When I discovered a post titled 12 reasons to put Blogs at the center of your Content Marketing, authored by Heidi Cohen, at the CMI (Content Marketing Institute) blog, it was so timely, so spot on and had so many important benefits in it, I just had to post about it.
The essential idea behind this great summary is that a blog has become THE essential component in any online marketing activity today. And in a recent eMarketer study conducted in late 2010, over 50% of the organizations surveyed viewed a blog as part of the cost of doing business today.
However, a blog can serve as much more than just an essential marketing component. In fact, it’s becoming more and more evident that a blog can serve as the HUB of your content marketing and online publishing.
A robust, flexible platform that delivers real business value.
The 12 benefits below underscore the tremendous value a blog can provide for a branded environment that’s optimized for content creation and distribution. What’s more, a blog can provide great flexibility for integrating with a social media strategy. So take a look at all of the additional value that a blog offers.
1. Blogs are an easy-to-use CMS (aka content management system).
Blogs require limited training and/or technical skill to use while providing flexibility to update or modify content quickly. As an added bonus, blogs are inexpensive.
2. Blogs are part of a company’s owned media.
Blog content is owned by your organization and can be integrated into your website. Unlike other third-party and social media outposts, you don’t need to worry about whether they’ll disappear or go out of business. A blog can serve in lieu of a website.
3. Blogs provide branded context for your content.
As part of your firm’s owned media, blogs offer a branded context for your communications through the use of blog design elements that can be exported with the content. You can extend your brand without paying for third party media.
4. Blogs integrate your brand into your content marketing.
Beyond the blog’s branded context, blogs create a blog personality with a unique voice. They offer communications transparency and the opportunity to write in a conversational tone that makes your brand feel “human”. Just be sure to avoid content that is clearly self-promotional, and ensure your blog personality is integrated with your brand personality across other social media platforms.
5. Blogs enhance search optimization.
Though their keyword-rich content, architecture and cross-linking to other content on the Web, blogs support search optimization efforts. (Note: This assumes you’re using your own domain not a free third party blogging platform.)
6. Blogs are a 24/7 communication platform.
With increased need for real-time communications, blogs are a great place to quickly publish favorable content about your brand or respond to evolving issues. Plug-in software can automate your editorial calendar.
7. Blogs support an array of media formats.
For distributing branded content, blogs simplify the uploading and management of text, photographs, graphics, videos, audio, presentations and PDFs. When creating offline content and events, consider what kind of online content can go on your blog.
8. Blogs facilitate content distribution through multiple channels.
Blogs can expand your message delivery through email and RSS feeds at no additional cost. Blog posts can also be automatically collected into email digests.
9. Blogs supply content for social media interactions.
Blog content is currency for social media engagement on social sharing sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to include icons and tailored calls-to-action. (Remember, these shares translate to earned media impressions(aka free.)
10. Blogs provide a targeted location to direct prospects and customers.
With a URL or QR code you can direct prospects, customers and the public to your blog from other forms of content marketing. This gives you a way to connect the various components across platforms.
11. Blogs are flexible enough to support diverse initiatives.
Blogs can help companies achieve a variety of corporate goals, such as providing product-related content, answering customer questions, attracting new prospects and hosting an executive platform.
12. Blogs provide metrics that you can use to track content marketing to business goals.
As with any business strategy, it’s critical to monitor your progress. There are a variety of metrics to assess your blog’s effectiveness. Integrating Google Analytics is a great place to start to establish a performance baseline for your blog. Improving from there involves the tried and true method of test, evaluate, revise and test again.
Are you using a blog as the center of your content marketing strategy and online marketing effort?
If so, are you realizing measurable business value from it? Share your experience.