What Is The Digital Marketing Value of Blogs?
A Misunderstood Pillar of Digital Marketing
Few questions create more awkwardness in a conversation at a modern-day dinner party than the dreaded words:
‘Have you read my blog?’
The first response from many of us to this question will be to run for the hills, or more conveniently, the bathroom. There is a reason for this: Since the very beginning of the internet, blogs have been the favoured medium of people who just can’t get enough of sharing too much information, perhaps ranting about the latest Star Wars remake or McDonald's Szechuan sauce.
We’ve all glanced at blogs full of unbalanced, nonsensical banal outpourings, so these negative associations are not unfounded, but this cliché depiction misses out everything that’s great about blogs for Digital Marketing. Anyone who wants to be successful online needs to get beyond this view.
Blogs are a crucial part of an effective Digital Marketing Strategy. Before we get that far, it’s also important to remember that one man’s garbage is another man’s gold. Take Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr, he started out as a freelance blogger in the early years of this millennium. Since then he has transformed himself and his blog into a multi-million-dollar media empire under the famous/infamous name of Perezhilton. Not many people reading this will cite becoming the next Perezhilton as their chief goal but taking the time to create a quality blog and making it part of your strategy will definitely help you to make some new connections and find some new customers.
The best way to keep regular fresh content flowing
We are familiar with the prominent blogs we find attached to newspapers and the entertainment world. However, we may not be aware of just how many sites use blogs as a core part of their content strategy.This is because many websites do not give their blog a prominent place on their homepage.
A business's logic for doing this is that they see their blog as bringing users to their website through search engines in a hope that, after enjoying the content,they will click on product pages or the home page and this will result in conversions, such as a sale or sign up. Ironically, this means that visitors may not think that a website has a blog because they cannot find it on the homepage, but they may be on the homepage because they clicked on a blog article in the first place.
Regularly updating a blog, but placing it in a less prominent part of their site, is a good way of consistently sending signals to search engine’s that a website’s content is fresh and up to date, and authoritative, whilst simultaneously not changing finely tuned sales pages which maybe through A/B testing or trial and error have become so finally honed that they shouldn’t be changed too much.
Blogs Build Connections with Customers
We have seen that many websites don’t give their blog or news sections prominent placement on their homepage, because they only think of their blog as one of the first parts of the sales funnel. This is not the only use for a blog. Many great promotional blogs think beyond this tactic and try to create something much more just extended dry promotional materials.
Many of us think of blogs as tending to take a more conversational tone. This serves an important purpose: it builds an extended dialogue with customers before and after they buy products. The informative nature of blogs also make them great places for educating customers on how to get the best from products. Making sure customers are fully aware of how to use your products and all their benefits is a great way of extending customer lifetime value.
Having an area like a blog gives a website a greater sense of dynamism. This is an important element for bringing back return customers. Founder of Verme Media, AJ Agrawal strongly believes in this benefit:
‘One of the main reasons why people don’t return to a brand’s website is because it’s stagnant. They have no reason to come back because they’ve seen it all before. A blog gives them a reason to keep coming back for more. They know that every week or every two weeks there’s going to be a new piece of content for them to consume.’
Blogs also help with conversion rates of first time customers. New visitors who are considering buying from you will scroll through your pages to try and decide if they should trust you and your brand. A prominent well written and recently updated blog, conveys a sense of professionalism and expertise
This is also where the opposite of our cliches about bloggers is shown to be true when it comes to businesses. Imagine I am in a bar:
If someone in the bar wanted to talk to me about their blog on tools for fixing bicycles, I think I might look for somewhere else to stand, or possibly the bathroom again, but if I walked into a shop to buy bike tools and the person behind the counter was an expert on bike tools to the point that they had a blog on the subject, then that would be the exact person I would want to buy bike tools from. A well written and well maintained blog demonstrates a dedication to your field of expertise, plus a greater degree of dedication and professionalism.
The Versatility of Blog Style Content
A section of a website doesn't necessarily have to refer to itself as a blog to be using the content marketing principles of blogging. Many blog sections of websites refer to themselves as news, or typewriter collector’s corner etc. The name and content of a blog doesn’t have to be as fixed as other types of web pages. Blogs can explore all kinds of topics which are more loosely linked to a site's products but nevertheless include those important keywords and logical connections.
This less fixed identity is also complimented by more relaxed expectations from blog readers who are looking to be engaged and entertained, not bored to death by a digital brochure. This makes blogs a great place for experimenting with fresh content which is an essential part of building and maintaining top rankings. Sometimes this approach starts off as a blog article, but changes into something completely different and multi-channel that attracts customers in original and unusual ways.
Take the incredibly wasteful but oddly interesting Will It Blend ? series from Blend Tec; where the avuncular white coated host tries to blend a whole host of things that really shouldn’t be blended, from an iPhone to Silly Putty. Will it blend? Certainly is an unconventional approach to content marketing but it has been very success in boosting the company's profile: trending worldwide, and associating Blend Tec’s brand with fun and mischief, a great way of appealing to 20-somethings, whilst simultaneously demonstrating the strength and power of their blenders. I wouldn’t advise you to throw your smartphone in a blender for your blog but you may find that by experimenting with interesting content ideas in your blog that you stumble on something which trends globally. At the very least, we hope you now have a better understanding of the marketing value of blogs.
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05 Apr, 2020