Is social media driving traffic to blogs?
Posted by bngeenen
Blogging for my work organization
I am an idea contributor to the UW-Madison Department of Mechanical Engineering blog as part of my full time duties in my current position. This blog is rebranded on our website as “Department News” highlighting stories about our faculty research contributions, student group successes, and alumni stories. It is entirely composed of articles, there are no videos, podcasts, or other forms of media listed.
The blog itself is separated into content categories of alumni, awards, educational innovation, faculty, in the media, newsnotes, perspective, research, student services, students, uncategorized, and Wisconsin Idea. Each article is tagged with one or many of these items based on what it relates to. Additionally, each article is tagged with the primary or affiliated departments (i.e. Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering) for the specific topic.
I am not the primary contributor to this blog. We have a fully developed External Relations Team housed within the College of Engineering whose primary job is to find and tell these stories about the College of Engineering. My role comes in two-fold, 1) when the idea is just an idea and 2) when the newspiece is produced. I am a collector of information from faculty, students, and alumni and I share that information with our External Relations Team. I make sure that those individuals are informed of the story idea, the important contacts for getting the information, and any photography that might accompany the story. Once our External Relations Team produces the piece, I share the story on our Department of Mechanical Engineering Facebook page.
Sharing blogs to social channels
As mentioned, once a blog is created it is my responsibility to share the information to our Facebook channel. The article “What Blogging Has Become” by Robinson Meyer discusses the organization of old blogs in “reverse-chronological order” within a connecting set of topics. However, now with Twitter and Facebook there is a whole new tone to blogging. Meyers says, “They [Twitter and Facebook] made blogging easier, because a writer didn’t have to attract and maintain a consistent audience in the same way anymore… they were supposed to bring it’s attendant emancipation to the masses” (“What Blogging Has Become”). I totally agree with that. When I am posting the blog posts our team created to our social channels, I already know I have an engaged audience. The followers of my page have some interest already in what I am posting, and in turn are following these social posts to the blog page of our website. It seems clear at this moment, that Facebook is driving traffic to the website, not vice versa. It will be interesting to see how this is affected as the social media landscape continues to shift. As Meyer’s highlights in this article, the social channels organizations are using is one of the primary contributors to driving traffic to blogs today.
Beyond participating in my organization’s blog, I do not have any other online blog presence. I do occasionally visit blogs, primarily thanks to Pinterest, where I click on pins that typically lead me to a individual’s blog post who is sharing a recipe, fashion advice, or home decorating tips. Blogging is a much different art form than social media, where I am heavily present. Whereas some individuals dive into their blog, it is much more likely that peers will see me on social channels like Snapchat and Instagram.
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