The strategy of blogging, especially from a b2b perspective, can be somewhat misunderstood. What are your goals? Thought leadership, SEO, lead generation? How do I get people to read it? How to I build subscribers? Are my audiences really interested in my thoughts? So I thought I’d raise the question on the benefits of blogging to the NuSpark Marketing content alliance team, and get their reaction to the following question.
“I’m not convinced a blog is right for my business, plus I’m concerned over time and resources. Give me some reasons how a blog on my site can contribute to lead generation and business growth”
Below are the responses.
From Apryl Parcher
Because Google and other search engines place so much emphasis on frequency and quality content, committing to the creation and regular delivery of a blog is one of the best ways to raise your position in organic search. Statistics show that the more frequent the posts, the better your lead generation. People prefer to buy from businesses that seem active online and produce helpful, quality content—not just sales messages. That being said, blogging once a month won’t help you all that much. Shoot for once a week minimum. More (3 times a week or daily) is often better, but not always doable.
One of the biggest hurdles is coming up with an editorial calendar, but once you sit down and strategize one, it makes it much easier to come up with good content and schedule it regularly. I like to brainstorm at last 24 post topics at a time (at least initially), and categorize them according to how people would search for your service/product. If you use keywords in your titles and first paragraphs, as well as in tags, you’ll get better results.
And you don’t have to write long copy. Short (around 300-400 words) is good. You can also generate more interest by incorporating video into your posts. Video results often come up higher in Google search, and recent eye tracking studies show that search results with video gain much more attention. So if you had a list of 24 topics, pick out which of those you can find (or create) video content around first. You won’t have to write as much on those—let the video do the talking.
Blog feeds can be linked in social platforms easily to expand reach. People are always looking for good content to share among their friends, so make yours easily sharable.
Offering helpful, regular content via a blog doesn’t have to be a giant obstacle. With a little planning, it can become an integral part of your marketing plan and become a good lead generation tool.
From Maureen Monfore
There are plenty of reasons why a business should have a blog. To name a few: In today’s social media landscape, business blogging has become a powerful marketing medium. In fact, a Hubspot study shows that companies that blog attract 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and greater SEO with 434% more indexed pages. Attracting traffic is all well and good, but when it comes to generating leads and sales, quality is more important than quantity. If you’re generating traffic but still have a high bounce rate and not seeing any leads coming from it, you’re better off foregoing the blog and meeting your customers and prospects where they hang out. Rather than building it (a blog) and expecting that they will come, bring your content to them!
I told a client recently that I didn’t think a blog was appropriate for them. While their SEO would improve, they were trying to reach too many different vertical markets with one medium. I suggested that they would have a better return on their investment (time and money) if they found out where their prospects congregated online (Facebook, LinkedIn, trade publication websites, blogs) and disseminate their content there.
So market research is the very first, and most important step, to developing an online presence. Find out where your customers and prospects hang out online. If you need to fine-tune your message for several different audiences, perhaps it’s better to meet those customers and prospects on third-party sites. If you can provide a singular message for a singular audience, great. A blog is a wonderful tool.
From Carolyn Frith
According to the Content Marketing Institute blogging is the #1 content marketing tactic. Why? Here are 10 reasons…..in no particular order.
1. Blogs Help You Get Found
When prospects and customers have a need for your product or service, they no longer flip through the Yellow Pages. They simply type keywords related to their problem into Google, Yahoo and Bing.
And whose website do you want to pop up when they do that? If you’re saying “my own, of course,” you need to be publishing content that’s chock full of magnetic keywords. Often.
The easiest way to do that? A blog.
2. Blogs Build Credibility
Telling people you’re brilliant and knowledgeable can send the people you want to attract running in the opposite direction. So show them. It’s oh so much powerful. And a blog is the perfect place to do just that.
3. Blogs are Fodder for Social Media
Serve a buffet of tasty content to drive prospects to your website from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Content that educates them. Content that helps them solve a problem. If you starve your social media efforts of informative content, you’ll reap anorexic results.
