Why do I need a blog?
It’s one of the most common questions I hear marketers ask. The answer, though simple, might not be that apparent to you if you’re looking at it from a traditional marketing perspective. Launching, managing, tracking and growing a company blog—large or small—takes effort and dedicated resources. Becoming a content destination adds tremendous value to your web presence. I highlight below some of the requirements and reasons to have a great blog.
People are supposed to read your content.
The whole point of creating a blog is to attract people to read your content. But are they? And if they aren’t, does that mean you’re doing it wrong and wasting your time? In order to gauge this, you have to answer these questions first:
How much time do people spend reading your content?
Your time on page should average at least 30 to 45 seconds. Anything less means people are barely skimming the content and moving on quickly. This could be because the content is subpar, is poorly formatted, or—possibly the worst offense of all—is overly self-promotional. If your blog content is all about you and your company, your audience won’t want to spend their valuable time reading it—no offense.
Example: Kristi Hines’ iAcquire blog post on keyword research tools has an average time on page of 1 minute and 42 seconds (with 38,419 page views). This data can be found in Behavior > Site Content inside Google Analytics.
Do people comment on your site?
You should get at least a couple comments on your posts. Content should engage people. They should feel compelled to weigh-in.
Do people share your content?
Some content just isn’t sharable and that’s OK. But even boring content can be compelling and sharable. Do you have functional social share buttons on your posts? Showing off your shares adds “social proof,” which might compel others to share.
Pro tips: Use SharedCount to check the social shares on a particular web page. Use SocialCrawlytics to spider an entire site or blog to get a catalog of social shares for every page. Use ClearVoice to see the social shares of a particular author across his or her portfolio of content on the web.
You should be sharing original content in social.
Let’s start by saying this: People follow you because you create content they want to consume, or you share content they want to consume. It really is that simple. Building a social following takes time and investment, and reducing that friction can save you a lot of money.
What are you sharing with people?
Are you sharing original content that has reader value?
Is that your content or someone else’s content?
In the most fundamental way, having a great blog gives you something to share—and that adds tremendous value to your social channels and brand community.
Great editorial content owns organic search.
Becoming a content destination might be the single best organic search strategy now and in the future. Google is king of the world—they literally have the highest market cap of any company on the planet as of the date this article was written. Every company relies on their precious referral traffic. And, we’ve all tried to find a way to increase that traffic—sometimes through any means necessary.
Google is constantly challenged to give their users the best possible experience. That’s why they want to rank the best content first. Great pages contribute to a website’s overall ranking credibility.
They look at content quality factors like time on page, original content quality, page load time, metadata and even page security (they like https).
They look at content validation factors like who wrote the content (yep, the people creating your content matters), who linked to the content and who shared the content.
Need top-of-the-funnel eyeballs?
A strong blog can draw hundreds of thousands or even millions of visitors to your website each month. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to name another cost-effective strategy that has the reach and consistency to drive this volume of top-of-the-funnel, yet still relevant traffic. Of course you can do this with paid channels, but you’re going to pay out the nose, and it’s an ad. That’s no fun.
Subject MAtter Experts Amplify.
When creating a content destination to attract and retain your consumer audience (which can be B2B as well, of course), you should strongly consider the voice behind that content. Using internal experts is great, and should be part of your strategy, but you can get a tremendous amount of value out of assembling a high-quality external team of contributors. I’m not talking about low-quality guest posts. I’m talking about skilled subject matter experts executing on your thoughtful content strategy. I’m talking about transforming your brand by leveraging experts to educate your audience. I’m talking about aligning yourself with trusted content producers.
Example: Kevan Lee is a subject matter expert in the field of content marketing and social media. His profile, along with more than 150,000 others can be found on ClearVoice.
The result will be better content engagement, more social shares and followers, more earned links and increased rankings, and finally, your brand will become regarded as a legitimate content destination/brand publisher, earning the attention of not just your audience but also the media at large.
Keep it Real.
People want to be informed, educated and/or entertained. With the exception of maybe your investors, people aren’t that interested in hearing about your new CEO or your financial results. If you want to primarily talk about the company, you should consider something like a “Company Insights” blog. Don’t confuse your company content with your public content—they don’t mix well.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did I miss anything fundamental? Oversimplify it? Not enough? Thanks for reading.