I read recently that fewer than half of all Fortune 100 companies use blogs as a communications tool, and that smaller to midsize organizations are only a little more engaged in blogging than their Fortune 100 counterparts.
That’s a cryin’ shame. Having a blog is well worth the time and effort. It provides great benefits and ultimately, can be your most highly effective, powerful, low-cost marketing tool. You should take advantage of this medium. Use this tactic and make it the key component of your social media and content marketing efforts. Here’s why:
Blogs bring new business or new donations. It’s important for your prospective customers, clients or donors to find you online. Blogs make it easier for them to do that and initiate contact with you when they are ready to engage. You become part of their mental furniture and when they’re ready to rearrange some things, you’ll be the knowledgeable, helpful organization that’s top of mind.
Blogs provide prominence and show leadership. A blog can become the gateway to your organization and provide a reason to visit it often. If your website is your online brochure, your blog is your sales call. In addition, blogging enriches you professionally; it keeps you in the loop, which thought leader usually are. As you read more about your industry you’ll be excited to share and comment on it. You’ll be up to date with the freshest thinking and be acquainted with the newest trends — all good things for the people you serve. Blogging positions you in their minds as a trusted expert. However, you have to be a little careful. As soon as you start to sell your organization or crow a little bit too loudly about your credentials, accomplishments or awards, you’ll lose your street cred and your audience. Stick with writing rich, helpful content about people, things and activities that make life a little better … or funnier.
Blogs help you build trust and allow you to practice what you preach. If you volunteer at a nonprofit, you can blog for them about the people who’ve met and helped. If you sell vegetables, you can blog about how to use them in recipes. If you work at a marketing company that recommends blogging, you better be doing it. Plus, blogs offer lots of flexibility. Posts can be long or short, visual or not, and incorporate just about any type of media. Videos, photos, infographics, even presentations can all be embedded into your organization’s blog. With a blog, you own the content, control the platform and decide on the format. Say what you want to say. Be the authority.
Blogs are always fresh. By its very nature, a blog is one of the best ways to continually produce fresh content for your website, and search engines love fresh content. A steady stream of new information will attract new visitors to your site and keep your fans coming back too. Additionally, blog content can be repurposed on websites and reposted on other social media sites.
Blogs boost your search engine rankings. Unless your company or product line is very large, blogging is the most practical and valuable way to expand your website content. By creating more content through blog articles, you create more opportunities to rank in search engines. Because of a much higher number of keywords, blog posts can organically attract diverse high-quality links, which are far more likely to be shared in social media than standard website content; just make sure your blog is hosted on your company domain (e.g. blog.yourcompany.com or yourcompany.com/blog).
Blogging isn’t free, but it is a bargain. Setup and hosting fees plus the time you or an employee invest in writing are minimal compared to the amount you’d spend calling and traveling to meet people at their offices or networking at a tradeshow. What’s invaluable though is the traffic and trust you’ll build by simply adding content.
Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve and works with clients to create and distribute smarter, better marketing communications materials. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.
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