The Social Side, Part 4: All Hail the Power of the BlogHow-To Guides — By Alaina Sheer on September 14, 2010 at 8:00 am
Yes, I’ll admit it: I worship blogs as if they are the marketer’s Holy Grail, the lifeblood to any Internet marketing strategy. Regardless of product, service or industry, blogs are essential to success. In fact, I have yet to find a business that doesn’t need a blog.
Far from the stereotypical blog, your marketing blog –a live website that a business can update frequently– won’t be nearly as entertaining or addictive to read. However, websites with blogs enjoy more traffic and, therefore, more business leads or customers. (And for the record, I’ll be the first to tell you that marketing blogs need a new name.)
Companies that blog enjoy 55 percent more visitors and 97 percent more inbound links to their websites than companies that don’t blog, according to HubSpot.com.
Why are blogs all powerful? Here are a just a few reasons:
1. Blogs are a long-term investment that keeps on giving. Like real estate, a blog grows more valuable with age. Every time you write a new blog post, you are essentially creating a new, unique Web page for the search engines to scan and humans to find. As these blog posts mature and you link back to them and others link to them, they climb in search engine rankings and you earn more traffic and views. If you spend one hour on a blog post today, that hour will be paying you back years from now.
2. Without a blog, your Facebook and Twitter strategy is extremely limited. In order to keep your followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook engaged with your brand, you’ll need to come to the table with interesting and relevant content. For example, posting links back to your static website on Facebook will get old− fast.
3. Blogs keep it fresh. Blogs are essentially a way for you, a business, to update your customers on new products, new services, or to show them a more personal side of your brand. The Tigertree blog is a fantastic example of a local retail blog. It is updated frequently and offers an easy way for loyal customers to see what’s just come in without physically popping by the store.
4. Authority quickly follows. When you write about your craft, industry or service, every blog post is an investment in your reputation as an expert and someone your customers can trust.
5. Earn inbound links and referral traffic. No one will talk about you or your business if you don’t give them something to talk about. By creating new and interesting content, you’ll earn inbound links and have the chance to create a buzz around your business.
Great. You want a blog and you understand why they are a valuable investment. So now what? Create your first blog. No excuses.
If you have a budget…
The price of Cement Marketing’s blog and website packages for small businesses starts at $2,700, for example. Prices increase depending on the special functions or custom design you may need. If you want help using WordPress (our preferred blogging platform), then bring us in or another smaller firm that offers the same services.
If you don’t have a budget, but you have time…
Set up your own blog. It’s easy. I promise. But you will need time− about 10 to 15 hours for a beginner and about five hours for a more advanced, technologically savvy marketer. Here’s how to create your own blog:
1. Buy a theme. You would be amazed at the number of beautiful, pre-designed WordPress themes out there. Just Google “WordPress themes” or check out WooThemes.com or DIYThesis.com. Cement Marketing recommends both and often uses them for our clients.
3. Ask them how to install your new WordPress theme. They should walk you through the process and, minutes later, you’ll have administator access and a blog of your very own.
4. Scour WordPress forums for helpful tips on adding plug-ins and learning blogging basics, from uploading photos to linking. There also are some great WordPress tutorials on YouTube.
If you don’t have a blog today and you are a business owner, it’s high time you jumped into the 21st century. No excuses. If you still aren’t convinced, take the following analogy into consideration.
Your website is like your front lawn. You can mow it today when it’s up to your shins or wait until it’s up to your waist. The sooner the better and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to mow. And what about your competitors? One of you will mow your lawn first and start creating content that ranks socially and higher in search engines. Will it be you or them?
Don’t miss the rest of “The Social Side.” Upcoming posts include:
- How much you should spend on a Tweet: Your social media budget
- How to get and keep fans: Building your social fan base
Alaina Sheer is Chief Digital Strategist and Founder of Cement Marketing, a website design, development, social marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) firm in Columbus. Visit CementMarketing.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for Sheer's upcoming speaking engagements on social marketing.
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