During a radio broadcast in October 1939, Winston Churchill spoke about the possible future actions of Russia’s government. His statement on that subject has since become one of his many famous quotes. He said:
“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”
To some business owners, the importance of blogging may also seem like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. To help solve that riddle, we’re going to take a closer look at why blogging is key to your business interest and how writing blogs can lead to victory over your competition.
The Origin of Blogging
When the Internet started gaining popularity in the 1990s, the only people who could create websites were “webmasters” who knew the HTML coding language and the technical process to upload HTML files onto a web server. As businesses started building websites as part of their marketing efforts, they relied on these webmasters to post their marketing materials online.
The process of creating website content and then having a webmaster convert it into HTML and upload the file became costly and took too much time. It was like needing a wholesale middleman to distribute your fresh donuts instead of just being able to open a Krispy Kreme store and sell them hot out of the oven directly to consumers. The obvious need to streamline that process and make it accessible to people without technical skills led to the development of web log software, which became known as “weblogs,” which was shortened to “blogs.”
In the late 1990s, community sites dedicated to blog-publishing became very popular, because they allow anyone to quickly create a membership account and easily publish a journal of their thoughts on the web, as well as access all of the other blogs within the community. Another important and popular feature of a blog post is the built-in functionality that allows a reader to directly post comments about the article on the same page—and the author can then respond to the reader about those comments. This conversational aspect of blogging influenced the development of social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, which is actually a micro-blogging site.
Today, community blog sites such as Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress host hundreds of millions of individual blogs that can be access by members—and over 500 million “tweets” are published on Twitter daily. Blogging functionality is also built into almost all website content management systems, which is why a high percentage of business websites contain a blog section. So, why is blogging important?
Why is Blogging Important?
A major reason that blogging has become such an important part of strategic business marketing is because communicating your expertise with your target market is an essential part of establishing trust. A blog allows you to quickly disseminate relevant information directly from the source to an interested audience in need of accurate and in-depth information about your products and services. Plus, a blog provides you with the ability to easily post photos, graphics, videos, as well as downloadable PDFs, such as white papers, technical specifications, and user manuals.
A frequently updated corporate blog can become the lead “voice” of your business and brand. It can be the primary source of your content marketing and search engine optimization efforts. Your blog can be the place where you and/or other writers engage your audience in a serious two-way conversation about recent trends and industry news. Another important aspect of a blog is its ability to catalog your posts into specific directories based on the topics of your articles, the keywords they contain, the dates they were published, and specific authors.
Advertising can make people familiar with your brand and products, as well as maintain top-of-mind awareness, but a 60-second spot won’t provide the deep information people seek when they conduct serious research before they make a significant purchase. Your blog can be the place people go to learn the details and specifications they need to know before they are willing to spend their hard-earned cash.
Impulsively spending a few dollars on donuts, based on seeing a neon “Hot Now” sign, is a lot different than deciding where to spend over $100 per week for your family’s groceries, or buying a $50,000 luxury car, or picking a neighborhood in which you’ll invest $300,000 in a house. Check out these sites from Whole Foods Market, BMW, and Zillow to see examples of blogs that significantly contribute to the success of these corporations, which respectively target grocery shoppers, car buyers, and homeowners.
Reasons Your Business Should Write Blogs
To reiterate what we’ve stated above about the importance of blogging, here are a few of the reasons your company should be regularly publishing blog articles:
- Attract Visitors to Your Website: The bottom line of web marketing is that you need qualified prospects to become aware of your company and the products and service it offers. Unless someone already knows about you, the primary way they will discover your marketing content on the web is by finding it on a search engine results page (SERP). You can continually pay Google to place pay-per-click (PPC) ads on their results pages, but that becomes expensive and you retain nothing of value if the visitor is not converted into a lead. By blogging, you feed Google the content it needs as the basis of its rankings and you permanently retain the articles that contribute to your free organic SERP rankings. As your site’s content grows and the information it provides to visitors becomes more in-depth, your rankings and conversion rate will improve over time.
- Convert Qualified Prospects into Warm Leads: The beauty of search engine optimization is that the keyword phrases searchers type into a search engine describe exactly what they need. If you understand the problems your products and services solve, and match those solutions with some keyword research, you will be able to continually create blog content that directly communicates how you can and will help prospects. If your content shows you can solve problems and that you are a trustworthy expert at what you do, then it becomes easy for a prospect to take the next step in the buyer’s journey to making a purchase.
- Establish Your Authority: As we’ve mentioned, being considered a trustworthy expert is a key factor in a prospect’s decision-making process. If your blog articles focus on the known questions that your customers typically ask, then you will prove to them that you understand their needs and have the right answers. Anticipating your customers’ needs goes a long way to making you the first choice. Think about how Steve Jobs understood and anticipated the needs and desires of his target audience before buyers of the Macintosh computer, the iPod, and the iPhone even knew they had those needs or desires. When Apple communicated the benefits of its innovative products, prospective buyers quickly realized the expertise and authority behind them. Even if you don’t offer groundbreaking innovations like Apple, your products and services probably solve problems that are equally important to your audience. Therefore, you need to continually communicate the benefits you provide—and blogging is a great way to do that.
- Focus on the Long-Term: If your focus is short-sighted, your results will be short-term. If you focus on being in the game for the long-run, your efforts will eventually lead to many victories. Blogging is a tried and true method of building a permanent catalog of content that communicates the value of your offerings. The story and perception of your brand will grow in proportion to your content marketing efforts. Blogging has established itself as one of the default best methods of effective corporate communications. If you need another example to illustrate why you should be blogging for long-term success, here is an excellent corporate blog that shows why you need to just do it: Nike News.
Blogging Help and Tools
If you’re ready to start blogging, but need some information about the proper structure for a good blog post, read our article, Why Blogging is Good for Strategic Marketing.
If you need some additional blogging guidance, to make sure your blog content accomplishes your long-term strategic marketing goals, click the button below to download our free blog template.
Photo of Winston Churchill (1943) from Wikipedia, courtesy of the United Kingdom Government.
Photo of Krispy Kreme sign from Krispy Kreme Texas Blog.