Yes, blogging is still a thing. Yes, you should be doing it.
When deciding which areas of content marketing to focus on, the blog is often the first to go. With new social media platforms popping up, and scroll-culture fostering shorter attention spans, many businesses question if it is worth the time and effort blogging requires. Are blogs really effective? Do I really need one?
The short answer: yes, and absolutely yes.
Here are a few reasons why.
1. Blogs improve your SEO
You could have the absolute best product or service on the market, but guess what? If no one can find you online, it doesn’t matter. According to Hubspot, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search engine results. Imagine… all that useful, well-written content – never to be seen again.
The chief reason for having a blog on your website is to rank higher on search engines and increase your visibility. Simply put, the more blog content you create, the more opportunities you will have to show up on SERPs (search engine results pages). In fact, 72% of online marketers say content creation is their most effective SEO tactic.
Because blog content allows you to delve into topics with greater depth and specificity than general landing pages or product descriptions allow you to do, blog posts position your content to be relevant for specific questions that may be asked.
For example, if you offer photo editing software, you can create blog posts that relate to commonly asked questions about photo editing, or about your software. That way, next time someone types that question into Google your page will show up, instead of your competitors or an unrelated forum.
Unfortunately, writing for SEO optimization has become increasingly tricky thanks to Google’s ample algorithm updates. So, I’ll let you in on a little secret: don’t write for SEO.
Writing for SEO is like walking a tightrope and only thinking about the 20 feet between you and the concrete below – it’s important to remember, but focusing on it is only going to trip you up. Instead, successful content writing comes when you focus on your purpose – the reader.
In October 2019, Google introduced an algorithm update called BERT, which was described as “one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.” This update aims to make it easier for users to search Google more naturally, which is good news for content creators. Google’s increased focus on user intent means you should focus on user intent too.
2. Blogging gains “expert status”
Creating blog content on topics in your field shows you to be an expert in your industry. Own a health food store? Write a blog post about how to stay healthy during flu season, respond to the latest diet trends, or post healthy recipes using ingredients that you have in stock. Manage a B2B app that is used in the restaurant industry? Create blog content that features restaurants successfully using your technology, share new restaurants that are opening, or write a listicle-style article for top restaurants.
Whatever industry you are in, set yourself apart by being the most relevant, trustworthy source of information. Interview other professionals in your field, respond to trending posts explaining why you agree or disagree with the information, or share tips on how others could succeed in a similar role. Don’t be afraid to share the secrets that give you an edge – they’ll set you apart as an expert to learn from, rather than just another competitor.
“Gaining expert status” may seem like a fluffy metric – it’s certainly not as concrete as tracking leads. Nevertheless, expert status is valuable for many reasons:
- Prospective customers who have been reading your blog posts will come into the customer experience more educated on what you offer, the industry, and your place within it.
- If customers find the answers to their questions within a blog post, they’re more likely to trust you during the sales process, since you’ve already helped them.
- You can not only set the standard but become the standard in your field. Show customers and competitors why you’re the best of the best.
3. Blogs help define your brand
Hopefully, you have a very specific idea of what your brand is – right down to your ideal customer, and the colors that best reflect your brand ideals. While I hate to tell you this, the truth is that your customer might not think of you the way you would like them to.
To them, you’re “that health food store” or “that streaming service.” If you can get them to add an adjective in there (“that premium health food store”) you’re lucky.
So how do you bridge the gap between how you see your company, and how your potential customers see it? The answer: blogging. Blogging gives you a platform to establish your brand voice and style. Are you formal, yet approachable? Down-to-earth and casual? Empowering and uplifting? This will come across through the blogs you write. The more defined your brand is the more likely your ideal customers will become your real customers.
4. Blogs are more long-term than social media
If you’re like most companies, you probably have a love-hate relationship with social media. Its value for gaining exposure and loyalty is undeniable, but the pressure to constantly pump out content can be exhausting.
Blogs, on the other hand, have a much longer shelf-life. While an Instagram post can easily disappear into the abyss of unseen content after a day or even a few hours, blogs can last months or even years.
Evergreen content is content that doesn’t have an expiry date; it remains relevant long after it is published. This allows the search traffic to grow over time, instead of slowly dwindling like it would a tweet or Instagram post. While it is important to also have blogs that react or respond to current events or trends, evergreen content will provide the greatest ROI.
Some common blog forms for evergreen content are listicles, how-tos, tips, or product reviews.
Note: Remember you can promote your blogs on social media, which will both drive traffic to the blog and fill up that pesky social media calendar!
Perhaps you’re like one of the many companies that tried blogging for a little while but found that it didn’t do anything for you.
When you dig a little deeper, however, it’s often easy to see why your blogs “didn’t work.”
Here are a few reasons.
1. They weren’t promoted properly
Crafting the perfect blog is only half the battle. Promoting your blog to your audience is a crucial yet often overlooked step in the blogging process. You can promote your blog organically on various social media platforms, or through paid promotion.
2. The topics weren’t strategic
Writing blogs without doing keyword research ahead of time is like closing your eyes and throwing a bunch of darts at the board, hoping that at least one hits the bullseye.
Strategically planning posts based on trending topics and keywords will help maximize your audience and your effort.
3. They weren’t optimized for SEO
In order for your post to rank on Google’s SERPs, technical aspects must be put into place. These include meta-descriptions, optimized URL slugs, and Google-friendly titles.
Call in the professionals
If your business is blogging and not seeing the results you want, it might simply be a matter of “leaving it to the professionals.” This is where you call in an agency. A trustworthy marketing agency can do the dirty work for you – keyword research, SEO optimization, writing, and publishing – so that you can focus on building the business you know and love.
To find out more about how blogging can help your business, contact us here. We’d love to help you.