I was with a client who was sharing their new plan to aggressively implement an inbound marketing strategy. As he was briefing his team on the importance of the blog, he said something that struck me. He told them, “The entire reason we blog is for SEO traffic.”
It struck me not because it’s inaccurate – blogging is among the most effective SEO tactics out there – but because it was incomplete. Blogging does so much more than just drive quality traffic.
I’ve been blogging for more than 10 years now and I can unequivocally say that blogging has been the single greatest, most leverage-able thing I’ve ever done. Several years ago I calculated the value of blogging for me at around $2.2 million. Today it’s a multiple of that.
Blogs are extraordinarily powerful for a variety of reasons. Chief amongst them is that they’re built for the reader, not the marketer. The reader does not have to register to read your blog, and can subscribe to your content in multiple ways (some of which maintain their anonymity). Sharing valuable content through a blog allows you to build trust and equity with your markets, giving you the opportunity to earn their attention and influence them.
In our work, we’ve found six compelling reasons to put blogging at the top of your marketing efforts.
Drive Traffic Growth at the Top of the Funnel
Blogging unquestionably drives traffic. What’s more, the more you blog the more you grow quality traffic. I’m currently working on a post that will highlight our journey to 10x’ing traffic in four years. You can pinpoint the genesis of that growth to our decision to increase the consistency of our blogging efforts.
Blogging drives traffic for several reasons:
- It builds content around important keywords, creating the context necessary to align with search algorithms.
- Consistent blogging means you create more content and the more content you create, the more long-tail keywords you’ll win.
- Delivering quality content through a medium like a blog creates more inbound links (which drives referral traffic) and increases your domain authority (which drives search traffic).
- Blogging spreads through word of mouth, social sharing and even conversations.
Deliver Your Teaching Point of View
Blogging puts you in the role of teacher. You’ve got the opportunity to share both simple and complex thoughts in an easily consumed format. If you want to win the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and the top of your funnel, you need to be challenging your customers’ thought processes. You need to be teaching them about the problem as well as your solution.
The reality is that there is virtually no medium other than blogging that enables you to teach the problem without creating friction. Salespeople are too busy and too valuable to be teaching the problem so early in the buying cycle and other options limit your audience.
On a side note, one of the primary reasons that a blog fails to capture the attention of a desired market is that it’s not really teaching anything. Put another way, if your desired audience doesn’t come to your blog and feel as though they are regularly learning something valuable that is important to them, they’re probably not going to read your blog often. Bottom line, stop blogging about yourself and watch your blogging ROI soar!
Give Visitors a Reason to Come Back
When a visitor goes to your website is there a reason to come back? If the answer isn’t a clear and emphatic “Yes!” you’ve got a problem.
Consistently blogging (that teaches) gives your visitors a reason to stay tuned and pay attention. Blogging is highly effective at nurturing your prospects. The fastest way to see how well you’re doing at this is to monitor the growth of blog subscriptions from qualified prospects.
Eliminate the Barriers to Advancing Sales
This is my favorite blogging technique. When I’m confronted with a good prospect who doesn’t seem to be making the connection or I’m struggling to overcome an objection, I write a blog post about it. In my first several years of blogging, this accounted for probably about half of the blog topics I developed.
Today it’s not as frequent but it’s still highly effective. Two weeks ago, I wrote this post for two sales situations I’m involved in. Since that time, we’ve advanced one opportunity and closed the other. By the way, this is why it’s so important that marketers sit in pipeline reviews regularly.
Make it Easier for Salespeople to Deliver Your Message
The toughest problem I’ve ever dealt with as a sales team leader is creating consistency among my sales team in the delivery of our desired message. Sales leaders are forced to balance the complexity of messages with the ability to communicate and deliver it consistently throughout their team.
To make matters even more challenging, the trend today for internal selling (the need for your primary contacts to influence others within their organization) is exploding.“Teaching” your prospect to effectively deliver a complex proposition in a simple, powerful means is virtually impossible.
Blogging is the ideal solution for this. We create nurturing programs using blogs as the primary content. We are also able to create channels that appeal to specific buyer personas or specific situations, and create pages dedicated to the issues we are discussing with a specific customer/prospect.
Enhance Your Customer Service
An often overlooked impact of blogging is the value it can have on your service. We’ve used blogs to enhance the service we’re able to give clients while also making the entire process more efficient (and less costly) for us.
There are several things we do with clients that create a lot of questions. The questions are pretty similar from client to client. For those items, we write a blog post or series and share those posts with clients. For example, recently we were talking about developing lead nurturing tracks with a client. In advance of the call to discuss that, we sent them to this page which has several of the blog posts we’ve written on the subject.
We asked them to read those posts in advance of the call. This enabled our strategists to spend more of their time talking about how to implement the approach rather than teaching the basics. It also helped our customer be more confident because they were able to understand the approach before talking about it.
Blogging is one of the most powerful demand generation tools available to any organization. While SEO and traffic are certainly highly impactful blogging opportunities, don’t miss the other benefits available to you by blogging regularly.