The blog. It’s considered the be-all and end-all of a successful marketing strategy. It’s easy to understand why, with research from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) showing that 81 percent of B2B organizations blog, with nearly 60 percent saying it proves effective.
So, what makes the blog so effective for achieving today’s greatest marketing objectives—like increasing lead generation and augmenting thought leadership? After blogging for five years for dozens of clients across innumerable industries, I’ve walked away with a few nuggets of knowledge.
Here are five things I have learned over the years about the almighty blog:
- Don’t be selfish
You’re on a blind date with someone who initially piqued your interest, but after hours of hearing the person talk only about him or herself—his or her interests, background and best attributes—you can’t help but lose your appetite. Chances are you’ll want to tap into your secret list of excuses to leave before dessert (you completely forgot about that 10 pm conference call!) Bad thing for you is that your customers don’t need a creative reason to abandon you at any given moment. If you have a “me, me, me” mentality, they will do so without hesitation.
It’s safe to say that prospects and customers who stumble upon your blog know about your company’s products and services (even vaguely). Instead of overtly inundating them with information about your company, work to tell your company’s unique story while naturally interweaving your value prop and core competencies as you go. I suggest taking an 80/20 approach—80 percent of your blog should be dedicated to industry happenings, tips and tricks and how-to’s (even topics that have no relevance to your company at all), while 20 percent can be dedicated to company-focused news.
- Don’t play it (too) safe
Many companies are far too concerned about negatively impacting their brand image if they take even the smallest step outside of their predefined comfort zone. Of course, depending on the organization at hand, there may be some rules and regulations that must be adhered to; however, if you can take a step into unexplored territory—even baby steps—do it.
Companies that generate the greatest results are the ones that are okay with boldly blogging. For these companies, there is an inherent understanding that it’s okay to embrace quirkiness, boldness and even controversy when appropriate in order to capture attention and engage readers.
- Blog at least every other day
In my experience blogging for organizations, I have found that companies yield the best results when they blog every other day—or at least 15 times per month. I understand that, depending on your available time and budget, this frequency may not be realistic. If you can afford to supplement your blogging efforts by outsourcing some (or all) of it to a professional content marketer, I couldn’t recommend anything more strongly. I have unfortunately witnessed too many companies suffer as a result of a malnourished blog strategy. They start out strong but, due to unexpected tasks that take precedence, begin to post less and less. Before they know it, their last blog was published weeks (even months) ago.
- You don’t have to go it alone
Every company looking to ensure the continuity and profitability of its brand knows how important blogging is. Just consider that the average customer digests over 10 pieces of content before ever making a purchasing decision. You know you need to be blogging to cast your voice, establish thought leadership and nurture prospects through the buying lifecycle, but you may not have the time or a big budget—especially if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur. Know that you don’t have to singlehandedly oversee your blogging campaign. There are go-to tools and resources at your disposal that can help carry you over the finish line. Knowing this will undoubtedly help propel your blogging strategy.
- Diversify your blog content
It may be easier to write an evergreen piece (Ex: “Top XXX Reasons to do XYZ”) than an in-depth Q&A with a member of your c-suite, but you have to vary your blog content to see long-term results. A diversified blog is a successful blog. Three ideas to help get your wheels turning: commentary pieces, impact pieces and philanthropic pieces. Inject some original commentary into blogs, for example, to provide added value verses repurposing information. If you’re concerned you may not have enough time, start by committing to stealing just 15 minutes of someone’s time every month and go from there. Additionally, 81 percent of executives recently surveyed agreed that companies that are successful at building long-term relationships connect their beliefs to how they conduct business. Try reflecting on your company’s core competencies, roots and overarching goals and blog about them.
Of course, there are far more than five takeaways I have about blogging after doing it for five years. Got any other pieces of advice or wisdom to impart about blogging? Share them with me here!