Spokes Without a Hub Are Just Random Sticks

01 Jan

In the June 2013 issue of Entrepreneur Ann Handley suggested that if you’re pressed for time to market your content (your service) then your blog should be your focus. I completely agree. Having a following on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest is nice, but cultivating your presence on those networks should be secondary to producing material for your blog. Think of your blog as the central hub for your entire online presence. Your social media profiles are the spokes off of that hub. Those spokes are important but without that hub to anchor them they’re just random sticks.

Your blog is where you build up an archive of your best ideas (and sometimes your not so good ideas). That archive is important because you want to have something that first-time visitors can explore in order to really get a sense of who you are and what you offer. People often say tell me they don’t have time to blog yet they spend hours every week participating in conversations on social media. Those conversations are important as they do build your name recognition and they can spark ideas that become blog posts. But it’s hard to create a concise archive of what you say in those social media conversations. It’s also difficult to pitch your services in those social media conversations without appearing spammy and no one wants to appear spammy except for spammers themselves. Commit to building content on your blog each week before jumping into that next Twitter chat. My rule of thumb is a 3:1 ratio of time spent developing content for my blog to time spent chatting on social networks.

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  • Chris Rogers

    Good point, Richard. My ratio has been 3:1 the other way around. Writing a blog consistently involves much more work (and risk of failure) than simply interacting on social media, but I know the time I put in will pay off. This is my #1 edugoal for 2014 – more blogging, less social media! Give my blog a read if you get a chance – my latest post is

    Are You Learning to Learn Like Your Students? 8 Tips to Modernize Your Workflow | Elementary Tech Blog

    Thanks for a great post that hits the mark!

  • Ute (expatsincebirth)

    Thanks for this great advice. You’re so right! I’ll keep it in mind (and set a clock when on social media! )

  • Philip_Cummings

    I’m grateful to you for writing this blog, Richard, and I look forward to learning from your journey. For me, I’m thinking I need to scale back on the amount of reading (blogs) that I do and spend more of that time writing my own content. I like social media, but Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ aren’t as much of a draw as consuming all the great content that folks like you are creating. It’s had a tremendous impact on my professional practice–that said, writing more would be a positive gain. Best regards!

    • richardbyrne

      Hi Philip,
      Thanks for the kind words. At one point I was subscribed to 400+ blogs. I’ve scaled it back to under 300 over the last year. What I found is that I don’t miss out on much because blogs in the same niche tend to cover the same type of stories. For example, I stopped reading Mashable because I found the same information on TechCrunch and Next Web.

      As for the social media side of things. I find that I like Google+ more than anything now. G+ makes it easy for me to follow conversations over a longer period of time than I can follow on Twitter. Also, G+ conversations don’t give me the “rushed” feeling that Twitter chats do.

  • autism plusmath

    This was incredibly timely, thank you. While I am trying to take advantage of social media to increase readership, I don’t want it to take time away from crafting good content. I wonder, however, if there are times in the life cycle of a blog where it makes sense to adjust that ratio towards greater promotion.


    • richardbyrne

      Hi Glenn,
      I think there may be some times when putting a little more time into social media is warranted. If you’re launching a big project like an ebook then it might make sense to spend time engaging with people who are interested in the topic of that ebook. After I released an ebook about using Blogger in the classroom I spent a lot of time on Twitter answering follow-up questions.