When I sat down to write a blog today, I’ll be honest… I was struggling for ideas. As is often the case when confronted by a blank page, I started down the spiral that I think most creative types know well.
And where did I find myself, at the bottom of that spiral? I found myself asking ‘why am I even writing a blog?’
Then I realised that the answer to that question was the perfect topic.
Why blogging falls by the wayside
Many businesses fail to understand the importance of blogging. It’s a problem we run into with clients sometimes – the question gets asked: ‘why is our digital marketing agency proposing they write blogs for our website?’
Blogging is often just seen as something that needs to be done without any greater understanding of the purpose of that activity. People know it’s something successful websites do, but the why is missing from the equation.
When you don’t know the why, it’s all too easy to consign the task to the bottom of the to-do list. From a client perspective, it’s equally easy to see the time being spent on blogging as a waste of resources that could be better spent elsewhere.
What blogging does for your website
Let’s talk about the why in that above equation. The reason why I’m writing this blog for our website and the reason you should be thinking about what someone is going to write for yours.
There are a huge number of reasons you should be blogging, but to keep things simple I’m going to keep it to 5. Here they are:
- Adds regular new content to your website
- Allows you to rank for long-tail keywords
- Directly engages with user interests and questions
- Attracts links from other websites
- Fuels your organic social media activity
Let’s take a quick look at why each of these is beneficial, and therefore important to your website.
1 – Adds regular new content to your website
The regularity with which new content is added to your website is an important factor when it comes to how both users and search engines regard your website.
Neither your target audience nor Google want to look at a website that hasn’t been updated in the last 6 months. Constantly updating your static content – e.g. your service or product pages – is just as much of a headache as it sounds like.
However, getting members of your team to share the opinions on industry events and respond to recent developments in your sector? Much easier.
2 – Allows you to rank for long-tail keywords
It’s true that the organic landscape is becoming a tougher and tougher place in which to get seen. For the big volume search terms, paid ads are taking up more and more space, and therefore taking more and more of the clicks.
However, where paid is far less likely to force you out is on longer search terms. Competing for organic clicks on the keyword ‘SEO copywriting’ might be a tough ask. However, if you can write something thought leading that tackles a more specific search – “what are the SEO benefits of blogging” for example – then you’re more likely to be able to get yourself seen in the organic listings.
There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15 percent of searches we see every day are new — which means there’s always more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources.
3 – Directly engages with user interests and questions
The great thing about blogs is that they let you directly engage with user queries and questions that might not otherwise have a home on your website.
Whether those questions come from keyword research, or directly from your prospective customers – perhaps via your sales department or other customer facing parts of your business – they represent an opportunity not only to expand the kinds of search terms your website can appear for, but also to offer your users something truly valuable – answers to their questions.
4 – Attracts links from other websites
No matter how interesting or exciting your service or product pages might be, or how may fascinating tidbits about your business’ history are on your about us page, it’s unlikely that many people are going to link to that kind of content.
What people will link to is something current and something they have an opinion on – whether that’s something they agree with or not!
Now there are all sorts of strategies around writing content specifically designed to attract links. You may have heard the term ‘linkbait’ thrown around in content marketing circles. That’s something that’s worth thinking about in the long term, but not the place to start – just start by producing interesting, insightful and opinion driven content. That should start to attract some links. Further down the line, you can look at creating blogs explicitly for that purpose.
5 – Fuels your organic social media activity
How do you make your social media accounts an interesting place to be? How do you make them worth your users’ time and why should they bother following them?
Sharing your own high-quality blogs may not be the only thing you should be doing on social media, but it certainly gives you something interesting and unique to talk about.
What’s more, you can use social to garner users feedback on your blogs and get a better understanding of which articles draw the most attention from your userbase. This can then inform the kinds of articles you write in future.
“But ‘blog’ is too unprofessional for our brand”
Then don’t call it a blog. It’s as simple as that. Blogging in this context is a strand of content activity, rather than what that section of your website needs to be called.
Call it something that fits with your brand’s tone of voice. Or better still, call it something that is going to resonate with your target audience and the kind of information they’re looking for.
That could mean calling your blog something that relates to discussion like ‘Opinions’ or ‘Advice Centre’, or something more empirical like ‘Articles’ or ‘Research’. But don’t fixate on the name and certainly don’t turn it into a reason not to ‘blog’.
Yes, naming and signposting are both important. But what’s more important is understanding why regular, interesting content is vital to your website’s success – and assigning the necessary resource to make sure you get it done.
Find out more about what goes into a successful content marketing strategy
Blogging – whatever you call it – is an important part of your overall content marketing strategy. However, it’s only one part of a greater whole.
If you’d like to find out more about content strategy, then download our free guide – The Essential Guide to Content Marketing.