Case Study: Value-Based Blogging
Today I want to open up the guts of this blog and show you with stats, number and benchmarks the return of a value-based approach to blogging. My hope is that my transparency and openness will inspire you to go away and stop competing for retweets in the volume-based game and grasp what rich relationship and real return awaits you if you can get away from vanity and into community.
The image below is a screen shot of the last 7 posts on this blog in PostRank’s Analytics platform. We’ll discuss this tool a bit more in a moment, but the main features are that it tracks the number of engagements per post – most pertinently, the number of Tweets, Google Buzzes, Delicious Bookmarks and other social networks, in addition to unique visitors, reading time, etc.
Look and see how many comments this post gets, compared to how many tweets:
This isn’t just a trend over the last week. Almost every post I write has more comments than tweets. Also look at the reading times. I’ve highlighted the highest ones. This average time means people are reading the posts and reading the comments.
This means that my RSS subscribers are the real source of engagement for me. According to Feedburner, I have 148 people subscribed in Google Reader, and 48 who have subscribed to this blog in email.
So, time for some analysis:
Value Analysis 1: Keep Your Retweeets
A value based blog doesn’t need lots of retweets to get engagement. I want you and need you to understand right now that whilst more tweets about your posts will get it more coverage, lots of retweets are not necessary for and do not guarantee engagement.
If you were to ask me for my number one metric of success on my blog, I’d tell you instantly it’s comments. It’s the number of the them, and it’s the depth of them – because it means we actually have participation, not just blind retweeting.
Value Analysis 2: Backwards Engagement
According to PostRank, “80% of the conversations about your content happen off-site” (link.) Well, PostRank tels me that for my blog, 60% of the conversations about my content happen on-site. Value-based blogged is totally contradictory to standard volume-based blogging. The engagement is totally the other way around.
I don’t know of any top blog that gets more comments than retweets. In fact that only other blog that I can find that does is Robin Dickinson’s blog.
There are sometimes when admittedly, I wish I had more retweets. Sometimes it annoys me to see how many shallow blogs get so much coverage. But I will tell you this: no blog post that has received lots of retweets on my blog has ever had lots of comments.
80% engagement off your site is … well … worthless in my opinion.
Value Analysis 3: It Works
It’s one thing talking about a value-based blog if in actual fact it didn’t work. But it does. On an average of 10 tweets per post and 15 comments per post, this blog:
- This is the 5th ranked blog on leadership on PostRank (last week I was #3)
- This is the 2nd ranked blog on social business on PostRank and 9th ranked for social media marketing.
- This is 185th ranked marketing blog on the AdAge Power150 (I would be higher if more people linked here. My InLink score is very low.)
For 10 tweets, this is very good. Most of the blogs on AdAge get a very high number of tweets per post. My AdAge rank is lower, as it takes PostRank (which focusses on engagement), and also considers other measurement platforms that track InLinks, volume of tweets, etc.
But more than these stats, the proof it works is that Like Minds works and engages hundreds of people because of the discussions we have here. It works because someone saw this blog and was so warmly invited when they commented that they saw a link to the Like Minds Club and bought membership right away. It’s also got me a lot of recognition and love.
It works because authors have found the ideas here (that we formed together through the comments), and put them in their books (they tell me so!) It works because the thing that we discuss have changed lives.
Your Leading Thoughts
I know I’ve kind of preached us full here – but there is room for a very important discussion here. Many of you guys are likely discouraged, distracted by wanting to get your content recognised with retweets and such. I’m keen to know
- If you’ve been blogging for 6 months and over, what are your statistics on engagement?
- Be honest – how much are tweets and ‘attention’ a motivator for you?
- Where on the web do you enjoy engaging in value-based blogs?