Like many of you, I read a decent amount during the day. I read the newspaper. I read emails. I read news sites.
And I read blogs.
I use Feedly to aggregate all the blogs I read. I organize them by categories: MN blogs, advertising blogs, PR blogs, content blogs.
And social media blogs.
I read these blogs because I need to stay on top of what’s happening in our industry–the same reason many of you read these blogs.
But, over the last number of months, I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the landscape of social media blogs.
Just so many rehashed posts. People and companies trying to game the system. People and companies just looking for a click.
For example, how many times do we have to see a post with this kind of headline before our heads explode? Was this really written in 2015?
How to Get Your First 1,000 Real Facebook Fans (Infographic)
And, how many more times do we need to restate this post? I mean, I know blogging is still new to some people/companies, but c’mon now…
How to Start a Successful Blog…Today!
And, for the love of God, how many more “47 tips from the top social media pros” posts do we need? Especially when they feature THE EXACT SAME PEOPLE EVERY TIME!!! Holy hell–don’t get me started (and, I used to be guilty of this approach, so I’m fully aware of the why and reasoning behind the posts).
67 Insights from the Worlds Top Digital Marketing Experts
Then, you have a slew of blogs created by agencies and vendors. Which, on its own, would be fine. Until you dig a little deeper and figure out many of these posts are written by 23-year-old kids almost straight out of college. Now, that’s no crime. Kids coming out of school today impress the hell out of me. Much smarter than I was at 23. Except, I’m 42 now. And, I’m looking for insights and analysis from people who have been in the business a while. People with marketing chops. People with experience. People who have been in digital marketing longer than a couple years.
So, needless to say I’m frustrated. And, to be clear, I do still enjoy some of these blogs despite some of the drawbacks.
But, it really is tough to find truly good social media blogs that: 1) Aren’t entirely self-serving and overly promotional, 2) Written by people with credibility in the industry, and 3) Written with some actual thought and analysis.
Now, there are a handful of blogs that I read regularly that I do believe hit on these key criteria. And, they’re blogs I read religiously as a result. They provide thoughtful analysis. New ideas. And bold thinking.
THAT’S what I want from a social media blog. And I get it from these folks.
Mark Schaefer, Grow
I’d love to hear more from Mark–he features a lot of guest posts on his blog. But, I know he’s a busy guy. Mark’s posts are insightful, interesting and often times, well ahead of the curve (see his “Content Shock” post from 2014 here).
Contently, The Content Strategist
Although this is a pretty self-serving blog, I still usually really enjoy it. Mostly because Contently tackles virtually every angle of the world of content marketing. And, they usually do it in a very interesting way. Although I’m not a big fan of every post they make (don’t love the comics lately). I do love the case study posts and their prediction posts (even though I frequently disagree with them).
Shelly Kramer, V3B blog
Love her weekly round-ups (a must read for all), and also love the fact that Shelly is doing most of the posting. One of the few who really writes a lot anymore across the social web.
Jay Baer, Convince & Convert
I’ve been a big fan of Jay’s work for quite a while (dating back to probably about 2009). Much like Mark, we don’t hear from him often enough (even though he’s doing a lot of video and podcasting recently). I still prefer the old 1,000-word blog posts he used to churn out on any number of topics. Today, we get more guest posts–which are still fairly good, but I’d love to hear more about Jay’s thinking. Still a great blog to keep tabs on.
If you’re reading this blog and/or you work in PR/marketing, you have probably heard of the blogs above. But, how do you find other blogs LIKE these blogs that could potentially make you smarter about your job and the world of digital and social media marketing? I think a few key steps would go a long ways:
Do a little digging on the author
Research the author. Heck, just looking up their LinkedIn profile will probably tell you enough. Do they have experience in the field? Are they an author trying to sell a book (automatic skip for me–in most cases)? Are they truly credible? This step should narrow down your reading field substantially based on what I see online these days.
Is their heart in the right spot?
I know, this is fairly subjective. But, it matters for me. For example–Mark Schaefer. Is Mark trying to make money through his blog? No question. But, does that drive everything he writes about? No. Does he try to help make the industry a better place through his writings? I think so. Does he care about his community of readers? Just go sift through the comments some time. I think the motivations of the blogger matter. Sure, most of them/us are doing this because of money in one way, shape or form. But, for the good ones, that’s not THE reason–it’s just one reason. There is a difference.
Hands-on vs. Pontificator?
This has been a big beef of mine for years. The bloggers who “pontificate”, but rarely get their hands dirty with the day-to-day work. Not going to name any names here, but we all know there are plenty of folks in this boat. The folks I really admire and appreciate really do both. They theorize, but then they also back it up by actually working with clients (Gini Dietrich and Shelly Kramer come to mind here). Find the bloggers who do both–not just one.