Blogs get a bad rap. Often dismissed as universally vacuous and badly crafted, blogs can be dismissed as anachronistic and not worth a company’s time.
The opposite is true. A business with a thriving blog stuffed with informative, engaging content is positioning itself as a leader of its industry. It’s that powerful.
Getting to that point in 2020 means overcoming some misconceptions about how blogs function in today’s marketing landscape. Here are three misconceptions marketing departments need to sweep away to start getting more from their blogs:
- Nobody reads blogs.
Chances are good you think of yourself as someone who never reads blogs. The pollsters at HubSpot recently found as many as 40 percent of people claim to not read them.
So they claim.
Put aside for a moment that HubSpot’s poll results still leave 60 percent of the potential audience open to reading blogs. Is that 40 percent really not reading them?
Do they never research a topic online?
Search for how to boil an egg, the best way to unclog a dishwasher, or how to go snorkeling without being eaten by a shark, and chances are very, very good you’ll end up reading a blog.
Now translate that to the B2B world Red Mallard’s typical clients inhabit. Does a buyer of industrial pumps punch his problems into Google from time to time? Does the GC at a big company sometimes ask her search engine to answer an obscure legal question? Of course they do.
In the content marketing world, we take for granted that the people in our target audience are too busy to engage with every last piece of content we produce. But when a blog addresses a timely topic that people care about, they’re going to read it.
- Blogs are old fashioned.
Blogs are a venerable institution, but only when measured in Internet time. The first blog was started in the mid-90s, before social media was a thing, and long before online video was a thing.
Blogging is about 25 years old. In literary time, that makes it a baby:
- The first example of the modern comic book, Famous Funnies, was published in 1933, making comic books less than 100 years old.
- The first newspaper in Europe was launched in Germany in 1605, making newspapers more than 400 years old.
- The first novel in English was published about 500 years ago. The first novel ever written, The Tale of Genji, will celebrate 1,000 years in print in 2021.
- Examples of advertising jingles are recorded in the ancient Chinese book, the Classic of Poetry, written 2,600 to 3,000 years ago.
You get the idea. As a form of communication, the blog still has a long life ahead of it.
Still, blogs can feel like a relic. Why? The answer has less to do with the medium, and more to do with style.
At Red Mallard we get a little twitchy when we see blog articles with titles like, “Top 5 Tips for Summer” or “One Weird Trick for Solving Your Problems.” No one wants to read an amalgamation of cliches. We’re sympathetic to our fellow writers, who churn out such content out of necessity. But we know there’s a better way.
A company’s blog doesn’t feel outdated if it’s full of current, useful information and isn’t loaded with filler. Done well, a blog stops feeling like a collection of ads and starts feeling like a collection of great articles.
There’s also the machine to think about. From a search engine’s perspective, a company’s blog is bedrock content. When a blog gets regular updates, enhanced with a few simple SEO strategies for good measure, the company’s rankings on Google and other search engines will climb. Getting to the top of the list takes focus—and more than just an active blog—but a business can lift itself out of the search engine basement simply by staying active.
- Video killed the blogging star.
Here’s another poll for you: according to Databox, 74 percent of marketers think videos are more effective than blogs at generating leads. (Ironically, they present this information in a blog article. They must not want leads.)
There is an undeniable trend toward video. People under the age of 30 prefer to receive information from videos rather than reading articles. For certain marketing goals, it’s hard to beat video.
But blogs still have a place. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Words have power. A blog article promoted through social media or email campaigns catches important eyeballs.
- Don’t mistake a trend away from reading as a sign that no one is reading. Many people you want to reach still are.
- Blogs posts are faster, cheaper, and easier to produce than video.
- Blogs provide one more portal to a company’s videos, white papers, and other rich content, making that content more accessible and adding valuable context.
- It’s worth repeating: blogs do a ton of heavy lifting on the SEO front.
Another arrow in your quiver
Content marketing will always be a multi-tiered discipline. A business needs to take advantage of all the tools of the trade to achieve its goals. In Red Mallard’s view, every business should have a blog, even if a big chunk of its audience is more receptive to another format. The cost-benefit ratio of blogs is simply too good to ignore.
At Red Mallard we strive to deliver blogs written to the highest standards of excellence for clients in every industry. Is your company’s blog delivering the value you need? Quack at us to start a conversation today.