Each and every year since blogs were invented some 25 years ago, we’ve probably asked, “Are blogs still a thing?”
Fair question in a climate of constantly changing social media and this evolving beast we call “content marketing.”
Well, content marketing is most certainly a “thing.” And blogs, like the one you felt compelled to read just now for example, are still a big part of it.
Nothing connects with an audience quite like a blog post. No matter how mundane the topic (like a blog post about writing blogs for instance), these pieces of content inspire props and spirited debate in social media circles.
We see “Check out our latest blog” is consistently one of the most click-worthy of any social posts and often elicits coveted comments, one of many measures of engagement. This is content marketing gold that makes posts most susceptible to sharing, one of the primary markers of amplification we use social media for to begin with.
The combination of insight and informality makes blog posts conversational, enjoyable and engaging. That makes them not just apt for a social media boost, but a great complement to other website content that doesn’t necessarily offer the same breathing room in terms of personality.
The value of blogging is intrinsically tied to where they live – on your website, also known as where you engage the world. A site with a home page and a few others describing products or services may have sufficed in the mid- to late-90s the same way having a Facebook page was cool in the first decade of the 2000s. But, now your audience – and search engines – demand more; much more.
Blogging may well be the most effortless way to build a true web presence in the modern era. Done with purpose and strategy, a blog can incrementally grow your site into a resource. That’s because a blog post can be contemporary commentary, which should be part of that strategy, but it can also be evergreen. Cornerstone content demonstrating core knowledge on a topic can remain relevant for years, adding valuable pages to your site simply by following the cadence of an editorial calendar.
A robust site packed with content suggests to the user that your brand is legit. You know your stuff. You have value to offer. It also encourages long tail discovery.
We know Google and search engines look at on-page elements like content, keywords and metadata. Off-page elements like domain authority, links pointing to your site, internal links in site and external links. We also know they look at user engagement and traffic data. Blogs are a great way to take advantage of all these factors.
This is where that purpose and strategy come into play. Stumped on your next topic? Turn to Google, input your product/service and study the user sentiments emoted by autofill and suggested searches. Ask a question and see how others are answering them, then tailor your post to do the same.
Up your game by using the Google Keyword Planner tool as well as Google Trends. The Keyword Planner allows you to type in specific keywords or phrases and get all related top searched terms. You can also type in keywords and see when any given term spikes in popularity on Google Trends, which can help you determine the best time to write about a specific topic. Finally, you can use a third-party tool like SEMrush to do competitor research and see what keywords they are ranking for and what they aren’t ranking well for and seize that opportunity.
Blog posts are more than just words or search engine bait. They can morph into many other forms: an infographic, a podcast episode, an explainer video, a social poll. Blogs are just the container for thought collection and conversation, a container that can be unpacked and spun into a stream of shareable media. It’s amazing how much content can come from a 600-word post.
Content marketing is a compelling blend of information and creativity. Blogging is but a tool, but it remains a powerful one worth wielding if you’re going to do this “thing.”