Today's marketing managers have their work cut out for them. Traditional methods such as print and radio advertising are no longer sufficient. Businesses need to reach audiences through the web. The Internet dominates business marketing and advertising strategies. And any company that is gaining visibility will tell you that a solid content marketing plan is key.
Content marketing is all about creating informative content to drive traffic to your website and to build an audience.
The most versatile tool in a content marketing plan is a blog. Blogging started over a decade ago and remains popular among all types of audiences. Web-savvy people regularly rely on blogs for information and often subscribe to feeds that alert them when new content is posted. Blogs are the newsletters of today, and learning how to use them is critical for businesses in every industry.
Despite the popularity of blogs, many companies still don't place enough (or any) focus on the importance of business blogging. This oversight undercuts marketing efforts and puts companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Here are 11 benefits of a well-run, informative blog:
Marketing can be expensive, and when print and radio advertising are part of the equation, the associated costs can be astronomical. Business blogging, on the other hand, is a low-cost way to reach an audience, and can be more effective than traditional advertising techniques.
To the novice, business blogging may seem complicated, but it's really not. If you can use word processing software, you'll be right at home with blogging. Simply schedule and post your writing when you're ready. Blogging is by nature user-friendly, so you can encourage several members of your staff to contribute blog posts.
Developing expertise in your industry enables you to retain customers and attract new business. When you blog regularly on topics in your market, you're proving that you and your staff are leaders in your field.
Social media has revolutionized global communication. Marketing managers know that embracing social media is a must, but many don't realize that these platforms can be used to harness other aspects of their web presence. Blogs, websites, e-books, and whitepapers can all be shared via social media, compounding their impact.
A beautiful website is certainly an important part of your online presence, but it's only a start. You need to drive traffic to your site. Writing blog posts is a great way of doing that. Business blogging causes your website to be re-scanned so that it ranks higher in search engines. Add in back-linking, and blogging can dynamically enhance your web presence.
It's important to keep your audience coming back to your website. But they'll have little reason to visit if your content isn't regularly refreshed. Consistently posting updates to a blog invites people to return to your website, which means your site traffic will remain steady.
Your blog keeps your company in the limelight, attracting new business relationships that ensure your company's continued growth.
If you're launching a new company, create a blog right away so that you can chronicle your organization's progress. Your blog can act as a digital scrapbook, with each post reflecting developments in products, services, talent acquisitions, and other milestones.
Clients and customers are looking for companies with personality. Digital technology, and in particular business blogging, has made it easier to communicate your brand's unique presence. With regular and relevant posts, your blog will let your organization shine online.
Lead generation is a vital, ongoing process that sustains your business. Blogging can extend your prospecting reach without the time and expense of direct mail marketing. With a well-crafted content marketing plan, your leads will quickly transform into clients.
Your competitors are online, so you need to develop a digital presence as well. Given the vast playing field that the Internet has created, your business must distinguish itself through a targeted content marketing plan that is driven by blog posts.
You know you need a solid content marketing plan and you know you need a blog. Now what?
To get the most out of content marketing, you need to have the right platform. Communifire - a robust, multi-functional intranet software platform with knowledge management and collaboration capabilities - makes business blogging simple for both internal and external audiences.
In fact, this very blog you're reading is run on Communifire.
With Communifire, beginners are welcome; no prior business blogging experience is necessary. It contains all the features you'll need to get a blog up and running. Including:
Business blogging should be an easy process that doesn't require coding or HTML knowledge. Not all blogging platforms are easy to use, however, which can hamper your team's ability to post content. Communifire features a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor that lets you work in the layout you'll see once your blog has been posted, whether it includes text, videos, images, or other forms of media.
Open up a transparent conversation between your organization and your audience. When created and posted with Communifire, blogs can be commented on by visitors, opening a dialog with your customers.
Communifire offers intuitive administration controls, so you can effectively moderate your blog and safeguard your organization's reputation.
Photos and videos can communicate your insights and maximize your blog's impact. When you use Communifire as a business blogging platform, you can embed media with just a few clicks.
While blogging is an excellent way to connect with an outside audience, it's just as effective for internal purposes. Business blogging can be used for uploading company policy and procedures, employee handbooks and guidelines, for training and onboarding, and for improving employee engagement through discussions.
When creating your content marketing plan, incorporate the following guidelines to maximize your strategy:
Blogging is a straightforward process that involves communicating a relevant idea or insight to your audience. However, not all blogs are created equal. Set up intranet training sessions so that your team can ramp up quickly on the mechanics of blogging, and provide an FAQ page for reference.
Your blog needs to be extremely well-written to be effective. Identify individuals on your staff who can craft solid, long-form posts that are both informative and easy to read.
Your content marketing plan should encourage collaboration among your team members. Intranet software platforms, such as Communifire, make collaboration between employees a breeze, so that a number of people can work on a single blog post to create the best content possible.
A style guide is an integral element of your content marketing plan, ensuring that all of your business's communications maintain a consistent voice. Your style guide doesn't have to be complicated; a simple list will suffice.
You need to understand your audience. Knowing your reader will help you determine what content to post, how frequently to refresh your content, and how to moderate engagement with your audience.
Your blog, along with all components of your content marketing plan, should be viewed as a direct extension of your brand. Reinforce your brand's identity with careful planning and a commitment to consistency across all channels.
A random post every now and then may draw a few views, but it will do very little to create momentum for your blog. To build a base of regular readers, you need to post content as consistently as possible. Once a week is a good place to start, but you can always ramp up your publishing frequency once you find a schedule that works.
Content marketing is about building momentum, which means you need to give your efforts time to gather strength before you experience a payoff. Setting reasonable expectations is vital to the success of your content marketing plan.
Content marketing is an essential component of your brand strategy. A solid content marketing plan, paired with a robust intranet software solution, like Communifire, will transform your organization's digital presence and your bottom line.
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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