Marc Dube, Founder & President, ActiveBlogs
Many claim blogging is dead—a marketing tool of the past. They incorrectly assume that since individuals and companies have been blogging for 10 years, there’s nothing left to write. Meanwhile, 70 percent of marketers surveyed stated that they are creating more content now than they did in the previous year (Source: Content Marketing Institute). Just think, at one time, companies did not believe they needed a website, believing it was just a fad––how times have changed! Producing high-quality content and consistently posting it on a company blog provide organizations with a valuable tool to attract prospects, deliver the information they seek, and turn them into satisfied customers.
Just having a blog, however, is not enough. Too many companies have passive blogs—blogs that are not produced consistently, are poorly written and not aggressively promoted. Fortunately, there are solutions companies can use to turn their blogs into more active, strategic, dynamic and effective marketing initiatives that drive more leads, activity and conversations from the company’s website.
Blogging from a sales perspective
Many CEOs recognize the need for a blog. But, why exactly should a company invest the time and effort into creating and maintaining blog? Here are two significant reasons:
- Changes in buyer shopping habits: According to the findings of an Ipsos Global @dvisor poll conducted in 2012, 61 percent of web users research products online. With consumers turning to the web to research solutions, it is essential for companies to develop a strong web presence in order to appear in search engine findings. Website blogs that deliver quality content assists with SEO by providing a favored status and competitive edge in the marketplace.
- Shift in sales process: Instead of buyers talking with salespeople when seeking solutions, prospects often read the company’s website and blogs first. Then they decide if they want to contact the company. Quality content goes a long way in bringing website visitors closer to a positive buying decision. Posted information also positions CEOs and their companies as industry thought leaders and creates a marketplace distinction that attracts quality prospects.
Marc Yahr, President of L&L International, a private jet company based in Miami, Florida, began blogging and taking advantage of social media several years ago. “I thought, social media for private jets – why? Nobody’s reading Facebook just to look at buying a jet. But what I discovered was that it was a great way to provide information to people so they could see what’s going on in the industry,” said Yahr. Yahr discovered the value of providing customer-centric information and reports that he sees a spike in web traffic whenever he adds new content.
The problem with passive blogs
A passive blog can be more of a disservice to a website than no blog at all. In spite of impressive statistics about the benefits of consistent and frequent blogging, many companies still neglect to use this marketing tool to their advantage. There are several reasons why this occurs:
- Lack of understanding and commitment from management. CEOs may not appreciate its value. This position comes from not realizing how detrimental low SEO results are and the decreased competitiveness that comes from an inactive blog. For these reasons, blogging is a serious initiative that has long-term implications for corporate growth. As such, it involves a detailed strategy to improve company recognition, its brand and solutions.
- Unrealistic expectations. Often, leaders expect to see instantaneous results from blogs. The reality is quite the opposite: the blog’s impact on the bottom line is more of a slow burn. Consistent blogging over time increases SEO, drives more traffic to the website, heightens marketplace awareness and creates opportunities to connect with new prospects.
- Reliance on existing staff to blog. Just because there are writers on staff, doesn’t mean they can create consistent blog posts. On the contrary, blogging involves an entire process: planning, writing, editing, researching, formatting and optimizing of blogs for SEO. Most writers or employees tasked with blogging responsibilities don’t have the time to carry out this process effectively. Too often, blogging ceases if the employee changes jobs or leaves the company. Starting a blog requires a commitment from management to supply the resources, whether by hiring dedicated staff or outsourcing, to perform an effective job. Yahr prefers to outsource his blog and other social media tasks. “I have 400 things to do a week. The last thing I can do is write a blog.”
- Promotional blogging. Organizations typically start blogs with well-meaning intentions: to provide information and solutions to problems faced by prospects and existing customers. Over time, however, company employees may slip into promotional blogging because it’s what’s they know and understand best. Instead of providing answers through valuable content, the blog becomes a company advertisement. Yahr agrees that a company blog needs to discuss more than the company. “We provide information on the industry overall and about the products we sell. We think about our audience and apply that to what we write in our blog,” said Yahr.
Active blogs make the difference
Take a proactive approach and develop an active blog strategy. Start by designating a team or an outsourcing firm with responsibility for managing the entire blog process. Then create an editorial calendar of blog themes and topics and determine the type of content to produce for the target audiences.
From there, develop, test and refine the SEO strategy. Create a social media and email outreach plan to promote the blog. Finally, determine a regular posting schedule and follow through. The type of industry and size of the company may dictate the frequency of blog posting, but in general, it’s better to start with fewer blog posts as long as the schedule is consistent.
The solution to eradicating passive blogs is simple. Commit to producing a consistent and well-written blog and then intently promote the blog through all possible mediums. This turns a passive blog into an active blog.
About the Author
Marc Dube is the president and founder of ActiveBlogs™, a subsidiary of Proven Systems, Corp. ActiveBlogs™ is a national leader and innovator in the field of newsletter, blog and social media marketing. For more information, contact ActiveBlogs at 800 720-5398, email Marc at email@example.com or visit the website at www.activeblogs.com.