Whether from fear of the unknown or confusion over what the term implies, many businesses haven’t taken advantage of blogs. That’s a mistake because handled well blogs can provide a powerful marketing tool to reach online audiences and respond to unfolding events. Blogs can bolster website traffic and become an invaluable element of search engine optimization (SEO) programs.
Today’s blogs have evolved far beyond simple web logs chronicling routine, miscellaneous matters. In the early days, web logs were like online diaries where people kept a running account of their personal lives. Now blogs are often considered a go-to, authoritative source for information and insight on every conceivable topic.
What’s Held Some Businesses Back
No one likes ceding control over their marketing messages, which is one of the reasons many businesses have steered clear of the blogosphere. A perception persists that having a blog leaves businesses completely vulnerable but it doesn’t have to be that way. While it’s true that blogs typically are interactive—allowing visitors to leave comments or even contact each other via widgets—most blogs have built-in mechanisms to monitor the online conversation and filter out unwanted contributions.
Newcomers to online marketing might not have the resources to constantly moderate their blog but that doesn’t mean they should ignore what blogging has to offer. Automated systems can be built into the blog architecture to prevent off-message –or off color—commentary from appearing. In some instances, blogs can be used strictly as a one-way conduit for businesses to get across their perspectives without allowing the option for contributions from outsiders.
Simplifying the Blog Process
Blog posts can be set up in advance with software that automatically refreshes the content with material drafted ahead of time. Readers may encounter new material daily or weekly when in fact the posts were prepared a month earlier on a single day. The regular flow of automatic posts can be interrupted when a situation arises that warrants a timely response or comment from the blogger.
Fodder for creating “evergreen” blog content includes media reports about businesses, their executive or products. Case studies and white papers also can be summarized into concise blog posts. Opinion pieces contributed occasionally by influential thought leaders can be featured in guest bloggers.
What Blogs Do for Business
A blog naturally attracts search engine traffic, enhancing online visibility, which is the foundation underlying internet marketing. After all, consumers can’t buy products or services if they don’t know they exist so attracting attention is the starting point for sales. Most blogs already have optimized site architecture. They are set up with navigation giving every page a link back to the other main pages on a web site. They also have the inherent potential to be well-linked from external sites. These inbound links, or backlinks, are useful in SEO because they are one indication of the popularity or significance of a web page as determined by Google or other search engines.
Blogs can be designed to repeat keywords that businesses want to target. The keywords can be repeated in the post titles, category names, the URL page names, or other places.
These are just a few ways blogs serve a valuable marketing function and why they should be integrated into online outreach efforts.