Blog? I don’t have time to blog!

Brendan Cooper is a digital and social media strategist who helps clients win business, win awards and talk to people through digital and social media strategy. He has been helping people to communicate, online and offline, for over fifteen years.So for quite some while I’ve been helping people to get the most out of social media through doing things properly, effectively, creatively – and, as far as possible, in as little time as possible.

By this, I don’t mean writing cursory blog posts because a useful post needs to be a certain size to convey a message (300-500 words tends to work). I also don’t mean automating everything, although you can get smart with some tricks such as tweeting whenever you post, linking your Twitter account to LinkedIn, posting whenever you bookmark a page, and so on. Within reason, these are little things you can do to help your social media tick along nicely without busting a gut.

But time has always been difficult. If you’ve got a CEO with a bazillion things he or she needs to do to keep a company afloat, especially in these straitened times, then the last thing they want to bother with is a blog post. OK, so they could get someone to ghost-write it (and please, don’t tell me that’s unethical, it’s just a way of life nowadays and we have to accept it) but still, blogging takes time. Even if you don’t sit down and mull over what you’re going to say, and just say it – like I’m doing now – you need to set apart at least, what, 15 minutes. It doesn’t seem long, but it is when your working day is already ten hours long and counting.

And you know what? Since going freelance I find I just don’t have time to blog myself! Oh, the irony. I know I need to do this because the blog is my number one marketing resource. I regularly get new business through it. And there are the many, many other reasons to blog, such as firming up your take on issues, learning new things while researching for a post, building the community, and so on.

So my stats have slid. I’m no longer the #5 PR blogger in the UK or one of the top 50 social media bloggers globally. Because frequency is important as well as content, and I am now decidedly infrequent.

This makes me wonder how other people manage to appear in the many “Top X Tweeters/Bloggers in PR/Social Media/Marketing” lists, tables, leagues and indices that come around regularly. If you’re doing it, how can you talk about it so much? The mind boggles.

So here’s the real dichotomy: I’m definitely better at this game than I was before I went freelance. I’ve learned more in the past year than I did in the previous five. But because I’m doing, I have less time for talking, so I’m classed as less influential. Does this mean that the most influential people in social media are in fact the laziest? Of course not. But it does raise interesting questions about how these rankings are calculated. I know incredibly effective social media types who have very little online presence. I would like to say I also know complete idiots who are all over the place but that would be cruel (and possibly litigous).

So what is to be done? Do I work less to blog more? Do I just grit my teeth, work more and blog more? Or do I find other, smarter ways to maintain my online footprint, that help move the debate along, satisfy my curiosity, and, let’s face it, get me attention and new business? Answers please – if you have time, that is.