Written By: David Preciado
A few may recall the New York Times article on The Internet and American Life Project by the Pew Research Center published in February (Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter) that sparked some discussion on what the decline of blogging meant - was it the end of days for blogs? There is no doubt, blogs are not the coolest thing, unless you consider tumblr.com a blog, which is not used in the traditional sense of a blog, even Twitter is considered a subset of blogging – a micro-blogging platform, but semantics aside it’s not blogging. Apart from nontraditional blogging such as Tumblr and Twitter, blogs and blogging are on the decline.
Should we still be blogging? Is blogging still an important part of the marketing mix?
Not only should businesses still be blogging, but blogging should also still be a core element of your digital marketing effort. Despite its lack of popularity in the media, blogging still provides one of the best opportunities to achieve results across the web. It is still one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing. Blogging provides clear benefit in almost every facet of digital marketing – your ranking on Google, your ability to automatically distribute information, your ability to create sales content, dialogue with consumers, and provide a location on the web that you own and control to drive your customers to while marketing through other efforts such as social media.
In my previous article, Digital Marketing, I made the analogy that a strong digital marketing strategy resembles a factory and I discussed creating marketing assets. One of those assets that I describe is a marketing channel,in which the blog was represented as machinery in the analogy. To continue that analogy, imagine the process from raw material to a finished product. Each step in the process is a function provided by a machine. Marketing communication works much the same way, the channels being the machine and your prospects and customers being the raw product. Each marketing channel plays a part in a process to maintain your audience and drives your target market to action.
In a factory we can divide machinery into primary and secondary functions. For example, a primary function in a real world factory may be forming and die cutting and a secondary process may be adding a varnish. Your secondary marketing channels overarching purpose is to prime your customers and get them to your primary channels, where the actions also known as “conversions” generally occur. You need both. You can’t just have a Twitter account, Facebook page, or run online ads without a place to send your audience.
Think through the process to create prospects into customers or to make temporary customers into lifelong customers. Create interest and drive leads though secondary channels such as Facebook and Twitter, to primary channels such as a blog, were you can capture them and push them along to a final action. Too many companies create Facebook and Twitter accounts, but few have blogs. They spend time posting, but rarely do the most engaging posts go back to their website. Moreover, you can’t post your webpage repetitively on social networking sites, but you can with a blog.
Here are some tips from some Canadian Experts
Before starting a blog, you should sit down and write the headlines to the first hundred posts you'll write first. Can you get up to a quality 100? Will this content be any different than what's already available? Will your customers really benefit by reading it? Can you deliver a consistent tone of voice and expertise? Will your company be credible in delivering that message? It may be overused as an axiom but even with blogging - fail to plan and plan to fail.
Sean Moffitt, Author, Wikibrands and President, Agent Wildfire
Pick a writer that can not only write, but do it with passion. Readers share great content,not average.
-Scott Stratten CEO of UnMarketing
Blogging can be a great tactic to help constantly build and develop a sticky relationship with your marketing communications audience. Build it by giving them reasons to play in your space. Engage them by keeping up with relevant content and by involving them in the creation of it.
Whatever your post frequency is going to be, it is important that you establish some sort of consistent rhythm. It's definitely not easy to get it going but by doing so you set and manage what your audience expects of you. If you stay consistent, eventually your audience will rely less on what you've invested in to notify them (ex. email blasts) and rely more on you keeping up with your rhythm. Don't let them down!"
-Carolyn Van, Managing Partner and Founder at Thirdocean and Founder and Partner at XConnectTO