It’s no secret that blogging is one of the most powerful online marketing tools available to businesses, yet despite all of the well documented benefits many are still resisting the pull.
Having discussed this subject at length with numerous colleagues and clients over the years, I thought it fitting to share some of my thoughts and learnings by way of a blog post. So here goes.
Why the resistance?
From what I can tell there are 2 main reasons that businesses opt not to blog. The first is a lack of appreciation for the potential rewards, the second is a perceived lack of time/resource.
The first point is easily overcome with education, and there is plenty of evidence available to demonstrate that a well managed blog can be just as valuable, if not more valuable than other major, perhaps over-hyped marketing platforms.
In the second point I used the term perceived lack of time/resource because often people assume that the upkeep of a blog will consume every minute of the working day. This simply is not true, and if managed properly, the rewards of blogging far outweigh the time expended.
Like anything else, quality is always better than quantity, so unlike Twitter (for example) you are not expected to churn out a constant stream of noise simply for the sake of appearing ‘active’.
Also, in contrast to the likes of Twitter, on which messages can be lost in seconds, a good blog post can continue to send visits for months, even years after the date it’s originally published.
Understanding the rewards
Blogging is typically pigeonholed into either one of two categories – search or social. I suspect this is because the immediate rewards are most evident when measured against these disciplines.
Where search is concerned, a blog helps improve website visibility and drive traffic.
On the social side, a blog presents an opportunity to engage with new and existing audiences and provides a source of content to seed on social networks.
These top level benefits are fairly obvious and more importantly, measurable. Using even the most basic of website analytics packages or social monitoring tools, anyone can identify the direct effect of a specific blog post, learn something from it, and apply it to future efforts.
But it doesn’t stop there…
Authority and search
A major benefit of blogging that is often overlooked or radically undervalued, perhaps due to the difficulty to measure or categorise it, is increased brand authority.
This is something that is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve, but it’s a major factor which is absolutely essential for modern businesses to acknowledge, despite how intangible it may seem.
Authority is what sets one business apart from the competition. And I mean this both in terms of attracting more customers because they trust your brand, and attracting the right sort of attention from Google because it sees that people trust your brand, or more specifically that they trust your website.
Search marketing has evolved at a frightening rate over the past few years, and what was once achieved by using fairly methodical, technical processes (namely keyword optimisation), now requires a much more creative, or ‘PR minded’ approach.
This means getting your brand in front of your target audience, no matter where they may be. It’s about establishing your website as the ‘go to’ resource for your industry – providing content that people want to consume, share, reference, and repeatedly come back for.
The best way to achieve this level of authority is by producing regular, awesome, solution-led content, and delivering it on a blog that is hosted on your main website.
It’s the businesses that do this now, and stake their claim as the authority in their industry, that will ultimately win the search battle in the long run.
Like anything in life, you only get out of a blog what you put into it, and unfortunately there are no shortcuts. Developing an authoritative blog takes time, dedication, planning, and lots of testing, but once you discover what works, the rewards can be huge.