Why is blogging so important? What are the benefits to any business in spending time and energy creating a blog? How does a blog fit into the overall online marketing mix?
The SEO perspective on blogging:
Blogging is fantastic for SEO. On a small website like this, with mostly static pages the crawl rate by google is low. Low until you add in a blog that is. When I write a blog post and push that publish button it only takes a minute for the new content to be live in the Google index. It is fresh content too, so Google likes to make it more important than some of the more stale content in it’s index – for a time anyway.
Blogs have subscribers. Every time I publish a post those RSS feed subscribers are notified. If the headline catches them they will click through to the site. There is more to it than that though. I also use the RSS feed to publish directly to my Twitter feed too. There it is picked up by followers and robots and spread far and wide. From Twitter the post is passed to Linkedin and arrives in the email of all my connections as a status update. The posts also go directly to my Facebook page, or I can share them with the share button on the post manually. The point is, that with very little effort I can reach a large number of people by using a blog, a number of people that is much harder to reach with a static page.
Publish one blog post, create many pages
Every time I publish a post here I am not just creating a single new page. What about those tags and categories? Each tag becomes a page title to a new page. Miss potential viewers with your original blog post headline? That’s ok, you can catch them with the alternative headlines created by tags.
How does blogging fit into the online marketing mix? Top 5 Reasons for Blogging in Business:
- Regular contact: If I had a newsagent I would be communicating with my customers every day. That builds loyalty. Regular contact through a blog reminds people that you are there and allows you to speak to them. They can even reply through comments if they wish.
- Keeping up to date: Every business changes, and this is particularly true of a business like this where the pace of change can be mind blowing. Blogging serves as an information channel. It allows people to keep up to date with current trends and thought.
- Professionalism: If I walk into an electrical store I want the person I deal with to be an expert on that television I want to buy. I will know fairly quickly if they know what they are talking about or not. A blog allows you to show your expertise in the same way. This increases customers trust in you and makes conversions to sales more likely.
- Self education: It takes effort to blog consistently. To keep the content fresh and useful requires new information at regular intervals. Blogging forces you to keep up with what others are doing in the same market place. I subscribe to quite a few blogs. These keep me on my toes and not only give me food for thought for my own blog posts, but also ensure that I am on top of new developments as they happen.
- Understanding your market: Analytics plays a part here. The success or failure of a blog post to attract visitors tells us a lot about what our potential customers are interested in. It also tells us a lot about how well we are writing for a web audience.
I don’t have time to blog
How long does it take to write a blog post? This one will take no more than 15 minutes of my time. Actually I will not publish it straight away. I am writing several posts at once and I will stagger when they are published. I don’t always feel like writing, so when I do it makes sense to do several. It eases the pressure of feeling “I have to write”. Given the positive effects of blogging on your site, your reputation and your own personal growth 15 minutes is nothing. Some posts may take more time, some may take even less. The more you write the quicker you will get.
Who should blog?
Everybody that wants to and some of those that don’t want to at all. Some people in your company will have an innate ability when it comes to writing for the web. You can probably pick those people off on your fingers as you read this. Others have a good deal to say but lack the confidence to get started. Either way blogging training is essential to properly utilise this form of social media for your online marketing. Training offers many advantages, not least of which are copywriting skills that are necessary.