The blog titled Copyblogger is invaluable for web designers, public relations professionals, marketing and communications departments, virtually anyone who is involved in external business communications. Copyblogger has been successful in creating a community around industry professionals, people who really are interested in sharing ideas and learning from one another. The whole idea is that you will be a better employee and be able to add more value to your company by becoming an active, engaged member of the Copyblogger community. After reading some of the blogs and discussion boards, I cannot argue with this mission, as there is plenty of valuable information available. I am going to focus on the following two blogs, which have generated a massive response of comments, launching a community of followers that has grown to make both original posts even stronger.
The landing page is the place businesses send consumers when they really want them to take action. The landing page is critical because it is likely site that gets the most traffic, and therefore should be the most attractive, giving the audience a reason to read on, sign up, or purchase. This post highlights the five most common mistakes that companies commit when creating landing pages, including blowing the headline or asking for too much. With the large number of responses that this original post generated, it is easy to see how people feel strongly about their landing pages and how to use them effectively. What I find ironic about the sense of community is how ultimately the experts in this field are in competition (either their own landing pages competing for eyeballs with one another or their service firms competing for traffic), yet most are completely open to sharing their secrets, strategies, and sources of information.
This thread has definitely added value for the original blog post. Landing pages are obviously a “hot,” debatable subject, so the more opinions that can be bounced off of each other the stronger the pool of information will become. Although Brian Clark made some simple, sticky points in his original post, he inevitably left out some aspects of the subject due to its brief nature. When a blog turns into a discussion board, it creates a two-way relationship, meaning that while the community of comments may fill gaps in his original post, the people in this community who concur with his original points will also work to solidify his credibility. Most of the people commenting are digital professionals, who may or may not have well-known names, but certainly possess clout in the industry. In this sense, these communication boards can not only serve as knowledge bases, but also portals for industry networking.
The discussion board has evolved into a question and answer board in some instances, where in one instance a follower asks for Brian’s professional opinion on a product that is most compatible with WordPress. This demonstrates additional value created by the community, since many followers are likely to have similar questions and needs that must be addressed, and the discussion board facilitates information sharing. Although discussion boards can be abused and used to “plug” new products, people involved in this discourse have recommended manuals specifically on the subject of crafting landing pages. Therefore, these boards are serving not only as a place for people to seek answers, but also to provide sources for digger deeping on the subject.
The 50 ways to think of blog topics post is incredibly interactive, as everyone wants to give their takes on how they are inspired to write. I particularly like the woman who says she will go to a food court at a mall and listen in to other people’s conversations in order to try to generate content. Blogging is an art, mainly in the sense that it can be mastered but never perfected. It is no different than any other art, where everyone does it their own way, but while watching everyone else and taking notes. The best way to get better is to embrace what you like from observing one person and dismiss the rest, and continue this process until you have built your own, unique blogging content and style.
Some notable bloggers have commented that they plan on printing out the original post and displaying it on their desk to inspire them! Comments like this ultimately transfer a great deal of credibility to the original post, thus adding value to it, especially for someone who may be new to blogging and not as familiar with these types of circles. Many of the same people do reappear in the discussion boards, demonstrating that the discussion board it is not a random collection of comments, but truly a circular community that cares.
In conclusion, any platform that encourages information and opinion sharing, as well as collaboration among creative and imaginative processes, is ultimately better for the blogging industry at large. This is especially true when the blog is about blog strategy, such as Coppyblogger. The saying, “All boats rise with the tide” is certainly applicable to blogging, since as individuals become better bloggers it lifts the bar higher for everyone else. Therefore, blogs about blogs beget better blogs, and the process evolves….