It doesn’t seem like so long ago that blogging was some crazy new technology that was really going to disrupt the status quo of content distribution. Now, in an age of Twitter gurus and Facebook experts, blogging seems almost as old and outdated as licking stamps. But I’d like to offer some advice on why you shouldn’t neglect your blog.
This is not a "blogging vs. social media" column (though maybe I should’ve written one like that as comment bait). It’s a simple reminder of the things that make blogging a useful piece of your marketing and business efforts.
Being in the right place at the right time
While it’s true that people often trust information from their friends and acquaintances more than any other source, a huge number of people start their quest for more information at a generic search engine.
You can view a compete.com breakdown of traffic to Google, Facebook and Twitter at this link: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/facebook.com+google.com+twitter.com/.
An important thing to note, when looking at raw traffic numbers like this, is visitor intent. When someone is going to Google.com, chances are very good that they are in the mood to find information. If they’re going to Facebook.com or Twitter.com, the amount of "searchyness" in their intent may not be the same.
Your blog is something that can be available to those people in the mood for search.
When you write a blog post, it stays available until you decide to make it unavailable. This allows you to treat each blog post as an intellectual property asset that continues to work for you while you’re asleep. For example, say you write a blog post defining the main neighborhoods in your market area. Anyone looking for information on those neighborhoods has a reasonable chance of finding you via that neighborhood article. Forever. Or at least until you take the post down.
A real-world example: My wife and I were buying groceries the other day and the person working the checkout, who we’ve never seen before, recognized my wife. The checkout employee remembered reading my wife’s blog from three years ago. That blog had a grand total of 10 posts written in one month.
You can look at your Web analytics to find posts that continue to be popular on your site long after they’ve been written. The results may surprise you. I’ve found posts that were written years ago but are consistently pulling in new traffic. Tip: Use this information to come up with new blog posts. …CONTINUED
Leverage your expertise
If you claim to be your market’s "Leading Waterfront Property Expert," your blog provides an optimal way to show this. In this case, I’d expect to see more than one article about waterfront property in your market. Sometimes displaying expertise requires a couple hundred words or several posts to become apparent.
Online, giving up control is often good. Chances are your customers know more about their needs than you do. But there’s definitely still some value in having a place of your own. Here are some important aspects of control that you can leverage on your blog:
Organization of your content can promote your expertise.
Visual design can promote your brand or articles that are known to convert visitors.
Web analytics data can help you tune marketing messages and identify customer pain-points.
Peripheral messages (aka advertising) are removable.
Comments, images and other messages can be pruned to keep only the relevant ones.
It still isn’t for everyone
But blogging isn’t for everyone. It never was. Some people don’t like writing. Others might like it but don’t have the time or willingness to improve their writing to a point that they feel comfortable sharing it with the world.
The big sigh of relief in social media marketing is that it removes the burden of generating larger chunks of content and makes it OK to have short bursts of information and interactivity. And this is good, because some people were never meant to write long form. But if you have the willingness and capability, blogging should remain a piece of your marketing and social business practice.
Gahlord Dewald is the president and janitor of Thoughtfaucet, a strategic creative services company in Burlington, Vt. He’s a frequent speaker on applying analytics and data to creative marketing endeavors.
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