Marketing moves pretty fast – new technologies and channels pop up regularly, and marketers and PR pros must keep up with everything new that comes their way. However, one of the “old standbys” of digital communications continues to enjoy a prominent position in the marketing mix – and that is blogging.
The reason for blogging’s continued integration with larger content marketing strategies is because it works, delivering positive impacts for a company’s brand, establishing its credibility and expertise in a given market, and, ultimately, impacting sales. According to experts, some 84% of companies say they have a content marketing strategy, and 70% say they are “actively investing” in content marketing. Blogs are among the most popular content marketing channels in use.
Blogging provides companies with an opportunity to communicate directly with their target audiences and to use their own language, visuals and tone to articulate the value of products and solutions. There is no filter or editorial judgment, as occurs with PR placements. What’s more, blogs can be created, approved and posted in a very short period of time, enabling marketing professionals to respond quickly to market conditions.
Blogging Best Practices
Having firmly established the value of blogging for both our clients and for our own agency, Bospar is uniquely qualified to make blogging recommendations. With years of experience as bloggers, the content team at Bospar has accumulated a number of blog-related best practices.
Blogs should provide actionable information that readers can use. When developing your blog posts, think about topic ideas that will appeal to your most important target audiences: customers, prospects and other key stakeholders. In most instances, your topics should address the needs of prospects but without being overly “sales-y.” Example posts might include your firm’s position on current business issues, as well as company news updates, such as new products or service developments.
And when it comes to solutions, the corporate blog is a perfect place to address specific technical topics or issues in a “deep-dive” fashion, leveraging in-house subject matter experts (SMEs). These posts often provide needed clarity around developments like a new software release. In addition, blogs can be used to highlight news that may not be important enough for a press release but that still has merit – like a company charity campaign. Posts can also include thought leadership content, which can help establish a corporate brand and enhance a company’s reputation.
And there is another advantage that appeals to many marketers. Because blogs provide the opportunity to communicate a firm’s point of view directly, with no need to go through someone like a journalist, authors can feel free to use a more casual writing style, as well as to state their opinions and take positions on various issues.
Savvy marketers also use their blog content as a “force multiplier,” leveraging it across multiple channels, including social media, webinars and sales presentations. Repurposing blog content ensures messaging consistency and enhances the ROI of the content investment. This means that creating content for the blog shouldn’t be seen as an additional work stream and a drag on marketers’ resources.
Here is a quick checklist for other recommended blog best practices.
- The ideal length for a post varies widely, typically 300-700 words.
- Blogs should use short sentences and paragraphs for the benefit of search engine optimization (SEO), as well as headlines/titles that incorporate SEO-friendly keywords.
- But keep in mind that one of the most impactful ways to grab readers’ attention is with a dynamic headline.
- We also recommend referencing and linking to two or three third-party information sources that bolster the author’s point of view.
- Establish a schedule for posting and stick to it. A cadence of regular postings increases readership and, once again, improves search results.
- Press releases, new product briefs and other internal news, like personnel moves, can be easily adapted for blog content.
Finally, remember that with blogging, perfection isn’t always required. Getting one’s perspective out there and trying new things in one’s own sandbox can have true value. By keeping it simple, fun, newsworthy, and engaging, your blog can work for you, driving web traffic and customer/prospect interest.