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Learning Lessons About Successful Blogging by Getting Nostalgic about Blogs

Blogging sure has come a long way in a (relatively) short time, as have many aspects of our digital lives. In our virtual panel discussion with some marketing professionals, “The State of Blogging ROI in an Age of Content Shock,” we got the chance to discuss some of these changes and the impact they have on organizations who use or intend to use blogging as a way of connecting with their communities and driving business.

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From the humble early web log to modern media disruptor, the blog as we know it today has gone through a fair number of changes. We asked our panelists get nostalgic and think back to those early days (in internet years) and discuss some of their first encounters with blogs in the process of understanding what changes we could mark over time.

Keidra Chaney, editor of the blog The Learned Fangirl and writer for Citizen Engagement Lab, remembers her first experience with blogs in the context of being a part of a community of content creators.

“A lot of the blogs that I followed at the beginning were all personal blogs. I had a personal blog of my own and would just basically read other people's lives and life stories. Many people that I first started reading as a blogger eventually became real life friends. So, for me that early blogging community was less about kind of reading a blog as a consumer and more finding somebody to interact with via the blogs [and] posts that we were creating. I think the biggest change now is that you don't really see that many personal bloggers anymore. When I first started paying attention to blogging, it was all personal bloggers, and now it's a much different way of communicating in the age of social media.”


Hana Abaza of Uberflip reflects on an early blogging success story involving Kissmetrics. 

“One was Eric Ries' blog, which I'm sure you guys are familiar with. The other one is Steve Blank's blog and then the Kissmetrics blog, actually. I think Kissmetrics has done a phenomenal job with their content, but they actually did that really early on. I remember, like years and years ago, I [think] I bookmarked the entire Kissmetrics blog at that point. And it is almost as though their blogging was superseding their product. I think a lot of people knew them as sort of a content company, and they're like, 'Oh yeah, that blog Kissmetrics.' But they didn't fully realize there was actually a SaaS product behind that, which I think is pretty interesting. I definitely got a lot of value [from] that in my younger days.”


Kalle Eko from MacArthur Foundation reflects on some of the ways that blogging has changed in recent years. 

“One of the things that I really like and miss about the old Freakonomics blog is that, one of the things you could do was really kind of go back and, post by post, kind of follow things along that way in a very chronological format. Which I think is something that, in the age of like Facebook and Twitter, you're not expected to see all of everyone's posts all at the same time. It's interesting to see that evolution and see where traffic is coming from and how different blogs have evolved in that kind of that area.”


Audrey Schroder, Global Community Manager for McDonald's, shares her POV on some of the attributes that a successful business blog should seek to have. 

“It was kind of fun to think back about the very first blog that I read. I was working for a public relations firm in the early 2000s and came across [the author] Claire Bidwell Smith. Her blog was just a million different topics. I was pitching her a restaurant client of mine. I wanted to read her blog to get her style and see the kinds of things that she was interested in blogging about in regards to food and restaurants. The first blogs that I really got good value from as far as learning [were] Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today and Sprout Social. I really like all three of those; they are just very detailed, and their articles really go in depth, so that when you're done reading you can walk away with a lot of information, and it's not fluff material.”


What are some of the earlier blogs you remember encountering? How do you think things have changed? Let us know in the comments below. You should also check out the full session from our virtual panel discussion if you haven't already. 

About the Author

Doug Miller
Doug Miller
When working at WSOL as a Senior Marketing Strategist, Doug provided strategic assistance to our business clients, working with them to implement inbound marketing methodologies. He is passionate about digital social objects and their ecosystems, storytelling, and crafting good user experiences. He believes it is important to treat human attention sustainably, as an exhaustible resource. When he's not working, Doug likes photography, science fiction, making music, hiking, and being a dad of 2 awesome kids.