A couple of weeks ago a couple of us had the opportunity to spend the day at the Social Media Masters conference in Atlanta. Lots of good ideas and insights were to be had, and I walked away with some great new ideas on implementing social media marketing into a comprehensive marketing strategy.
All of the sessions were outstanding, and I will probably revisit each of them in some of my upcoming posts, but the one I wanted to talk about first, just because I think it is of particular relevance to our clients, had to do with blogging.
The session was presented by Mark Schaefer, author of the popular marketing blog “Grow”. Mark is a highly respected author, consultant, professor and all-around expert in all things social, with an especially deep understanding of how blogging can be used as a successful marketing tool.
Mark presented us with 10 reasons to blog and 10 ways to make sure your blog doesn’t suck. No, really. That was the topic word for word, or, as he called it, a primer in anti-suckology. For this post, I will focus on the reasons to blog. Next time I’ll get into how to avoid the suckage.
10 Reasons to Blog
We always try to get each of our clients to implement blogs on their sites. Sometimes I think we may fall a little short on explaining just why they are such an effective marketing tool. That being the case, what follows is a summary of Mark’s strategies, with a few notes I took away sprinkled in for good measure. I believe that implementing these into your own blogging strategy will reap massive rewards.
- SEO benefits: Simply put, having a blog increases your search presence and relevance. Be sure to include posts that include key words that would be relevant to your target market.
- Differentiation: A unique blog gives you an opportunity to stand out from your competition. It gives you the chance to not just show what you do, but who you really are, how you do what you do, and why. It is an invaluable tool in this respect.
- Infinite search life: A blog will last for as long as you keep it posted (or until 2012 when the world ends, whichever comes first.) You never know when a potential customer or client may be searching for something obscure that leads them to a blog and eventually to a sale.
- Integration of sales strategy with other channels: As a marketer the ultimate goal is to use the blog as a sales tool. Blogs present a unique opportunity to put a more human face on the information presented on the rest of the site.
- Crisis management: In the unlikely event you have negative PR, this gives you the opportunity to not only address the issue from your own point of view, but also to interact with folks via comments.
- Focus on strategy and individual point of view: Blogging is an excellent way to get ideas on “paper”, flesh them out more fully, and, in many cases, interact directly with the folks at whom the strategies are directed.
- Re-purpose content in newsletters and whitepapers: Ah, plagiarism. Most of us would have never made it through college without it. Just as most great scientific discoveries were made standing on the shoulders of giants, pretty much anything you could want to blog about has been written about already by somebody somewhere. No need to recreate the wheel, but there is plenty of opportunity to find interesting topics and give your personal spin on things. (I’m just kidding about the plagiarism thing, by the way. It’s called scraping and Google doesn’t like that.)
- Serves as a great reference library: Many times you’ll be asked about topics you’ve already blogged about. Many times you’ll have the questions yourself and can’t remember the answer. Again, no need to recreate the wheel. Particularly when you created the wheel in the first place. Your blog is most likely searchable or, if you’re doing it right, tagged with key words and can lead you to the answer you seek.
- Internal communications: A blog can serve as an excellent way to show staff a particular direction you want to take. Write it and make them read it. You are the boss, after all. Or even if you aren’t, make them read it anyway.
- PR opportunities and massive reach: Your company is doing something that will make the world a better place. The problem is, the world doesn’t know you’re about to better it. Your blog can help with that. Obviously for the big stuff you’ll want to hire an expert, but it never hurts to write about it. You never know who might pick it up.