What do sites and blogs in the long tail online really look like?
Just to paint the bigger picture, Zemanta recommends content to a wide range of online publishers. From bloggers who published their first article today to blogging veterans who have been active for over a decade to some of the largest online publishers in the world, Zemanta supports a diverse community of publishers and bloggers. These publishers actively use Zemanta for its semantically-relevant content recommendations, which help make their posts and articles more vibrant, robust, and authoritative.
People frequently ask me, what does the long tail of online publishing (sometime people used the term blogosphere) truly look like. Our perception of what sites and blogs are (and should be) is primarily influenced by a handful of the incredibly successful publishers that we read and share with our friends every day, as well as the leisurely blogs that our friends and colleagues write in their spare time. For example, the site I regularly follow is TechCrunch, now one of the leading sites for breaking news and updates for the tech industry and which started as a personal blog for Mike Arrington. On the other end of the publishing spectrum of sites I read is my friend’s wife’s blog where she regularly shares her recipes and homemade crafts.
However, this view of professional news sites and personal bloggers is quite different from what our data shows. The organic long tail of publishing is in fact much more diverse than those two stereotypes. In reality, people often try blogging by writing a couple of posts and stop there. Companies and organizations blog about trends and events in their industry, and then the person who managed that company blog leaves, and so the organization suddenly stops publishing articles. The end result is a once-prolific blog that quickly became an archive of quality content and information.
30% of sites are off-line less than a year after starting
At Zemanta, we’ve been aggregating millions of blog feeds for years, so we’re able to analyze a wealth of blogger behavior data. For example, of all new publishers and bloggers we see, about 30% of them are off-line less than a year after they launched. The reasons for this drop-off vary widely. Some bloggers may stop publishing, domains migrate elsewhere, other bloggers simply become bored or ashamed by their older posts. The biggest takeaway is that while many publishers and bloggers are in it for the long-run, others may lose interest and let their sites fall by the wayside.
Why I am writing this? Mostly to say that if your writer & blogger outreach campaign is truly organic and not pay-to-play, then looking at the results three, six or twelve months later, you may be surprised to see that a portion of the articles and posts have vanished into the vast sphere of online publishing. The organic, real world of online publishing is disorderly and chaotic. Mentions, links, inclusions will come and go.
So when thinking of campaigns to build online influence through those mentions and links be prepared to be in it for the long term as those sites you so proudly included you six months ago will likely need to be replaced with new ones.