I’ll admit the irony isn’t entirely lost on us...this is indeed a blog about blogging. And while we've written many blog posts about content marketing in general, here we are going to hone in on the value of blogs for a brand.
Some have claimed that blogs are no longer relevant, but we believe they are still an essential part of the content toolkit. The question is, how can you be sure you’re getting it right so that your blogs are returning the desired results? All this and more is revealed in chapter 5 of our Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing, but in the meantime let’s just explore the why and the how.
Should you bother to blog?
So are blogs even still relevant? There are those who believe that the reported decline in the number of millennials using blogging as a content tool is a look to the future for all other blogging communities. These ‘digital natives’ may lead the way when it comes to a lot of the online world, but should that dictate the approach by your brand? Some credible professional bloggers claim that blogs are being killed by the very social media revolution that created them and that channels such as Twitter have usurped them as a communication outlet.
When it comes to B2B posts, in our experience, blogs are beginning to grow into a more effective channel than ever before. Indeed we believe that business brands will find that Twitter is not competing with blogs, but enhancing them by acting as a signpost to good content. Recent research by Quicksprout revealed that 60% of consumers feel positive about a corporate brand after reading their blog. So yes, you should bother to blog, but in the right way.
It’s all in the…*wait for it*...timing
Aside from ensuring that you are posting content based on the needs and interests of your audience, perhaps the most important thing to get right is the frequency of posting. This is where the creation of a content schedule to manage your programme of content comes in handy. Annoyingly there is no golden answer to getting the frequency of posts right. If you fail to update a blog you risk looking like you’ve gone out of business, yet resources are such in most organisations that a daily post may not be feasible. Start with what you can commit to, be it a post or two per week or per month, and build from there. Once you have a consistent level of posting you can then see about changing frequency and analysing results to discover what gets you the best results.
Use your experts. You probably have more of them than you think!
One way to effectively fill your content schedule with the right kind of topics is to lean on your expert colleagues. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, there’s little need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content. As brilliant as you are, you’ll probably admit there may be others in your organisation who are more expert than you in particular areas, so why not invite them to contribute? And while we’re looking at taking a collaborative approach be sure to speak with your customer-facing teams for content inspiration - they are your eyes and ears when it comes to understanding the challenges of your customers and prospects, and while they may not know it they are likely to be a valuable key to your blogging success.
It’s not about who shouts the loudest
Be genuinely insightful in every post, don’t just add to the noise. By making your blog engaging and including actionable insight, you will leave the reader with practical guidance that they can take away to improve their day. For as long as you keep doing that your readers will always come back for more. Fail on this one and you may never see them again. Remember that statistic we mentioned about consumers feeling positive about your brand after reading your blog? Well if you leave them wishing they could get 10 minutes of their life back after reading your post then they’re less likely to have those warm and happy feelings about your brand!
Be sure not to waste your hard work!
Unlike a white paper or similarly ‘weighty’ piece of collateral you are perhaps unlikely to build a promotional campaign around a blog post, but that doesn’t mean you should leave it on your website and simply hope people will find it. Be sure to share it via all of your social channels and just as important, be sure to encourage staff to share via their social channels too - a little employee advocacy can go a very long way.
And while it’s worthy of a blog in it’s own right, we can’t write a post on blogs without mentioning the critical importance of optimising your post for search engines. To truly reach as many readers as possible you need to ensure it performs well in search results and for that you need to optimise with the right keywords, meta descriptions, images, links and more - do this and your post will do all it’s own hard work.
Download “The Role of Blogs in Content Marketing” chapter for further insights and advice on blogging, or take a look at the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing (also available for download), which contains this chapter and several others on:
The 5 elements of a killer content marketing strategic plan
3 quick wins for improving your content marketing right now
How to measure ROI
The growth of video content marketing
Content marketing lessons from the masters