In a world of short soundbites and status updates, corporate blogging is one of the most effective ways for businesses to stand out online and connect with target audiences. Just about anyone can send a 140-character tweet. But not just anyone has the resources, expertise, and experience to craft compelling blog content that can attract and engage an audience.
Does your business have blog? No? Here are nine reasons why you should:
1) Showcasing Thought Leadership and Industry Expertise
Does your company have industry expertise? Regardless of what niche you’re in, I would certainly hope so. Blogging isn’t about corporate messaging — it’s about discussing the topics that affect your industry and that are important to your audiences. By providing valuable insight on these issues, you can position yourself as a thought leader and build credibility for your company in the eyes of customers, prospects and other key audiences.
2) Giving Your Company a Voice
Your blog should reflect a style and tone that will be embraced by your readers, but that are also aligned with your brand’s overall identity. Customers and prospects are rarely looking for corporate messaging. What they want is content they can connect with — whether it’s educational, informative, entertaining, or all of the above. Blogging gives your company a real, human voice, as your blog’s authors discuss industry developments and company news, while adding their own thoughts and commentary to the mix.
3) Providing Fresh, Quality Content for Search Engines
Nothing represents the search engine industry’s shift toward quality content better than Google’s Panda algorithm update in February 2011, which was intended to clean up search results by lowering the rank of pages with thin content, duplicate content, and other quality and user-experience issues. Since then, there have been over a dozen updates to Panda. There was also a “Freshness” update in November 2011 to prioritize recent and timely content in search results; and Google’s Penguin update in April 2012 to take certain on-site and off-site spam signals into account.
Blogging allows businesses to add the kind of high-quality and fresh content that has always connected well with readers — but that, finally, search engines are now making more of an effort to reward.
4) Attracting Inbound Links
Even as social signals gain more and more traction, inbound links still remain an extremely important ranking factor for search engines. If you’re producing thought-provoking and insightful content on your blog, you will have a great chance of attracting inbound links to blog posts. You can check out my guest post for Zemanta on several tactics to build links with quality blog content.
Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, had a nice line in his presentation at LinkLove Boston in April, about a magic button that can get you hundreds of links as soon as you press it. It looks like this:
Of course, it helps to have tens of thousands of loyal readers, but you get the idea!
5) Internal Linking
Blogging provides the perfect opportunity to place internal links strategically throughout your content. Of course, you want internal links in your sitewide navigation (such as in your menubar and footer), but you also want to place in-content internal links as a way to present readers with relevant and supporting information that will get them deeper into the site and ultimately more interested in your business.
Internal links are also crucial for SEO because they help distribute PageRank (“link juice”) to important pages across your site. Furthermore, the anchor text used for your internal links is another strong signal that helps search engines determine what those linked pages are about.
Just as with most other SEO tactics, though, you want to be very careful not to engage in excessive internal linking, which is a blatant spam signal for search engines.
6) Driving Long-Tail Search Traffic
Long-tail queries are longer, more specific search queries (usually three or more words in length). By nature, long-tail search queries are less competitive than “head terms” which, on an individual level, get more search volume. On a cumulative level, however, long-tail search queries ultimately combine to drive the vast majority (over 70%) of all traffic from search engines.
Whenever you publish a new blog post, that post has a chance to rank for long-tail phrases used in the title and throughout the content. The more targeted content you publish, the more opportunities you have to rank in search engines and, therefore, drive targeted visitors to your site from search engines.
Check out my article for the Content Marketing Institute for more information on keyword placement within blog posts.
7) Fueling Your Social Channels
Blog posts are excellent material to share across your social networks. You can use Twitter to share a short and sweet tidbit along with a link; Google+ and Facebook to share a short description of the post, ask questions and invite some engagement with your followers; Pinterest if your post has an appealing graphic; and the list goes on.
You also want to make sure that you have clear social sharing buttons enabled on every single blog post so that readers will be more inclined to share your content, as well.
Highlights from your blog and featured posts can make great content for your company newsletter, too.
8) Google Authorship
As part of Google’s efforts to add credibility and personalization to search results, they’ve implemented AuthorRank, which can associate a Web page — such as an article or blog post — with the author’s Google+ profile. If you follow the instructions here, you can actually get your blog posts to rank in Google with a “rich author snippet” like this:
A rich snippet like this can help your results stand out in the SERPs (search engine results pages), and therefore improve click-thru rate and help you drive more visitors from search engines.
9) The Bottom Line: Increasing Leads and Conversions
According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, 57% of companies that blog have acquired a customer from their blog. The report also found a strong, direct correlation between customer acquisition and publishing frequency.
The reason that companies engage in any type of marketing activity is to help generate more business. Duh! HubSpot statistics aside, for all the reasons discussed in this post, blogging can help you attract customers and prospects, elevate your presence in search engines, and demonstrate industry expertise — all of which can ultimately help your business bring in new leads and increase conversions.
I think you probably get the point by now: If your business doesn’t have a blog yet, it should. And if you don’t have the time or resources to build a successful blog in-house… feel free to contact us!