Seriously, What's the Point of Blogging?
I was asked that by somebody at a networking event this morning. I wasn't taken aback by the question as it's one I've heard a number of times over the years. My answer was fairly in-depth, and by the end, Mr Networker told me that he now saw the point. So naturally, I thought I'd share the key points of my retort with you - my valued and esteemed readers. I'm nice like that.
Point number 1 - A blog is flexible
It offers you higher levels of flexibility than a static website that has no blog implemented within its structure. If your site is a sleepy sloth and you need to ask your 'webmaster' (or agency) to upload new content or news on your behalf ('you couldn't possibly do it yourself' - sound familiar?), then you are in a disadvantageous position. A blog allows people with very little technical know-how to create good-looking, usable content in a quick and easy fashion. That's an advantage surely? The ability to be responsive is one that will make you feel warm inside. Lets compare the flexibility of a blog versus social networks. All networks have rules you must follow in terms of what content you create. From character limits to maximum file sizes for images, the regulations laid out by the Facebooks of this world can be a slap in the face of creativity and flexibility. A blog using Wordpress or similar will offer very little resistance. Don't use this as an excuse to write War and Peace at every opportunity, but embrace the freedom.
Point number 2 - A blog is SEO dynamite
Google likes variety. It likes your site to have regularly updated, relevant and high quality content that offers value to those that seek it. A blog is the perfect place to achieve this. Take some time to read through the Moz Blog - you'll get a great picture of what it takes to make an impact on the SERPs (search engine result pages) in this day and age.
Point number 3 - You own your blog
I'll keep this snappy - you don't own your Facebook Page, Twitter profile, Instagram profile and so on. Build a blog within your site domain and you own it. You can use it how you see fit and will be afforded much more freedom over design and user experience. Social networks as a rule don't let you collect much data about the people that are using your social presences; with the right approach, you can use your blog to learn much more about your audience.
Point number 4 - Your blog is a perfect hub
If you are using other areas of the web for marketing and communications, you can make your blog the hub of many of these activities. Take Twitter for example - use it to drive people to the great content within your hub (blog). Running an email marketing campaign? Lead people to relevant content within your blog hub from the emails that make up the campaign. Using Google Adwords? Offer super-relevant ads that lead to targeted content within your blog. Use your blog as a hub, but don't forget to always offer a valuable proposition within the other channels you use.
Point number 5 - A blog can create leads and sales
Stop! Don't freak out and shout 'Mike how dare you say you can use blogging and social media to sell!'. Cool your jets and take a rational view of this. Creating great content that relates to your business is a natural way to sell. I'm not talking about big fat sales messages inserted throughout blog posts here! Your blog should show your expertise, ideas and passion and a natural off-shoot of that is more confidence in you, your business and what you offer. That should naturally generate at least leads. Oh, and don't be scared to have a subtle call to action at the end of your blog posts, as long as you are offering value, then nobody should really mind. Just do it wisely! That my friends, is a whole different blog post.
So, what is the point of blogging? I hope I've answered that in a succinct fashion!
Point image via a2Gemma on Flickr Creative Commons.
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