Does having a company blog really matter now that the realm of digital marketing has become more focused on social media and visual marketing assets?
Despite naysayers’ doomsday predictions that blogging is dead, plenty of experts warn not to discount the value of having a company blog. But with other content creation and publishing venues available, others say businesses may be better off putting blogging on the backburner (or even down the garbage disposal).
The Argument for a Company Blog
The potential advantages of a blog include:
● Drawing more traffic to your website
● Attracting new customers
● Building trust by demonstrating your expertise
● Improving your website’s search engine ranking by adding fresh content to your site regularly
That’s some serious marketing and SEO mojo. Blogging turns your website into a destination — a place where readers can gain perspective, learn something new or stay informed. Having a blog gives people a reason to visit your website repeatedly and gives Google a reason to recognize your site as one of authority.
The Argument Against a Company Blog
In order to reap the rewards of blogging, you must put forth a lot of effort. Maintaining a blog requires:
● Brainstorming topics
● Fleshing out the details of what you’ll include in articles
● Writing drafts
● Editing drafts
● Reviewing the content for errors and accuracy (needs to be done even if you outsource your blogging)
● Finding images or creating your own
● Structuring content according to good SEO practices (e.g., use of header tags to establish a logical hierarchy within your content)
● Promoting your blog posts on your social media channels
● Monitoring and replying to comments that readers leave on your posts
● Tracking your blog analytics to determine if your posts are helping you reach your marketing goals
If you or an employee doesn’t have the time or skills to do all that, then you may opt to outsource some or all of those responsibilities — which means you’ll incur some additional expense.
And there are other options for creating and publishing content.
In an article on his blog, digital marketing pro Gary Vaynerchuk explained, “Any social media platform can be treated like a blog because that is where people are listening.”
People are readily consuming content directly within social media, so why not craft and share your message directly on those platforms?
As Sprout Social neatly laid out in a recent article, there’s a lot of opportunity for generating substantive content on social media.
● Facebook status updates may be up to 63,206 characters long (approximately 10,000 words).
● Twitter has expanded its maximum length for tweets from 140 characters to 280 characters.
● Instagram allows you to create photo captions up to 2,200 characters long.
● On LinkedIn, you can create, format and publish articles of up to 40,000 characters (approximately 6,700 words).
On the Other Hand …
Just because you can create “blog” content on social media platforms doesn’t mean you should. While readers expect blog posts to have higher word counts, readers on social media tend to have shorter attention spans. Brief bits of content tend to get more engagement, so publishing a blog-like article as a status update may be ineffective and a waste of time.
Something else to consider: You control your company blog.
Social media platforms belong to others. You have no say in how they look and what capabilities they give you. They may make algorithm changes that negatively impact your ability to reach your target audience (e.g., Facebook’s adjustments in the name of creating a better user experience). Or they could remove features that you find beneficial.
Is a Company Blog Right for You?
Now that we’ve entertained the upsides and downsides (and upsides, again) of having a company blog, how can you know if you’re better off with managing one or using other platforms as hubs for your content?
Consider the following questions as you ponder which way to go:
● Do you have the time or staff to write and manage your blog effectively?
● If you have an existing company blog, are your posts delivering results (increasing traffic, generating leads, etc.)?
● Are you regularly monitoring analytics to see if your blog posts are doing any of the things I mentioned in the previous bullet point?
● Is your target audience interested in longer form content or does it engage more with shorter messages?
● Do you have a substantial social media following?
● Do you have a loyal base of blog subscribers?
● Are you comfortable in adapting to change as social media platforms alter guidelines and features?
● Does meeting your revenue goals depend upon making online sales through your website?
No matter what you decide, the only way to assess if your online marketing efforts are working is to set goals and objectives for what you want to accomplish. It’s impossible to know if your content (regardless of where it lives) is moving the needle if you don’t measure its success against your expectations.
Dawn Mentzer Author Bio – Straight North
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, one of the leading Internet marketing agencies in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.