When should a blog be used as a form of content marketing?

You’ve probably heard it all 100,000,000 times before:

  1. “If your business doesn’t have a blog you won’t succeed”
  2. “Blogging helps your SEO – why aren’t you doing it?”
  3. “Why haven’t you been blogging for the last 5 years?”
  4. “What’s your 2016 blogging strategy?”

According to a number of industry influencers, if you aren’t blogging, you’re failing. If you didn’t know already, a blog can bring world peace, cure the common cold and even find you the perfect spouse. No really, it’s repeated time and time again that a blog can expand your audience, build traffic and improve engagement on your site.

Whilst the power of a good blog on the right site cannot be tainted, and having one can actually bring all of those good things, you should always question the relevancy and the ROI. When and why should you be blogging?

When is a blog not always the right form of content marketing?

1. When you have a better way to attract customers to the top of the funnel.

To put it plainly, a blog is only one way of attracting new customers. Solicitors don’t tend to blog; they simply don’t have the time or resource, rather they are likely to gain new customers through word of mouth referrals.

If paid search brings you in £60k and your blog contributes to £10k, it’s probably justifiable to prioritise paid search (but consider running the blog in the background). If you create whitepapers and find these are the hottest leads for your company offering a 30:1 ROI over your blog readers, invest more time in your whitepaper strategy.

None of the above means you will NEVER have to write a blog or you should NEVER consider thinking about creating one, rather it’s something to reassess when your rate of growth in any other channels changes. If you’ve crunched your numbers and the blog just doesn’t cut the mustard right now, use the tactics your customers are currently utilising instead.

2. You think that thought leadership simply means regurgitating the news

There is a massive difference between creating new, relevant information and rehashing it. Truth is, most people or business just don’t have the time or the vision to really commit to becoming a ‘thought leader’.

A blog can be a big opportunity to show your audience how you understand and shape your industry but if you can’t find someone who’s dedicated to write blog posts that shape or expand upon the existing knowledge base, then I’d recommend you save your ink.

3. Your business is all about timely content

What if your brand is built only around messaging? The BBC does not need a blog because anyone on the site can expect up-to-date, timely content. If readers of the BBC want to engage with their content, they will comment on the articles or share them.

4. You own your own market

Coca Cola, Amazon, Google – it’s safe to say that all of these companies have built their brand to a place where people recognise them and are familiar with their products. A blog would only provide them with a small benefit because they are already a well established and recognised brand, they won’t often get found through the blog, people will be making branded searches.

Traffic

Does Coca Cola really mind how much traffic comes to their site when you already have that six-pack of Coke cans in your fridge at home? Do they need to care? Probably not so much. They might take an interest in the numbers, but it’s doubtful for traffic to be their main concern.

Audience

Need to order books or a new Xbox game? You don’t need a blog to find Amazon. It’s right there at the top of your history browser, and the product you ordered is being delivered today – remember?

Industry Authority

Google. Sure, they do have a blog, but most of Google’s users see their platform as the primary search query engine that they don’t necessarily have an interest in or a need for their blog.

When should you be investing in blogging?

Now let’s take a quick look at when a blog might be useful to use as part of your content marketing strategy.

1. You want traffic to your site

The general consensus is that the more (necessary and relevant) pages you have built, the more likely you are to rank. Well, the more useful content you build on your blog, the more collateral you have to showcase to your audience via social, email and anywhere else!

2. You want to connect with people

Create an extra venue for your customers through your blog. A blog can be a host for your FAQ content, a place where you can experiment with new ideas and show off your knowledge base – all of which help your customers get to know you better. And whilst you’re at it, you’re creating a place for them to comment and interact with you. Winner!

3. You have something to add to the discussion

Ask yourself, do you have a strong opinion on what’s going on within your industry? Do you have something to add? Share your interests and stories with a thoughtful commentary.

The bottom line

Don’t blog because someone told you that you have to otherwise you might fail. A blog is a big investment and sustaining that blog is hard work.

Have you abstained from a blog for one reason or another? Or have you abstained before but suddenly realise the benefit for your business? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch with me on Twitter.

The post When should a blog be used as a form of content marketing? appeared first on White.net.

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