Although blogs have quickly gone from a curiosity to a standard component of the corporate website, many firms continue to shun them. From an Internet marketing point of view, this is a blunder: A blog is an indispensable marketing asset and frequently the most productive part of a lead generation site. Here are three high-level reasons to add a blog to your site – today.
Generating traffic and leads. Blog posts – when properly optimized for search – tend to rank very well on Google and other major search engines. This means more searchers will find your firm when they are in the market for what you are selling. In addition, blog posts generate tweets, Facebook likes, Google plus-ones, etc. Static web pages seldom do. Social media activity brings a whole new audience to a site.
Strengthening business relationships. Blog posts can be far more engaging than a regular web page. A post can be personal, informal, open ended and contemplative. The cumulative effect is to personalize a firm, encourage interaction with customers and prospects, and otherwise break the ice to make the next step in the business relationship easier to take.
Establishing market leadership. Blogs afford a firm the opportunity to showcase its expertise, weigh in on industry trends, and react to issues of great importance to existing and potential customers. All other things being equal, an undecided prospect will favor the firm whose website projects authority, passion, and concern for the customer.
These benefits of blogging come at a price, of course. An effective blog – one that influences visitors and delivers strong SEO value – requires strategic and tactical planning along with a firm commitment to write and build a community of readers. Finding the right balance in managing a corporate blog is also crucial: Put too many controls and restrictions on a blog and it will have no life; allow too much experimentation and it may confuse or offend the reader.
Firms that have an interest in blogging sometimes find resource allocation a major challenge. I have found that combining internal and external resources works very well. A certain amount of writing, editorial oversight and community building should be handled internally; however, much of the day-to-day effort can be handled by an agency as long as the lines of communication are in good order.
When visitors come to a site, one of the first things they are likely to look for is the company blog. If your firm does not have one, the question you should be asking is this: Can we afford to let our competitors have an edge over us in lead generation, customer relations, and market leadership?