Monday, July 9

Measuring Success: Image Empowering

Updated weekly, it might take months before the Image Empowering blog by Stephanie Bivona ever makes the blogger B list, let alone the mythical A list. But does it really matter?

Not for Bivona. Her business strategy for Image Empowering drives her blog; her blog does not drive her business or its message. Her post today reflects this thinking — "The Law of Attraction" as popularized by The Secret suggests that our thoughts manifest what we have.

Although The Secret repackages "The Law of Attraction" and gives it a fresh look, the idea is not a new one. It has been around for a very, very long time with the concept interwoven into almost every pearl of wisdom ever written. In fact, it might even be scientifically provable within the context of quantum physics.

Applying “The Law of Attraction" is also pretty good at debunking the myth of how some people measure social media success, especially among blogs. You see, I know Bivona’s blog will achieve all of its objectives despite never chasing traffic or blog rankings for one simple reason.

As one of our new social media clients, Bivona knows that the success of her blog or any future social media project is that traffic or artificially created rankings are myths being pushed by those who benefit from them the most.

The only people who seem to forward such discussions like A-List Bloglebrity, which uses Technorati to determine your standing in the blog community, are those who already have some rank. (Bloglebrity is similar to the equally popular What’s Your Blog Worth or even Alexa traffic ranking for that matter.)

While these measures are fine for virtual water cooler conversations, it’s silly to think they mean much more than that. Case in point: when this blog broke the top 40,000 on Alexa for a few days, we noticed the average length of time our readership stayed on the blog was reduced from 4-5 minutes to a mere 60 seconds. So what did we really achieve? Not much more than what I just mentioned — it’s an interesting water cooler conversation and opportunity to compare the power of one post to a direct mail postcard.

So while we thought it was pretty nifty, we also know that generating traffic and inflating page rank is pretty easy to do. We know all the tricks used by others, ranging from slanted SEO writing (even if the sentence structure makes no sense) and echoing other blogs (by adding gratuitous links) to weighing in on controversial topics (especially if you take a minority view) and being painfully trollish (like calling people names in the comment sections). For our part, we don’t employ these tactics (though SEO writing seems to come natural) because like Bivona, we’re not after traffic for the sake of traffic nor blog rank for the sake of blog rank.

You see, Bivona is not chasing traffic or blog rank; she’s attracting clientele and creating a means to provide constant contact with her existing clients. Thus, her blog becomes a multi-faceted tool that she has employed as a means to that end. Sure, casual visitors might benefit as her weekly posts shed some light on the importance of empowering your personal image.

Yet, her decision to enter social media was not to become an “A-list blogger,” which would require a different strategy all together. Instead, her blog provides an efficient and effective means to brand her full-service image consulting firm, which is her second business (she also owns a successful practice that buys and sells other companies). We’re even retained to play a part in its development; taking care of some details so she can focus on her clients.

Some of this fits in with this blog too. While our strategy is a bit different than Image Empowering, it’s no less dismissive of traffic or blog rank for the sake of traffic and blog rank. We believe, like any successful business does, that it is best to measure results that match your objectives, whether those outcomes are profitability, market share, niche dominance, or any other measure. In other words, it might be tempting to jump on the traffic and blog rank train, but doing so might produce the opposite of what you desire.

But isn’t that the way it is with everything? When you begin to adopt other people’s measures of success — blog ranking, traffic ranking, attractiveness, self-confidence, wealth, whatever — you run the risk eroding your business strategy (or self-confidence) because one size or measure of success does not fit all.



Sweet Tea on 7/9/07, 1:20 PM said...

Wow! This is very interesting! Just this weekend I must have read 100 posts from people wanting to know how to get traffic, how to get A-listers to notice you, etc.
The problem for me is that I want to attract people to my blog for a particular purpose yet I don't know who those people are. They could be moms, businessmen, teenagers, senior citizens, anybody. I feel like I have to be everywhere to get as much traffic as possible. If I can get them there then they might like it.
So, while I'm not concerned about rank or the A-list I am concerned about traffic. Maybe it'd be easier if I did a blog that told others how to get traffic.
Thanks for the information and it's good to see you back.

Rich on 7/9/07, 2:22 PM said...

Hey JS,

Thanks. Yes, there is a lot of concern about how to get A-listers to notice you. We know how. It's not hard, but it doesn't fit our strategy.

Really, the thing to ask yourself is what is the objective of your blog. If it is to generate traffic, then that's easy. It it is to augment your business strategy, then that might not be as easy.

You're right. If you wrote a blog about how to gain ranking or generate traffic (because they are tied together), then you would likely have a successful traffic generating blog. To what end? I don't know.

Ironically, we have pretty good rank and traffic, but it is not because we chase rank or traffic (though we appreciate the links and visits of course). What we do is focus on content, and the rest takes care of itself. There have been a few posts that were designed to chase traffic and page rank, but the results were never what we wanted.

And thanks, btw, it's good to be back. We're refreshed and ready to work. Happy Monday! :)


Geoff_Livingston on 7/9/07, 3:54 PM said...

A-listers, B-listers, does it really match the end communications strategy? I think the type of community members should be the issue. If they come, the a-listers inevitably follow.

Rich on 7/9/07, 4:53 PM said...

You are exactly right Geoff.

As a point of interest, the method for determining "Bloglebrity" is pretty clear ...

A List: 500+ blogs linking in the last 6 months
B List: 100-499 blogs linking in the last 6 months
C List: 10-99 blogs linking in the last 6 months
D List: 3-9 blogs linking in the last 6 months

I kind of liken this to advertising awards. Awards should be the sequel to great results, never the pilots. Does it feel great to get one? You bet. But it feels even better to receive an call from a client who says ... we increased revenue by 43 percent last quarter and it's attributed to the job you did.

Blogs linking in the last 6 months is not much different. It feels a whole lot better when you know your being sourced for a great post rather than being asked to swap. At least I think so; I'm less sure about measuring the type of reader as gage of the blog quality. I think that depends on the blog and its target audience.

But maybe that's something we can save for debate on myRagan Geoff. (Geoff and I are about to test run a joint group discussion on myRagan). We'll announce it as soon as we square of any last minute details, but it's sure to be entertaining if not educational.



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