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Why blogs are one of your most valuable marketing tools

Most entrepreneurs and businesses know that they need to “get online” and establish their company’s presence in the digital space, however too often the focus is placed on creating a flashy website with all the bells and whistles, which takes ages to load, the navigation is bad and it ends up crashing more often than not.

Not ideal. What many businesses don’t understand is that having a website is key however it’s not the website itself, but what you put on it that is crucial.

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Yes — the look and feel needs to be consistent with the brand and company image, and yes it does need to be aesthetically appealing, however the content is what creates substance and what is important to the consumer.

How can you expect to be engaging and interesting to consumers if you don’t have anything to say in the first place? Creating a platform consumers can turn to for consistent quality content is the basis of building relationships in the social media space. Not mindless drivel about the latest “update” to your Facebook album, or marketing jargon spewed into a blog post that is meaningless to any non-marketing related person.

Is blogging really all that?
The Social Media Examiner’s (SME) 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. The report reveals the power of blogs, stating that more than two-thirds (68%) of small businesses who were surveyed included blogs in their online marketing strategies.

Content is king
Having a blog just for the sake of it isn’t all that strategic, and if used incorrectly, can do more harm than good.

Blogs need to be kept up to date with recent, relevant content. If a customer comes across your site and the first thing they see is a blog that hasn’t been updated in weeks, or even months, it gives the impression that the company isn’t great at follow-through – one of the least favourable things a consumer is looking for when considering doing business with you.

“Successful blogging businesses have an online writing style that’s consistent and makes visitors feel comfortable,” the SME report states. “If you can establish a company-wide writing style, more than one person can post.”

Quality blogging takes time
The person in charge of managing this platform needs to be able to dedicate at least two to three hours a week. If that’s not an option then you should seriously consider outsourcing.

Although this may be an additional expense, in the long run the ROI far exceeds the cost. Making sure that every message communicated by the brand is spot on, on trend and quality content will do far more for your brand than skimping on a few bucks and doing it in-house.

Besides reducing the margin for error, getting a professional copywriter on board will ensure that all content that’s generated will be SEO ready.

SEO makes a good blog great

Blogging is more than just writing, it’s a strategy within itself. The copy needs to be written in such a way that it optimizes the blog post so that both the post and the website pages get higher rankings for specific keywords or keyword phrases. Not as complicated as it sounds – this is essentially writing in a particular style where specific keywords are linked to the text in the blog so as to achieve higher search engine rankings. If none of that made any sense then best you think about outsourcing.

Don’t be stingy, share your blog
It’s also important to note that even the best blog can’t stand alone, as it’s unlikely to drive traffic to your site or generate leads by itself. Without a strong and comprehensive social media strategy in place, it’s likely to fall flat and become just another blog in cyberspace.

According to the SME study 90% of small business owners surveyed stated that social media is important to their company, with 88 percent reporting that social media outreach helps get increased exposure. In addition, nearly three-quarters (72%) said they had seen increased traffic and subscription rates as a result of implementing a social media strategy.

Almost all (92%) of respondents stated that their business had a Facebook presence, followed by 84 % reporting that they had a Twitter account. LinkedIn was the next most popular social media tool, ahead of YouTube and similar video sites.

Social media needs to be integrated as part of your overall communication strategy. Gone are the days where TV reigns. It’s way more complicated than that.

Millions of conversations are happening online all the time, and to retain a competitive advantage in this fast paced ever evolving space you need to be part of the conversation.

Join the Conversation and share your knowledge

For those new to the environment, setting up a blog or launching a social media strategy can seem daunting; however there doesn’t have to be a huge time, or monetary commitment in order to get results.

As little as six hours per week engaging in this space will significantly increase traffic to your sites. That’s far less time that it takes to create any radio or print ad.

If that still doesn’t work — get a social media strategist on board, they know what they’re doing — even if it still seems all too foreign to what you’re used to. I promise we speak the same language #most_of_the_time.

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