Just over 20 years ago, the term “blog” had yet to grace the face of the Internet, which was still only a premature collection of HTML pages. While Generation X sat at peak buying power, the success of advertising hinged on TV commercials, radio spots and premium print placements.
It wasn’t until December of 1997 when the term “weblog” first entered the public vernacular. At the time, search engines had just reached adolescence, and web users were beginning to realize the potential of “going online.” Blogs were new and unmastered, still more or less something college students did during their free time. As the practice matured and grew in popularity, however, search engines began to adapt and respond.
Fast forward to now: Blogging has evolved into an almost integral part of our digital culture. Anyone and everyone can blog–from your next door neighbor’s 12-year-old daughter to brand juggernauts like Coca-Cola and Camelbak. For many, it remains a fun pastime. But for marketers, blogging is currently one of the sharpest tools in their online arsenal for gaining visibility and brand recognition.
Among the many personal and professional benefits of blogging, here are four that no brand should ignore:
Ah, yes. Search engine optimization. The pinnacle of online visibility efforts. As search engines began to develop ranking algorithms based on page content, blogging became the forefront of the internet’s content arms race. If done well, blogging allows users to increase keyword concentration for targeted industry topics.
As this concentration increases with routine blog posting, your site will begin to see more quality traffic (i.e., those who are interested in what you have to say or offer). More quality traffic means more leads. And we all know what more leads mean. (Hint: $$$)
Increase Brand Awareness in Targeted Groups
Through inbound links from social media and third-party websites, blogging can help drive targeted visitors to your site without the need for a search engine middleman. By placing links on webpages or social groups that most closely associate with your industry or service offerings, you can be more intentional with your audience selection. This will allow you to reach those users who may not yet be aware of your company or the services you provide.
Generate Lead Conversions
The word every e-marketer loves to hear: Convert, convert, convert. Blogging provides your brand with a platform to discuss issues that directly affect your industry. Through these discussions, you will be able to target those who are experiencing similar challenges, offer solutions to address those challenges and ultimately convert potential leads into customers.
Establish Your Team as Industry Thought Leaders
Gaining the respect of your industry’s audience is perhaps one of the most undervalued benefits of blogging—and probably the most important. Although you can’t directly quantify thought leadership into ROI, there’s definitely a correlation.
Somehow, through blogging and online content generation, brands are able to create meaningful relationships with their consumers. This routine publishing of your team’s take on industry news, issues and updates will help keep you top of mind when consumers begin to look for solutions.
Make Your Voice Heard
Whether you’re a new face in the game or an established name looking for online recognition, blogging is an effective device to add to your toolbox. If you’re just getting started, hit the ground running by downloading our best practices checklist.