B2B marketers are always keen on improving ways to tell their brand story with the goal of winning more customers. In that context, content marketing has become a discipline unto itself, with savvy practitioners leveraging content across paid, owned, earned and social channels. Connecting content marketing to clear business objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) is top of mind.
Social media platforms, particularly, have evolved beyond nice-to-have communities of brand friends and advocates. Social marketing, SEM and the increasingly sophisticated availability of highly targeted ads on social platforms have firmly established social as integral to any marketer’s communications mix.
This brings me to the blog. Do you really need a company blog, which, as you know, is considered a social media platform? In fact, given how long they’ve been around, one could say the blog is really the granddaddy of social media platforms.
Some experts, such as Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen, authors of the “B2B Social Media Book" are adamant in their opinion: “If you aren’t going to blog, then don’t bother with pursing B2B social media as part of your marketing strategy. Really, we mean it. Blogging is critical."
Ok, but creating and maintaining a blog can be time consuming. Blogs can seem like a beast that needs constant feeding and attention. And what department owns the blog? Marketing, social, PR, corporate communications, a blog-happy C-suiter? It gets fuzzy, fast. The biggest problem with a blog is also one of its greatest assets: a blog is easy to start. In addition, it’s easy to ignore, which is why most blogs don’t make it. A recent study by IBM indicates 85 percent of corporate blogs have five posts or less. That’s the start-and-stop problem at work. It is truly better never to start a blogwhich should be all about dialogue with your customers and influencersthan to dribble out posts that clearly indicate the company’s lack of interest in the endeavor.
But much like those important life relationships, let’s say you and your company are ready to commit. You know how a blog will fit into your content marketing strategy, and you want the platform for your brand voice, the dialogue and the SEO benefit a blog can generate.
Here are four key reasons to invest in a blog:
1. You own it.
A blog is your content on your platform, much like your website. (In fact, your blog should integrate with your website, which is easy given the free software available to do just that.) You make the “rules of engagement," not LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other social media entities. You control everything about itthe posts, the images, the videos, the SEO, the tags, the links, the frequency, the access. If you have other social media platforms, the blog becomes the center of that universe. Compelling blog content is the content to which those other platforms can link. Driving traffic to your blog is much like driving traffic to your website. And everyone would agree that building traffic to your company’s web presence is critical to your business success.
2. A blog is a lead generation platform.
You can incorporate a call-to-action (CTA) into the template itself, which includes the header, footer and sidebar. A great place to integrate a CTA is in the sidebar near the top of the page. Or, integrate a CTA into the blog post itself, at the end of the post. A CTA can refer to a free trial, a white paper download, a sign-up page for a webinar, an e-book or another offer.
3. Google loves new content.
A blog with a regular publishing schedule can lead to an improved page ranking and influence domain authority, assuming the content is authentic, meaningful to your audience and SEO savvy. Because we know that virtually all prospects for any product or service begin their purchase journey with search, it’s critical to leverage blog content as part of your company’s SEO strategy.
4. “A company blog is a doorway to brand interaction."
Mary Olivieri, executive creative director at CBD Marketing, made that important observation. A blog provides the opportunity to feature your company’s subject matter experts and have a forum for opinion that drives discussion. It allows a brand’s persona to shine through, and it is the perfect venue on which to engage your audience in discussions that provide insights to advance your business.
Of course, there are more reasons to invest in a company blog, and there are great resources to guide you in structuring and executing a blog program. It’s been said that content marketingincluding bloggingis a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re ready for the long-term commitment and are patient enough to see results build over time, then a blog should be part of your content marketing plan.
Jean Ban is executive vice president at CBD Marketing in Chicago, a creative communications firm that helps companies define and market what is most meaningful about their brand, products and services. CBD works with national and global food and food ingredient companies, as well as a wide range of clients in other industry sectors.