4. Blogs Show Personality
We’ve gone beyond the days where business people hid behind their pin-striped suits. Successful businesses are stepping out in their comfy clothes and becoming human. Blogs allow you to show your personality – your kindness, your humor, what gets you revved up and what bugs you. Blogs allow people to get to know you, like you and trust you—three keys to success.
5. Blogs Start a Conversation
One way advertising is exiting stage right. Conversational marketing is moving up to have a starring role. It’s all about getting feedback, learning customer needs and addressing them.
6. Blogs Can Spotlight a Service or Product
You can illuminate a product or service you offer and explain why someone needs it. I know lots of business people all excited about kicking the tires of social media, but they don’t seem to realize that they need a content strategy before they start friending and following. Now I can point them to this post to educate them on why their inbound marketing strategy needs to be fueled by content. And why a blog is a great place to start.
7. Blogs Enable You Publish Your Own News
You don’t want your blog to be overly self-promotional, but if you’ve got a new product or service that is going to make a difference in your readers’ lives, blog about it. No more waiting for the fickle media gatekeepers to get the word out. You’re in control.
8. Blogs Strengthen Customer Loyalty
Customers –once you’ve got them, you want to keep them. A blog lets you keep them up to date on what they want to know so you stay top of mind. Then when they need your product or service, they call you first.
9. Blogs Attract New Customers
We love our loyal clients but a stream of new clients or customers is also important for growing a business. A blog attracts them. Need I say more?
10. Blogs Make Money!
Last but not least. Once you’ve powered up your blog and visitors are pouring in from Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and more, you can make some money off advertising. Or advertise your own affiliate links for a dividend that keeps on paying.
From Michael Selissen
Back in the 1970’s, clothing retailer Sy Syms coined his company’s slogan, “An educated consumer is our best customer.”
It’s a sentiment as old as selling itself. It says that if you’re an expert in your business, you have an opportunity to share that expertise anytime someone walks through the door.
Think about the times you’ve shopped for a hardware item, new suit or an antique. Chances are the salesperson that got your business was the one who took the time to talk, maybe gave you some history or an insight you hadn’t considered before.
Your Website is the door to your shop. And a blog is the opportunity you have to share your expertise, in bite-size pieces, in your own voice. It’s not a spec sheet. It’s not a whitepaper. It’s you speaking to prospective customers about what you know and think.
So if you’re concerned over the investment in time or you don’t know what to say, imagine someone walking through that door. Wouldn’t you try your darndest to turn him or her into your “best customer?”
From Rachel Franco
Assuming a blog fits in with your overarching business strategy, it can be a brand-building and lead generating tool if, in my opinion, you have a longer-view perspective. Meaning, your company may not generate leads overnight, but will over time if it continues to post content of value to your target markets on a consistent basis (the operative words here are “consistent basis” and “content of value” – not heavy sales pitches).
A blog positions your business as an expert and thought leader in its area of expertise, as a problem solver. Thus, it shifts a buyer’s perception of your company from “vendor” to “trusted adviser” and nurtures prospects over time until they have a need and hopefully “raise their hands” for your company’s products or services. More immediately, as many of my colleagues have stated, it can also drive traffic to your website and other content, including other blog posts, white papers, etc. if you cross-promote them “softly” and effectively.
A blog does represent an investment of time and other resources. If and after you’ve decided that a blog makes sense for your company (a key first step!), spend the time upfront to outline your blog strategy and develop an editorial calendar outlining future content and resources needed to develop that content so that producing your blog runs like clockwork.
From Oliver Picher
Blogs attract very targeted and engaged traffic to your web site. If you have the content in your blog aligned properly with the value proposition of your business, it can be a tremendous tool for bringing the right people to your web site. Done correctly, people may sign up to get a regular email or feed of your blog posts, which will put your business in front of potential clients on a regular basis.
The other part of this is to ensure that your web site is optimized to convert visitors to qualified leads. It’s not just enough to get them to visit. You need them to stay and engage.
How has blogging worked for you? What is your strategy? Are you getting the return?