There is a lot of information out there on what a Blog is and many articles have been written explaining why it's important for your site/company to have one. However, once you make the determination that you want or need a Blog, select the Blogging program you will use and actually create one, what happens next? I have encountered many people who were told they should have a Blog but they don't really understand why, nor are they maximizing its opportunity and potential.
FREQUENCY of POSTS
One of the reasons Blogs are beneficial for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is because they generate unique content on a regular basis. They are filled with text, very often surrounding subjects (keywords) that matter most to your business. Yet, if you are not posting to the Blog regularly (multiple times per week recommended) and effectively (few paragraphs of keyword rich content that reads appropriately) there will be no SEO benefits experienced. Creation of a Blog is the first step, a one time project and relatively easy in most circumstances – maintenance and management of this website tool is ongoing, frequent and more challenging. Someone internally should be tasked with the responsibility of your Blog, both for regular and meaningful postings, plus monitoring feedback or comments if you enable that feature within your blog. (Pros and cons to doing so)
By holding someone accountable for this role you will ensure updated blog posts, regular interaction by users/readers and the ability to quickly counteract any negativity posted by outside users or eliminate those inappropriate comments all together. (only necessary if you enable the external posting feature to allow comments/responses posted to yours)
KEEP USERS ENGAGED/PROVIDE VALUE
Once you can rely upon frequency in your postings, the next step is to decide what you will be writing about. Aside from SEO, another great use of a Blog is for customer/prospect interaction. Your Brand or company becomes human to its customers or users, showing it can "let its hair down and be less formal" than the experience on most web sites or other marketing collateral. Through building of a community, within your own Blog, you will become a more trusted, authoritative source. Take a look at MoreVisibility's SEM Blog and our SEO Blog – be sure to bookmark them so you can keep up to date on the latest happenings in Search!
Some interesting ideas to engage your users on the Blog are:
A contest – requesting submissions of stories/best or most unique uses of your product/videos of your product or service in use in their lives, testimonials, etc.
Feedback/Tips – offer ideas to the end user on how your product or service could be used outside of the obvious. Provide helpful advice directly or allow other users to share with each other.
Offer Insight – if there is something complimentary to your main product or service…talk about it. These could be ancillary business units or departments within your company or external partners or sources you trust. Get people thinking about your product or company.
Important Marketing/technical Info – easy way to quickly distribute important info and updates like recalls, upgrades, new releases, hazards, rebates, etc.
Personas – feature actual employees or workers as the writers of your blog. Allow readers to hear first-hand about benefits, quality, ideas, etc.
While engaging users and readers on your Blog is wonderful and will build loyalty and trust to your brand (very important things), you are likely measured on results. So implementing analytics on the blog or tracking links for any external hyperlinks back to your site or product pages is critical. By measuring Blog visitors you can get an idea of Brand Lift from the Blog, but by being able to track sales or leads ultimately generated through the Blog is ideal. Treat this section of your site or the separate blog site as its own marketing entity. Monitor natural results and positions generated through the Blog, along with daily unique visitors and time-spent onsite. Remember to subtly market and promote your brands or web sites within the text of the blog or through actual advertisements on the blog. These factors will help answer the "what's the blog do for us" question.
If you are interested in learning more about setting up and maintaining Blogs – within your own site or through a third party Blog site, please contact me.