Blogging is an excellent outlet for business owners and marketers to display knowledge and product, be silly, be serious, stand up for a cause, and sell stuff.
The question is how do you do all of this with intent and why is it essential to a digital marketing strategy?
This post is the first in a series about blogging. First, we’ll cover the why behind it. Then, we’ll move on to fun topics like how to choose blog topics, how to structure a blog post and how to get those blog posts to your audience. All of these answers will hopefully lead you to a blogging strategy!
The very first time I sat down to write a blog, I was clueless! Anyone ever felt that way about starting something new? The process was intimidating, and I had no idea where to begin. I thought, “Who will even read this?” Will it descend into the World Wide Web subconscious never to be seen? I’m sure those first few posts are lingering somewhere…but we’ll leave them buried.
Blogging quickly became a passion that I enjoy. It’s a skill that can be learned and refined with both time and data (more on this later).
Blogging is essential to a digital strategy. Blogging is a major way to drive traffic to your website which means more brand awareness, more donations if you’re a nonprofit and more sales for an online (or brick and mortar) retailer. Here are the main reasons WHY you need to start blogging regularly now.
Google likes fresh and valuable content
Google crawls sites continually for new pages and rewards websites that are adding new and valuable content by placing them higher in search results. This is not the only criteria, but it is a big one that cannot be ignored. Adding content in the form of blogs gives Google more pages to crawl and index for information. Blog regularly and keep Google (and your audience) coming back for more.
Blogging gives you the chance to build a page around a specific set of keywords. Each blog you add to your site should be incorporating different keywords and phrases that your audience uses and searches. Once you have determined a set of ten words or phrases, pick one or two and make that the focus of a blog.
If you are a roofing company, a common phrase to target might be, “Which roofing materials are the best?” This is a great example of a searchable phrase that a blogger can focus on in a single post. Title the post something similar to the phrase, and incorporate “roofing materials” 3-4 times. It’s a good idea to also incorporate the city you operate in as well.
A few tips:
1. Make sure the use of keywords is natural and flows with your content.
2. Focus on both words and phrasing that your audience is likely to search.
3. Don’t overload the content with keywords, they only need to be used a handful of times.
4. Put a keyword in the title of your post. Google gives more credit to the title of blogs as far as rankings go.
If you use keywords irresponsibly “just to rank,” Google won’t like it. Search engines use metrics like bounce rates and time on pages to determine the impact of the content and will punish websites that are not giving their users value by ranking them lower. Yikes!
Tell your story
Tell your story while building credibility. Show that the company has a sense of humor, means business, and cares about customers…all on the blog. Use the blog as a way to feature happy customers. Use it to address questions that you routinely find yourself spending 20 minutes on the phone answering. Show that your company cares about the community by featuring a service project that employees care about and support.
Customers want to know that your brand is human, and will engage if they have a reason to do so. Give customers something to talk about (in a good way, of course) and hopefully they will share your story with their friends, neighbors and coworkers.
Do you plan on running ads on social media or through Google Ads? If so, blogging can greatly increase your traffic which increases the impact of a retargeting strategy. Increased traffic means you can follow your visitors around the web in a stalkerish kind of way. This is called retargeting. Basically, you’re “tagging” their IP address and either Google or Facebook is showing your ads to them as they move around the web. Other social networks have marketing platforms as well, but Facebook and Google Ads are the most popular.
The whole point of marketing digitally is to cut away the fat – don’t market to people who don’t fit you audience. This is the reason we encourage our clients to move away from TV and billboards. Half (or more) of everyone who sees your ad is NOT your market.
Focus on your audience. The theory is that people who are interested in your product or service will find their way to your site via an awesome blog, then you will be able to market to them going forward. And one day, they will be a customer!
Stats say, “You should blog. Yes, you.”
Do you need further convincing? Consider these compelling facts about blogging:
1. 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.
2. 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.
3. Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.
4. 81% of companies consider their blogs “useful,” “important,” or “critical”.
5. On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages.
Which statistic was the most shocking? Find the sources for these stats and even more here. Trust us, you can do this! Now that you’ve been convinced that you need to blog, stay tuned for the next installment on how to get started!