In the context of digital marketing, a blog is typically an area of a company’s website featuring informative and/or entertaining written content. Articles are composed either by an employee or guest author and often offer a more personal tone compared to the rest of the website that peaks the interest of readers.
Blogs – a portmanteau of web and log – came about as the World Wide Web developed in the 1990s. Initially, it was associated with individuals who shared online diaries (hence ‘log’). However, the appeal and use of blogs diversified in the late 1990s as businesses acknowledged the benefit they could bring to digital marketing efforts.
Why do it?
Nowadays, B2B businesses with blogs report more leads than those without. In light of this, blogging can be a great digital marketing tool.
From a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective, blogs can be linked from another website and therefore help drive traffic to your other pages, like those detailing products and services. Blogs can be an invaluable way to attract customers, with the time required to create them making them a loss leader. It will be worth it in the long term, as your blog attracts new customers who go on to buy from you, and your business develops its reputation for great content.
Blogs are often inexpensive and easy to set up, with many platforms allowing easy customisation to reflect your brand. You can communicate directly with readers via comment sections, strengthening the bond between you and potential customers or clients. If people like the blog, learn something or find entertainment from it, they’re far more likely to trust your services.
Deciding on a topic
Suitable topics will naturally vary by industry and the strengths of your business and employees. The following are some possible sources of inspiration:
- Consider industry trends – what do people want to read about? What would YOU want to learn more about? Then research accordingly if necessary.
- Take note of existing blog articles and try to write from an innovative perspective, e.g. applying similar analysis already conducted by a larger organisation, but apply to your own unique experiences. This would add a sense of exclusivity yet follow a formula proven to work.
- You don’t always have to answer a question; instead, perhaps try to instigate further discussion on an area of interest and utilise the comments section. Another option is to be a pioneer for a completely new line of debate!
Don’t be put off if writing just isn’t your forte – finding a guest blogger is an option worth considering. On the other hand, if you or your team have the ability to write great content then writing for other online publications is a great way to raise your business profile and network. This being said, you shouldn’t give up your best ideas!
A few things to be wary of
There are dilemmas when writing blog posts. For example, working out how to offer light reading while being truly informative, finding a specific focus without restricting your audience, and using emotive language without compromising your professional identity.
The most important thing is to commit to whatever you write about and make blogging an integral part of your business. One way to do this is by inserting a link to a blog feed from your homepage. Similarly, blogs should be posted as links on any social media accounts with the overriding aim of driving traffic back to your main site. Websites with blogs typically have more indexed pages on search engines so make sure articles feature keywords and phrases for SEO purposes. It’s also worth combining attractive visuals, video or audio to further engage the user.