Long gone are the days when blogging existed solely as a pastime for the overtly opinionated. Today, the blog serves as a powerful marketing tool for businesses—and brands are learning its value. Not sure if blogging is for you or your business? Ponder this: 57 percent of companies that blog monthly have gained customers through their blogs—a higher percentage than gained through both Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, the blog acts as the most critical media channel for businesses, according to HubSpot’s 2012 State of InBound Marketing.
While a company website and social media presence help define your brand, a blog serves as a cost-effective way to paint a more detailed picture of who you are and what you do. Blogging allows you to tell your story, reinforce your mission and educate clients and potential clients on your industry—and the role you play in it.
Don’t be fooled: blogging is not just for larger, “sexier” companies. Indeed, small businesses and brands in more technical industries are finding that blogging can be even more impactful for them than for the Starbucks and Targets of the world. Maintaining a blog provides an opportunity to stir excitement, generate interest in company activities, to assert your brand’s unique voice and relate to your audience. What does your audience want to know more about? Focus on what will interest them and turn a seemingly mundane topic into content they’ll delight in. Take a step back from corporate-speak when doing so. Talk to them like they’re real people.
Need help finding subjects to write about? Fear Not. Start by looking at industry news, cultural trends and your business’s new ventures. Increase your company’s online presence by regularly adding relevant, high-quality content to your blog, and don’t refrain from spicing things up with creative content that will retain readers. Just make sure to keep your post 500 words or less and include pictures or other visual media.
Decide what your marketing goals are and how a blog can serve them. Do you hope to increase website traffic? To expand your client base? To interact with current customers? Figure out how blogging will fit into the marketing mix and determine a schedule for how often you’ll post. Designate leadership for the blog, but make involvement a company-wide effort. The best blogs are the ones in which every team member is invested.
To get started, research what other companies are doing. Check out the Nuts About Southwest blog from Southwest Airlines, a brand that seems to have mastered the art of customer service. Other brands worth taking a cue from include Whole Foods , Warby Parker and Sharpie all of which post interesting and innovative content that relates to their audiences.
So forget about the time when the term “blog” conjured up notions of audacious activists and impassioned poets. Blogging has transformed into a valuable marketing tool and, now, it’s more important than ever