If you listen to the masses, you can only enjoy success in your blogging if you’ve got pageviews. The establishment has been setup this way and the theory is shoved down our throats from the very first day we start blogging. This theory is peddled by advertisers looking for impressions, the elbowing that occurs among bloggers trying to display their endowment and networks who build their businesses on such (Disclaimer: I work for a blog network).
I wonder if the whole establishment is backwards though.
I think the real value for bloggers, particularly business bloggers but also personal bloggers on a different level, is in the ability to “convert” readers and make them “buy in”. The old adage that “content is king” is usually used in the debate over the importance of aesthetics over the importance of hard, quality content. I think, however, that “content is king” really counteracts the establishmentarian mindset that the real value in having a blog is in the traffic that it sees.
As time goes on, it is becoming increasingly difficult to follow the breadcrumbs to where and how your content is being used. On the nefarious side, content scrapers are lifting RSS feeds and blatantly repurposing them into splogs, or spam blogs. On the completely legitimate side, content is being consumed into applications sitting behind corporate firewalls or used in industry newsletters (I can think of one such case where my content is being used in a low-tech email distribution to lawyers trying to understand social media).
This stuff can’t be tracked, and you can bet that a large portion of those eyeballs never lay their eyes on my site. Does my content be become devalued to advertisers and readers if those eyeballs never rest on my site? I think not.
Businesses have to understand that ideas are, by nature, open source and that the content they write will represent them, no matter where or how it is being used. I’ve come to a point where I don’t care if spammers use my content, because at the end of the day, I remain the authority on the topic and my reach is increased. My content is all distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 so, while spammers are not explicitly permitted to take my content and repurpose it, I am overtly encouraging the use of my content to extend my reach.
And that’s where the value comes in. Reach allows you to influence and shape the minds of others outside of what you would normally reach. If you insist on stipulating the use of your content from within the comfort of the four walls of your blog, you will reach your target audience, but you’ll never influence anyone outside of your target market.
Reach gives you the chance to develop new business, become a thought leader outside of your market, and extend your influence. The internet is increasingly becoming more open, despite the best efforts of over-reaching government. Just as newspapers have to deal with more people getting their news online than ever before, you have to deal with the the fact that more and more people are reading your content and engaging your ideas in unknown centers of the globe. To the winner go the spoils.