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The real Virginia from the Santa Claus story: Does blogging really work

Stories last forever: This is the real Virginia O’Hanlon, reading the Yes Virginia There Is A Santa Claus letter to school children many, many years after it first appeared. Blogging shares this enduring value if you do it right.

For some reason, when I hear people ask whether blogging really works, the phrase, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, always springs to mind.

There’s some profundity in linking that phrase to this topic, as well as some irony, and I hope to make a case for both.

And the catalyst that made this blog article happen was the simple act of a client forwarding an email to me that they’d received from a potential new customer who’d just been reading their blog.

Let the story begin.

Blogging really works: I’ve read your blog and now I’d like more information

Here is the email that one of our clients received last week via their website where they blog weekly about all the questions and issues relating to their field. I have made some deletions to maintain confidentiality.

Hello
I saw an article of yours re: [topic removed].
Just wondering what an indicative price is for a [topic removed].
Is there anything else you offer and would recommend prior to considering [topic removed]?
Thanks

I note a couple of interesting things here.

Firstly, the writer refers to an ‘article of yours’. This is why I don’t always use the term ‘blog’ when labelling the blog part of a website. Not everybody understands ‘blog’, that’s our responsibility as the owners and managers of businesses and organisations, not the responsibility of our audience. All they need to know is you have created articles and content that they’ve found in search results and has led them to you.

Secondly, not all inbound enquirers are as helpful as this writer by noting what it was that prompted them to make contact. Analysts have trouble connecting the dots between blogs written and enquiries received and that’s what makes this email so insightful; it reveals the WordPress blog virtuous circle in action.

Yes, Virginia, this is profound

The origin of the, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus meme, dates back to an editorial that appeared in The Sun newspaper (New York) in 1897.

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor to ask if Santa was real and one of the editors, Francis Church, took the opportunity to expand philosophically on the question, which fired the imaginations of readers and etched its way into popular culture.

What makes this a little profound in relation to today’s article about blogging is the similarity between the two mechanisms.

With blogging, we are anticipating the questions of readers and can either share the ‘meat and potatoes’ OR rise above the tide and float some interesting, helpful ideas that etch themselves into people’s memories for when they are ready to make [purchase] decisions.

 

In the case of Mr Church, his letter was turned into children’s books, a movie and a number of songs. I have placed one at the bottom of this article because IT is the version etched into my memory back in the days when we played this throughout Christmas at 5MU.

In the case of blogging, our desired outcome is to be remembered and to be trusted enough to have our potential customers or clients ask for pricing or make and appointment or refer us to others.

Yes, Virginia, this is ironic

As I write this, I realise I am using a lyrical letter defending the existence of a mythical being to make my point that blogging is real and it works.

I am happy to live with this tension because when we get down to measuring outcomes, we can trace the reality of blogging and its impact, especially when we look at the manifold benefits (SEO, awareness, professional development from writing them, social content creation, etc).

Plus, when you answer emails like the one our client shared with us, you get to see first hand that its not the parents who have eaten the snacks left out on Christmas Eve, it really was a ‘herd’ of prospective customers.

Merry Blogging!

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