to your job description.

Because you’re smart, you know that simply creating and distributing content on your own blog is only half the story when it comes to blogs. Outreach in the form of blogger relationship building, commenting and guest posting form the other half. Of course there’s more, but let’s keep it simple and continue…

So, which bloggers do you engage with, and where do you comment? You can find blogs that other bloggers say are the best in your industry. You can look at lists like The Power 150 that are informed by a mix of data, including traffic and external links. You can piece together which others think are the most important in just about any niche you’re trying to market to, but you’ll be comparing apples and oranges.

The truth is, no matter what numbers you look at, the numbers that should really matter to you simply aren’t there. Anywhere. Because you want to be on the blogs your prospects are on.

Who reads these blogs?

I don’t mean how many people. I don’t mean from where their IP addresses originate. I mean:

  • What industries do they work in?
  • What are their job titles and/or roles?
  • How often to they read this blog?
  • How influential is this blog to them, and how much do they trust what’s on it?
  • What other blogs do they read?

Try finding that information. It’s simply not there. So how do I back my decisions, as relate to external blogs, with data? I don’t.

If you were a media buyer for television campaigns, you would know where to place your ads. All the data would be there—who watches what programs at what times on what channels. It’s why you see ads for for-profit colleges on daytime TV.

Lots of other web marketing strategies can be backed by data. Search ads can be informed by myriad useful numbers. The decision to purchase banner or interactive ads on 3rd party websites is usually based on data provided by the site owner on audience.

So why not blogs?

We need a Nielsen of blog audiences.

I've tried in vain for months to locate a single useful source for blog readership demographics.Yes, it would be difficult to create. But it would also be insanely lucrative, and incredibly helpful to those of us in the industry (and the DIYers).

Until then, we're just blogging in the dark.

Why don't you think we have this tool and/or service? Am I missing something? Or is this data far less important than I believe it to be?

© 2016 Ian Greenleigh