Is blogging still a thing? Hell yes.
In honor of my 11th anniversary in blogging this month, I’ve written a two-part post. The second part, Hell no, will run Tuesday on Y’all Connect.
Blogging can be a tough sell. It seems like fewer people get started, and even fewer keep going. Why not Instagram and Snapchat your lives than blog them?
I’ve seen a lot of blogs come and go in the 11 years I’ve blogged, along with blogging groups, conferences and experts. Once you figure out the domain registration, the site setup, the formatting, the schedule and the audience, you still need the energy to actually write and upload photos.
Even putting videos on YouTube daily is easier.
I’ve thought a lot about blogging in 2016, what it means for clients and hobbyists, and whether it’s worth the effort. Today, I focus on the reasons why you should blog regularly for your company or organization.
1. Good blog content has a payoff in sales. Those unfamiliar with blogging automatically assume that bloggers can make money and that it’s a direct path from publishing posts to raking in cash.
That’s never been true.
What is accurate these days is that search engine optimization still exists and evolves, driven mostly by Google. And Google now emphasizes good, unique content in ranking sites. No more keyword stuffing, no more crazy tags, no more link farming — I mean, people still do that crap, but they penalize for their sites.
Posts that are helpful, entertaining or informative perform better on SERPs (search engine results pages). That improves SEO and draws more traffic. The smart brand uses that traffic to build leads and market directly to potential customers.
That’s the profit from blogging.
2. Blogging is the best way to stand out. This is an opportunity to resonate with people. Most brands blend together, but the only way to win fans and customers is to stand apart.
A blog provides the simplest way to keep a site (and its readers) up to date. Sure, companies should keep catalogs and pages current, but they make it an annual or biennual overhaul. How do I as a first-time visitor know if you have the latest equipment or are aware of the best options?
Consumers are armed to the teeth with information. They are no longer at the mercy of salespeople. Companies attempting to close the sale can either assist browsers with info — about models, specs, parts, manufacturing process, reviews, etc. — or hinder them.
And more customers want to connect with brands beyond price and color. They want to know what a company stands for, and how it crafts its goods. That’s the kind of insider info that belongs on a blog by diverse voices from all over the organization.
3. A blog offers full control and ownership of the message. Investing too much of the marketing resources into social media can backfire the moment those channels change the rules. Facebook has mastered this game, forcing even the biggest companies to pay for access to their own fans.
Setting aside resources for building and maintaining a home base platform on the company site should always be the starting point. It can drive creation of channel-specific content and guide visitors through the sales funnel.
Otherwise, marketers are always at the mercy of the rules and the limitations of each social channel.
4. Share your message with the world. Blogging remains one of the few universally accessible platforms. People can view posts in any browser without having to sign in, pay a fee or download an app.
The freedom to create and explore is unlimited. The responsibility is to offer readers a reason to stick to the end of the post and return for more good stuff.
That’s why blogging is still a thing. A big thing.
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