This is an edited repost of an article originally posted on Nancy’s personal blog in May 2013.
Do you every ask yourself, who am I helping with my participation in this ad campaign or blogging network? Perhaps you should. Helping yourself, helping your community, and helping global corporations all have very different reward structures and consequences.
Types of Strategic Promotion
This is the second post in a series of posts on the big issues that we bloggers sometimes overlook, or nudge out of sight, but that continue to exist when we must choose between ourselves, our network and community, or a client as we make marketing choices.
In the business world we break out tangible and intangible assets. When we are close to something myopia can kick in and we literally see only trees and not a collective forest entity. I like to think that intangibles exist in the world of forests, interconnections, and processes. It is a world that is difficult to describe but composed of the most intriguing aspects of life. It is where mother love exists, where an appreciation for narrative whether in Homer or flash fiction grows, and the tension between cost and value reside.
Before any person can make informed choices about the procedural details of running a business or publishing a blog, some cohesive structure or framework should exist so that pieces of work may be woven into structure of the identity you are building. Yep, your business or blog has an identity; it is that identity that lives in the world of markets and products. This would be a great segue into a discussion about corporate personhood, but that remains for another day.
The first choice about identity you make is whether your business will be part of your identity or whether you are creating a business into which you will fit. Most people work for someone else, so, once they decide a type of work to which they will dedicate themselves in life, they create the boundaries within which their work selves will operate. Truly small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, writers, and a small group of other creative producers work outside the bounds of being a laborer for anyone other than themselves. So these folks do not agree to work within an already existing structure. If you do not create guidelines or infrastructure consciously you will draw from some model that you have seen or used in the past and you may not even be aware of doing so. You might also be inadvertently sucked in to supporting a corporation that works against much of what you believe and for which you strive when a shiny bauble they dangle in front of you lures you into a contractual web.
But other models are emerging.
Running an ad for these folks seems dramatically different from running an ad for a corporate communications company that lived on beyond the break up of Ma Bell, no?
Decision Points for Bloggers
Is it necessary to “sell out” or essentially act as a subsidiary of a larger entity to survive as a blogger? Like every important decision in life these points of choice offer matters of degree and not all or none options.
The nature of decision-making has expanded right along with the processes in which a blogger must show mastery. The decisions made in one area of operations shape functioning in all areas of your business.
- Tech considerations are not immune from decisions based in part on where you want to expend your juice or behind which your want to stake your credibility
- Network decisions entail with whom will you collectively affiliate and market your actions.
- Topical considerations. Do you let the market dictate what you write?
- Decisions about scale. Time and energy limitations might call out to you with well crafted “plug and play” advertising options when a local network exchange that requires start-up efforts ultimately kicks back far greater rewards to you.
Associate Networks and Geographic Communities
There is the old saying, from way back in the 1960s, or even earlier, “Think Globally, Act Locally.” This mindset has matured. I am thinking about joining Local First Arizona, and will certainly take part in their:
June 30 to July 7th (Update 2016: Independents Week 2016 was June 25th to July 4th this year.) during which time I will only support local businesses as much as possible. It is good for my community, as supporting local business keeps over 70% of the money spent in your community to re-circulate again and again, helping the local economy and you far more than purchases from some disinterested national or international corporate entity.
By buying local, participating locally, and promoting locally you help to create and increase your community’s identity, your community’s brand, as well as your own and that closely aligned boost will boost you all the more. And branding is where it is at. It you don’t believe me just look at Penguin 2.0, the latest Google roll out. (Update 2016: Check out this article about Panda, Hummingbird, and Penguin updates, and this Moz page for lists of updates.
So bloggers, the juice you should be worrying about is not in your follow, no follow links, it should be centered on with whom you collaborate, where you invest your precious money for support services, and what type of indirect returns you can expect to be returned to you.