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You know your company needs a blog for your website, and maybe you even have intentions of starting one yourself. A blog is an important part of content marketing, but unfortunately, many businesses’ blogs end up in the vast expansion of the blog graveyard. Considering how important a blog is to any marketing strategy, make sure yours doesn’t end up there, too.
Image via Flickr by Retlaw Snellac Photography
For some companies, a blog seems like an obvious addition to a website. Other companies might not necessarily see the relevance. Regardless of what service or goods you sell, if you have a website, you should have a blog. Although your blog serves several purposes, the main goal is to increase leads and retain customers.
It starts with attracting customers. When consumers begin their search for a repairman or new curtains, it will typically start online. In fact, according to Adweek, 81 percent of shoppers start by researching a product or service online, with 60 percent using a search engine. If you are a plumber, and someone is looking for information about their leaky pipes, you want that person to stumble upon your website. Your blog offers the opportunity to match the keywords that someone uses in their search to the relevant words on your site.
It’s great when someone stumbles upon your website, but that’s just the first purpose of your blog. Once a person has come to your site, you want them to return, and to refer you, intentionally or unintentionally, to their friends, family, and social network. The more relevant and interesting information you have on your blog, the more likely a consumer will return and share that information on social media to their friends and family.
It’s not just enough to have a blog; it needs to be active and applicable. If a reader stumbles upon an article on your blog, they may keep clicking through to further their research. If your most recent blog post was from 2008, then suddenly the trust you initially garnered from your blog is lost.
Your blog shouldn’t just apply to your company, but to a broad range of information. No one wants to read a narcissistic blog that focuses only on why that particular company is great. People want general information about the topic in question. Although you should cleverly highlight your business throughout your blog posts, the reader shouldn’t be slammed with pitches and hard sells while they are doing their research.
Now that you know why you need a blog, you might be tempted to hop on your computer and start writing. What people don’t realize is blogging is an intensive and demanding job, and it’s not something you can fit in on the side. If you scroll through websites, you can quickly find the all-too-common blog graveyard. These are blogs with a couple of posts, typically with grammatical errors, that companies haven’t updated in years. You quickly lose your authority on the subject if your blog looks like a deserted, forgotten piece of your site. In that case, you might as well not have a blog at all.
Everyone has the best intentions when they start a blog on their own. It’s just that a blog starts to feel more like a hassle. When you have other day-to-day work commitments, a blog becomes the first thing set aside. Hiring a third-party to handle your site ensures your blog thrives.
You should see your blog as one of your most valuable marketing tools, and your marketing budget should reflect that. In fact, Forbes reported that more successful companies typically issue a higher amount of their marketing budget to content marketing.
Most DIY blogs end up in the blog graveyard. Even if you can keep up the company blog in-house, you might be doing yourself a disservice. By outsourcing your blog, you’re putting this important aspect of your website into the hands of experts. These people know the tricks to getting your blog found in search engines, and are able to create shareable content. You might be an expert on the subject, and while that authority is important, it’s equally important to get found and shared.
By outsourcing your content marketing, you essentially get to stop worrying about it. You know you will have fresh, relevant content as often as necessary to keep your online content working toward your marketing goals. If you hire the right company, you will also know your content will be free from grammatical errors, which is crucial in maintaining your marketing material’s integrity. Finally, you will know that beyond the content, your blog posts will engage the reader, promote your business, and urge that reader to share your posts as well.
Hiring a marketing company or freelancer to handle your blog doesn’t automatically make sure that your blog will prosper. Although it might be tempting to find a freelancer to handle your blog, hiring a company is typically the better bet. It’s tough for freelancers to edit their work to perfection. A company will have several pairs of eyes on an article, newsletter, or post before it goes live.
When you’re vetting companies, ask for samples of their previous work. Check out blogs that they now run, and look at the company’s blog. If they don’t have a consistent, relevant, and engaging blog, you probably shouldn’t trust them to handle your blog and content marketing.
Content marketing is an investment, and so if the company is promising articles and content for excessively cheap, remember the adage, you get what you pay for. Once you’ve hired a company for your blog, read the content and give direction. No one knows your business as you do, and you should have thoughts about the type of content you’re offering to your consumers and readers.
Ultimately, you want your blog to bring in traffic and customers for your business. Because just about anyone is able to start a blog, people mistakenly think they can do it well. Outsource your blog to the experts, and make sure your blog is doing everything to help your cause. Nothing discourages customers like having a blog with one foot in the grave.