My good friend Liz Strauss was in the UK recently and shared a little the other day about her experience at City University while she was over there. While she was there she was asked an excellent question.
What is a blog’s competition?
Normally I come up with answers to questions about blogging fairly quickly but this one made me think. Quite a bit.
Because there isn’t one easy answer.
The reason the question isn’t easily answered is that blogs are simply tools. It would be like asking “What is a hammer’s competition?”
Um, it depends… on what you want to accomplish with your hammer.
I went looking in my toolbox out in the garage and I found a cool baker’s dozen hammers in my hammer drawer. (Yes I have a hammer drawer. Give me a Tim Allen grunt!)
Most of these I inherited from my father in law not too long ago. And I confess there are a couple there that I haven’t the slightest idea what they’re for. But I’m sure they may come in handy one day!
Depending on the job at hand the “competition” for a hammer could be a nail gun, a screwdriver, a wrecking ball, a metal stamping machine or even high explosives.
Blogs Are Tools
Like hammers, blogs are tools. Specifically blogs are web publishing platforms. And just like hammers, blogs can be used for vastly different purposes.
Depending on the needs and intention of the blog owner, the blog might be “in competition” with a whole slew of things. For example here are some things I can see a blog possibly “competing” with.
- Traditional static web sites
- Old media advertising
- Web advertising
- Search engine optimization efforts
- Book publishing
- Email newsletters
- Forums & message boards
- Old media outlets
- Other blogs
But With a Twist
But check this out. Blogs can be integrated into a business or marketing plan in such a way that they become complimentary to any or all of the above.
That’s one of the beauties I find with blogs as a tool to support business – they can compound other marketing efforts to produce much larger overall results.
Blogs are very versatile platforms for web publishing. They’re sort of like the Leatherman of the web. They do a lot of things well and some folks can get one to replace a whole lot of other tools.
There are other folks who will still want to keep their tool box fully equipped with specialized tools. Sure they may keep their Leatherman handy on their belt for everyday use. But they don’t want to give up the precision of just the right tool for each specific job.
In the same way properly implemented blogs can be used either in lieu of, or in addition to, any of the things I listed above.
That makes blogs fairly unique on the web. And it’s a big reason why I’m not afraid of them succumbing to competition anytime soon.