Now this is kind of funny: a blog post about blogging. At least it is for me. Three years ago, when we started our electronic marketing department, I lumped blogging in the category of return on time (ROT) killers. I specifically remember saying, “Don’t waste too much time on the blog. Focus your attention around specific activities that will show return.” Interesting how wrong we can be. The key is to know when to admit it.
I had my “wake up call” about a year and a half ago. I begrudgingly started writing blog posts for our software development life cycle training business and wrote a post on the lack of success of the CBAP designation (a certification for business analyst professionals). I didn’t think anything of it until a member of the board for the certification body that runs the CBAP responded to my post.
It was a solid comment to my post, but I was really intrigued with how he found my post. He couldn’t possibly be reviewing our blog daily, and he wasn’t. But he was searching on the topic of CBAP and using CBAP related key words. When I searched “CBAP v2” I found my blog on the first page in the fourth organic position slot. Let’s just say from there I was hooked.
First and foremost, from a ROT prospective Blogging is a powerful SEO tool. Are you trying to get in a hard to reach generic keyword? Well blog on that topic. You might not get on the radar of the generic keyword, but you certainly will get found in and around it. Remember, long tail keywords can be just as good as their short tailed generic brethren. Blogging is not just about SEO even though the foundation of our strategy should be to maximize SEO, in so much as your editorial calendar for blogs should be closely tied to your critical keywords. Big heads up here: if you use Google Blogger for your site, you are getting NO SEO benefit, it all goes to Google. I would highly recommend moving to WordPress for your blog if you have not done so already.
The other side benefit of blogging revolves around awareness and stickiness. These are two things that scared me about blogging pre-SEO enlightenment. I still hear people getting into blogging for these reasons or for the dreaded “everyone else is doing it” reason. Awareness and stickiness are two great side benefits, but do not warrant the amount of time and effort blogging takes.
The awareness benefit is really the ability to show your customers you are “smart.” A blog can be like an always-on sales engineer, or better yet, an always-on industry consultant. Customers want to buy from companies that are “smart” in that they know the industry, the market, their products and how everything fits together. A blog is a perfect way to show that, but also a perfect way to not show it when done wrong or poorly.
The stickiness benefit is the ability to offer your customers something more than an online catalog that will entice them to come back. The more a customer comes back, the more apt they are to buy. I like this benefit and can now see it in our weekly view numbers. Over time blogs gain momentum and views increase, BUT you can’t have a “build it and they will come” mentality. Our blog gets solid, consistent views, but it is because of the effort and attention put into it. Without effort and attention you will probably get views specifically because of SEO, but you will not get the stickiness you would want. As much as someone “likes” you as a company and a site, they still have to be reminded you are there or the relationship gets stale.
For me blogging has turned into one great I told you so. Not one that I got to dish out, but an I told you so that I was given. In my world those are the best.