When I look at the websites of a lot of businesses the blog is normally a source of unspoken shame and embarrassment. Everyone was so excited when the site was being built and there was no shortage of people in the business putting their hand up to contribute content. Then the site went live and all those volunteers somehow found more important things to do now.
This is so normal. And it doesn’t get fixed when marketing agencies come on board either. Marketing agencies know that writing blog posts is hard work and in order for them to be effective, they have to come from a place where both passion and knowledge have a home. Agencies will also avoid your blog for the simple reason that they’re normally playing a short / medium term game.
There are three main strands to digital marketing strategy and one of the problems with the industry is that people, agencies possibly more than anyone, try to pretend this isn’t the case. Activities can be split into things that have short term impact, medium-term impact, and long term impact. The things which have the biggest long term impact are the things which most agencies just are not equipped to deliver for you. Certainly not on a small or medium sized businesses budget.
So the three strands of digital strategy start with :
Short term – Online Advertising.
This isn’t a post about advertising but in simple terms, if you start running ads today they will start working for you today. And they’ll continue working ( with some adjustments ) until you turn them off.
Medium term – Social Media, Social Networking, Active SEO
For a lot of people this is where digital marketing begins and ends. These activities tend to lead to results in around six months.
Long term – Blog, Podcast, Youtube
These three content types are doing something special. Think of the three strategy strands ( short, medium & long term ) as investment categories. The longer the term of the investment the higher the interest. These three formats ( Blog Podcast and Youtube ), in the order presented pay the highest interest. Blogging is an entry level, high interest content type with podcasting and Youtube paying much higher interest and greater dividends over time.
This long term component of a digital marketing strategy is one which a lot of agencies try to brush under the carpet and a big reason for this is that it’s nearly impossible to sub contract or delegate. When Gary Vaynerchuck speaks about the need for every business to be 80% whatever they do for money and 20% media company – this is what he meant. Like any long term investment they take discipline and the rewards for this discipline, over time, can be spectacular.
Three bad reasons to blog
So today I want to look at why you should blog. But before I get into the detail of the good reasons, let’s explore some really bad reasons to start blogging.
Bad reason number one : I’m going to blog to get famous.
The internet is saturated by blogs and unless your taking a much more intelligent approach to your total digital strategy and also have something to say which is amazing, this isn’t going to happen.
Bad reason number two : I’m going to blog and get rich.
A blog on its own isn’t going to be the thing which changes your world, but it can be an important component. Unless your topic is very popular and people are willing to spend a lot to reach your audience the blog on its own isn’t going to earn money.
Bad reason number three : I’m going to blog because someone said I should.
If you’re going to maintain the discipline to regularly contribute to a blog then unless you’re an idiot, you’ll need to know why. You need to understand how your efforts, sustained for months or years, contribute to the bigger picture.
So those are the bad reasons to blog. Now let’s look at the good reasons.
Good reason number one : It helps you kick start the creator habit.
Podcasting and Youtube do pay higher returns but they ask us for a very big commitment. This commitment isn’t just of time but of creative energy and often a level of personal exposure we’re just not prepared for. Starting with a blog allows us to start the creator habit or the habit of making something which we then put out into the world. With a blog, for most people, there is the least resistance.
Good reason number two : It elevates your social media content.
Social media without regular, good quality content is just noise. F – and businesses – noise is the standard approach to social media. If you want to stand out a blog gives you the opportunity to do just that. Blog content gives you the opportunity to let people go deeper with you on social media. It allows a conversation to start and for you to invite people into your content and really meet you.
Good reason number three : It invests in your search engine profile.
Good SEO consultants will tell you that the single biggest contributor to your search profile is good quality content being regularly added to your website. That sounds a lot like a blog to me. This is one of the less often talked about benefits of blogging. My company hosts hundreds of websites for all kinds of business and we track the traffic on all of them. My own data matches industry data and clearly shows that websites with blogs where content has been added consistently over time (a) rank better for chosen search terms and (b) see most inbound traffic generated by blog posts rather than the standard website pages.
Good reason number four : It builds your authority.
Regularly creating and sharing content on your topic of choice will, over time, position you as an authority in your field. This authority becomes a competitive advantage, again, over time. If becoming the expert who’s invited to speak at conferences or contribute in the press is something that would help your business then, in time, a blog can position you so this can happen.
A blog is what you might call the first step in the authority ladder, podcast, youtube channels, and even books are all on this ladder but the higher you climb, the more commitment you’ll need. However, the higher you climb, the less people are around you, the more impact you can have and the more visible you become.
Your business might do something you feel is boring or mundane. You might feel it’s nothing new or it’s so obscure nobody would be interested in. Some of that might be true. Have a look through the good reasons I’ve given you and if you can honestly say that none of them could apply to you then don’t bother with blogging. If you do manage to reach the conclusion that none of the benefits could apply to you then I also think – you’re probably wrong.
Writing a blog can have a big impact but it should always be seen as a long term investment. Like any long term investment, it’s power is in the compounding effect of interest over time. It won’t change your business in days or weeks. In a year or two, if you commit to regular content, you might look back and say it was the best thing you ever did for your business.