I see this question out there fairly often. I also hear it from businesspeople that I know.
It’s a good question. I think it’s an important question.
I’m not sure if there is a wrong answer, but it’s worth digging into a little bit because things could get turned around a bit if you don’t understand the full aspect of content marketing and social media.
So let’s get into the topic a bit and see if we can find the right answer.
Both Are Long-Term Strategies
One of the first things to remember whether you’re investing time, energy and money into content marketing (like a blog or podcast) or social media is that both are long-term strategies.
Look at any of the popular blogs or social media accounts that you follow. Chances are very high (probably 99%) that the accounts have been active for several years.
Some people go into either strategy and get frustrated after six months or even a year because they’re not getting the traction they feel they should be getting. But it’s just not really going to happen that fast.
Here is a recent note from Larry Kim of WordStream where he’s talking about his blogging:
It took almost four years before they saw any results.
That’s right. Content marketing and social media are long-term strategies. it’s both a challenge, but also an opportunity because not everyone is willing to do it.
The big difference to consider in this situation is that content on social media is not your content.
If you like to think about SEO then the content you create on social media is for the SEO benefit of the social media site. Your tweets on Twitter help improve the rankings for Twitter.
You benefit because Twitter has a large audience and you get access to that audience. That’s the tradeoff, but in return, Twitter gets all the traffic and all the SEO benefit from the content that you create.
With a blog, you’re starting from scratch, but you own the content. You’re building the SEO benefit for your own site, domain, etc. It might take longer with your own blog to build an audience and you’ll probably never get as big of an audience as a social site like Twitter, but it can still work in your favor.
And all the posts you create for your own blog are assets for you. They don’t go away. They’re always working for you.
One last thing here is that the content you create on a blog can be reused on social media. It can be tricky to go the other way and use social content and repurpose it on your blog. Google always looks for the original source. If you publish a blog post today you can reuse that content later on social media and Google usually knows that your blog is the original source.
Going Where The People Are
This is the big thing with social sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. They have a built-in audience. You can use hashtags and really tap into an existing audience with the content you share on social. The people are already there looking for content and you can jump right in.
It’s still going to take time, but you can usually build a good audience on social media faster than you can build one with your own blog.
Plus for some reason people seem to like using social media more than their own website. It’s common for someone to update Facebook or Twitter multiple times per day while really struggling to add new content to their blog. They might add a post here and there, but the feedback and engagement is much quicker on social media so people kind of use social more than their own blog or website.
Why Not Do Both (No Matter Where You Are Now)
So maybe here is the final takeaway…why not just do both at the same time?
Maybe you’ve started a blog first and you’re looking to use social more. That’s a good position to be in. With a blog, you want to develop a good routine. Separate the task of brainstorming what to write about and the actual writing. That will really help to ward off writer’s block.
And now that you have content already you can go back and use that content to share tips and snippets on social media along with the other kind of updates that you share on social media. And with your own blog you’re building your own SEO value to your own property.
But let’s say that you have built a following on social media. You can still start a blog at anytime and you’re in a good position because you have an audience already. You can create new blog posts and share the posts with your audience and get them to come to your blog and read the post.
The key will be to stick with a blogging commitment. So many start with blogging and after the first few posts they give up on it. Remember back to Larry Kim and how it took four years. That’s a long time and it can feel like no one is reading your posts. But now that blog is a major marketing channel for his business.
Both social media and blogging are long-term strategies. There’s no reason you can’t do both and have success with both. Use them in tandem and you’ll be in a really strong position to build incoming marketing channels for yourself or for your business.