Despite the many business benefits of blogging, it remains an underutilized tactic. Recent research shows that only 37% of the Inc. 500 fastest-growing companies and just 35% of the Fortune 100 enterprises maintain blogs. While blog adoption is actually slightly higher among small to midsized businesses (SMBs), roughly half are still not taking advantage of this medium.
Here are six compelling reasons for organizations of all sizes to make blogging the center of their social media and content marketing efforts.
Search engine optimization (SEO). Blogs are naturally great for search because they enable a company to rank for a much higher number of keywords, they can organically attract diverse high-quality links, and blog posts are far more likely to be shared in social media than standard website content. And presuming that blog is hosted on your company domain (e.g. blog.company.com or company.com/blog), the benefit of all of that link and social signal authority also accrues to your corporate website.
Fresh content. A blog is one of the best ways to continually produce fresh content for your website. Search engines love fresh content, and a steady stream of new information is what keeps visitors coming back to your site.
Flexibility. Every other type of social venue imposes limits on the length, format or type of content you can post. Twitter gives you only 140 characters, LinkedIn limits you to a corporate profile and product descriptions, Facebook limits you to whatever Mark Zuckerberg decided this morning. But blog posts can be short or long, visual or text-heavy, and incorporate virtually any type of media. You can post a video on YouTube, pin an infographic on Pinterest, upload a presentation to SlideShare, and embed any of these in a blog post.
Ownership. On social networking sites, you give up significant control over your information. There’s no easy way to find or search old tweets. Facebook changes its layout with annoying frequency. Smaller social networks have been know to disappear entirely, taking your content with them into the ether. With a blog, you own the content, control the platform, and decide on the format.
Leads. According to research from HubSpot, “Businesses with websites that have 401-1000 web pages get six times more leads than those with 51-100 pages. By creating more offers and blog articles, you create more opportunities to rank in search engines.” Unless your company or product line is very large, blogging is the most practical and valuable way to expand your website content.
Content that makes all other tactics more effective. Integrating a blog makes a static corporate LinkedIn profile into a dynamic company information page. A blog provides content for Facebook postings. And blogging makes Twitter use much more successful. Another HubSpot study found that “”companies that blog have 79% more Twitter followers than those that don’t…The relationship between blogging and Twitter followers is particularly strong for small businesses…small businesses that blog on average have 102% more Twitter followers than those who don’t.”
Given all of the benefits, why have so many firms still not embraced blogging? Many will cite the ongoing cost and effort required. But using figures from Mack Collier on the cost of blogging, a typical setup cost is $3,000 or less, and common ongoing cost is $3,000 or less per month for 1-2 blog posts per week. Those costs assume using an external writing resource, but the internal cost equivalents of using your own staff are likely close.
That works out to an ongoing cost of $36,000 per year for an appreciating asset (blog traffic builds over time as more content is added and authority is built). Considering the average cost to exhibit at a single trade show is around $25,000, blogging seems like a no-brainer bargain.
Jason Miller says
Nice post. I agree with you completely. Those stats on Fortune 500/ 100 companies maintaining a blog are surprising and quite frightening at the same time.
I like to use the analogy of the “blog is the Mothership for all other social content initiatives”, or even better, in reference to The Big Lebowski, “it’s the social media rug that ties the room together.”
Jason Miller – Marketo
Thanks Jason. One has to wonder whether the Fortune 500 are behind the curve, don’t have any thought leaders, or prefer to spend their money on more effective online initiatives like, oh maybe, Facebook ads. `Cause those worked out really well for GM after all.
Ilias Chelidonis says
Hey Tom, great post! According to my experience, a blog is the KEY tool to implement a successful social media marketing strategy, it is the foundation to creating great content, however, to avoid misunderstanding, a blog is just a tool, what is needed to succeed is creativity, how do i create great content just from an idea, a tip, a suggestion and lots of work, there is no shortcut on these.
Ilias, thanks for stopping by. I’m a big fan of your writing and always learn from you. Your comment is spot on, a blog is just a tool that can be used well or poorly. The problem in too many organizations is that this tool isn’t provided to those who could use it most effectively and creatively.
Jake Hooper says
Recently setup a video tutorial blog on my site. I checked google analytics and almost immediately saw a jump in traffic (not a whole lot but it’s a start).
Everyone loves videos. I think they are just more personal than a bunch of text and static pictures.
Great article by the way.
I love what you said about Ownership. I think may people that do social media don’t realize the risk involved in solely making a facebook page, you DON’T OWN IT. They could shut it down for any reason they choose. I’ve had my twitter account suspended and they didn’t even tell me why specifically. I lost 30k followers just like that.
Excellent point Jake. I like a mix of content personally, but videos certainly draw interest beyond static text.
Thanks Lexi. I think that point is important as well. I talked to a small business owner who, unbelievably, doesn’t have a website – but does have a Facebook page. Talk about putting your web presence at risk.
Jeff Ogden says
Great post Tom and I agree 100%. In fact, we doubled down on blogging in 2012 – investing in a complete redesign of Fearless Competitor (http://www.fearlesscompetitor.com) And we began publishing new posts 7 days a week.
Our hard work was rewarded when BuyerZone named Fearless Competitor the #1 B2B marketing blog for 2012.
Thanks Jeff. With blogging as with any social media (and much else in life), one gets out of it what one puts into it. Congrats on the recognition!
Jose Palomino says
Great points here, Tom! I added a quote from this post on my blog for my readers to see. Feel free to connect with me on my blog at http://www.valueprop.com/blog
Thanks Jose, enjoyed your post!