Blogging is an excellent tool with benefits which feed into pretty much every area of online marketing.
You know the zombie/film rule? All films can be made better by the inclusion of zombies and zombie films can be made better by the inclusion of yet more zombies. Well, that rule holds true for blogging too – all online marketing efforts can be improved through a careful and regular blogging campaign.
Creative Commons license image credit: blurasis, Flickr
However, maintaining a blog calls for considerable commitment and, once you’ve started, giving up can look weak.
For me, visiting a website and finding a blog which has not been updated for months is like going into a shop and not being able to find the sales assistant. It doesn’t make me think well of the site.
So before you start blogging, you should be aware of the benefits it brings. That way, if you start to flag, you can remind yourself why you are committing the time.
Big benefit number one: SEO
The search engine optimisation (SEO) benefits of blogging are well documented. A good quality and interesting blog will ensure a constantly-updated stream of relevant content, which search engines like.
More importantly, a really top blog will encourage inbound links, which does wonders for a site’s SEO. Search engines like Google rely on inbound links to highlight popular sites, meaning a popular blog can really boost your ranking.
Big benefit number two: Media
Imagine you operate one of the many data security firms in the UK. Another government department loses a USB drive and the BBC wants to find an expert to talk about portable storage at short notice.
The researcher is going to look for someone with opinions, someone authoritative. If your company’s website regularly carries comment then you are the obvious choice and your firm could benefit from mainstream coverage.
Big benefit number three: Authority
As well as driving increased traffic to a site with the SEO benefits, a well-stocked blog adds gravitas to a page once those visitors arrive.
If a potential customer can read your informed opinion on the sector, they will see you as an authoritative and trustworthy supplier – a firm which really knows its stuff.
Big benefit number four: Selling
A blog is an excellent platform to illustrate the benefits of your product or service. It can also be a good place to reveal new offerings and address recent industry news, which makes your product more saleable.
This benefit comes with a huge caution. You can use a blog to explain why the product you offer is useful or necessary but you should not just use it to relentlessly market at people.
People subscribe to a blog because it offers them value. If you build up that trust and then destroy it by marketing too obscenely at your readers then you could actually damage your reputation. Consumers hate feeling they are being marketed at and having their trust abused.
Big benefit number five: Personality
A company which regularly populates a blog with opinion, insight and news will attract more loyalty from customers who read it.
By regularly showing the people behind the company, a firm demolishes some of the anonymity of the internet and engages the consumer on a far more personable level.
You may have noticed the benefits have rider ‘a good quality blog’. This is because infrequent, weak or plagiarised copy will offer none of these perks and can in fact harm a firm’s online reputation.
Blogging is not to be undertaken lightly; it is a long-term commitment and can take time. However, it can really enhance online marketing efforts and make a difference to your sales.
I am sure there are many other blogging benefits I have not listed, please feel free to add your own thoughts.