We've all been guilty of it at one time or another. You want to spice up the content on your Bizzuka site by adding a photograph, so you click the "Add Image" button, attach the photo and click "Insert." Sounds simple enough, but if this is your typical routine, you're missing out on one of the most underused and yet most important image properties you can set.
Blogging has long been a staple among social media marketers. Though it has lost some luster due to the growing popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, blogging can benefit businesses in ways those cannot. This post outlines five such ways.
1. Blogging Can Improve Search Engine Optimization
Someone once said that the word blog stands for “Better Listings On Google,” and I happen to agree. It’s not that Google (or Bing) has special affinity for blogs, quite the opposite. Blogs lend themselves to the type of content search engines are looking for, and which they award with improved rankings.
They do so for four reasons:
- Blogs are primarily text-based;
- They use search engine friendly code;
- Due to frequent updates, blogs tend to get crawled more quickly;
- Bloggers are natural link-builders.
I teach a principle that says: Frequently-updated, keyword-optimized, topically-relevant posts equal better rankings on Google. Allow me to explain my rationale.
Frequent Updates: Search engines like frequent updates because its gives them a reason to return to and re-index the site.
Keyword-Optimization: The job of search engines is to provide the most relevant content based on keyword-based searches. While search engines are far more savvy than to fall for the old trick of stuffing content with keywords, those still comprise part of the complex algorithm search engines use to determine relevance and, as such, still play an important role.
Topical Relevance: This is important, too, because search engines want to understand the “proposition” of the site – what it’s about, in other words. It’s called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), which is a fancy term used to describe the fact that search engines don’t just take into account the copy written on one web page (or blog post), but the content of the entire site. The more true to the topic a blog can stay, the better the opportunity for Google and Bing to achieve that goal.
It’s also good to link to other, relevant sites in a blog post (as well as other relevant posts inside your own blog). Google is not just looking across the breadth of content posted on your own website, but at both inbound and outbound links to other sites.
My rule of thumb is to never write a blog post that doesn’t include at least one link. Bottom line: the more relevant the links, the better.
2. Blogs Put a Human Face on a Company
Though blogging has taken on a more formal structure in recent years, the heart of the medium remains unchanged. It is still one person (or a company) communicating directly with consumers in an unfettered, unfiltered manner. In that sense, blogs are a more personal form of communication.
One person who epitomizes this ethic is CEO and Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael Hyatt. Though he uses his blog to provide helpful tips – 5 Rules for More Effective Presentations is one example – as often as not, he uses it to share insights gleaned from his own life experiences.
In his post, How Differences With Your Spouse Can Make Your Marriage Stronger, Hyatt says, “When I first met Gail (his wife), I was attracted to her precisely because she was different. Sadly, after a few years, these same differences started to annoy me. In fact, I began to think that my approach to live was right and hers wrong.”
It’s that type of transparent self-disclosure that has made Hyatt both a popular blogger and a leader worthy of respect. Not only does this bode well for Hyatt himself, but, as a representative of his company, for Thomas Nelson, as well.
3. Blogs Help Build Brand
In his book, Get Slightly Famous, author Steven Van Yoder says blogs can benefit companies in several ways related to brand-building. They allow you to:
- Differentiate yourself from the competition;
- Position your focused message in the hearts and minds of your target customers;
- Deliver your message clearly and quickly;
- Project credibility;
- Strike an emotional chord;
- Create strong customer loyalty.
4. Blogs Attract Media Attention
A number of years ago, when just starting out as a marketing consultant, I received a call from the Enquirer. Keep in mind, the only Enquirer I knew about was the publication that graced the shelves of grocery store check-out aisles and I was puzzled as to why a reporter from that rag would be calling me.
As it turned out, it was the Philadelphia Enquirer, a respected newspaper. The reporter told me she was researching an article on business blogging, had read some of my posts and assumed I could shed some light on the topic.
The point: the media contacted me and not my competition thanks to my blog.
It’s an accepted fact that journalists scour the blogosphere looking for source material. Therefore, it stands to reason that, using a blog, you improve your company’s chance of getting media attention. “Earned” media is better than paid media any day, wouldn’t you agree?
5. Blogs Exploit Marketable Niches
Indium, a manufacturer of electronic assembly materials for companies like Intel, has tapped blogging as its “goto” marketing strategy.
Through the use of multiple, niche-topic blogs, the company has: distinguished itself as a thought leader in the market; experienced a strong uptick in opt-in leads; and has seen a sizable reduction in marketing communication expenses.
Indium’s Director of Marketing Communications, Rick Short, takes a pragmatic view of the tactic. “[Being a thought leader] is being considered the best, most authoritative, trusted source. It means being the ‘go to’ people,” he said. “And it all leads to increased sales, profits, and image or it simply [doesn’t] matter.”
Brian Solis, a well-known PR blogger and author of the popular business book Engage, once said: “After much personal research and experience, I’ve found that a genuine, helpful, humanized blog, combined with the art of cultivating and building relationships, can forge real connections, shape perception, improve customer service, and also enhance brand loyalty, reach, and resonance.”
I agree with his surmise. Blogging, combined with the use of other social media channels, can have a positive effect, not only on your brand, but your bottom line, as well.
Blogs are one component of Bizzuka’s web content management system. Contact us to learn how to incorporate blogging into your online marketing strategy.