A few months ago, I was conducting an inbound marketing assessment (IMA) with an SMB manufacturer of widgets (let’s just say). During the IMA, it became clear that the client had no clue as to what it takes to get his website to rank among the major search engines. But after a short while he grasped the concept that Google is controlling his sales, net revenue and profits. When he asked me: “How is Google and the other engines controlling my sales”?, he looked like a deer in the headlights. Now please don’t misunderstand, I’m not approaching this with the slightest bit of arrogance, I am simply relaying a story. I began to explain of the major shift in buyer behavior that has occurred. Gone are the days of big and clunky product directories bound in cardboard….the new era buyers have subscribed to “In Google we Trust”. So what does all of this have to do with businesses blogging? Good question. Blogging is the key driver in authority creation and authority creation is the key to ranking for key phrases for your website. Let me lay forth 5 key elements as to why business blogging is the new era ad unit.
1) Blogging throws you in the social scene where all the conversations are happening
Have you ever attended a party solo? For many, it can be a pretty intimidating experience. There you are all alone with nobody to talk to. As you scan the room, everyone is talking, laughing and having a time of it. Bottom line, your voice remains unheard. In much the same way, social media is one big party and if you are not engaged, nobody will ever know your name. By adding social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. to your blog posts, you can make it easy for readers to hear you and what you have to offer. And in turn they will share your blog content with their own networks in social media, ultimately extending the reach of your content far beyond just your business' fans and followers. Online ads in any flavor, on the other hand, simply aren't shareable in the same manner as blog content. Ever try sharing a banner ad?
2) You can optimize blog posts for organic search which will drive your rank
Search engines will index properly optimized blog posts which use relevant key phrases around your business space. This will give you more opportunities to rank your business and, thus, get found. And while placing pay-per-click (PPC) ads like AdWords in search engines can certainly contribute toward the growth of your brand, getting found organically in search by creating blogs, lasts much longer and is far more cost effective than an expiring ad unit.
3) Other forms of media can be combined with blog posts
Text only posts are not the only media that exist. They can also be host to images, video, infograms, WebEx feeds, Skype and other visual content that can be optimized which will enhance your chances to rank for the relevant key phrases. In addition, this will also leverage shareability to the content as well as create a better user experience. While standalone multi-media content hosted on such media as YouTube gains exposure with your audiences, a blog post can deliver that content to a much broader audience.
4) They spread and spread and spread
After your blog is posted, it also gets released into the wonderful world of syndication. Whether that channel consists of loyal followers of your content through RSS feeds or new prospects reached through paid distribution channels and other engines on the net, blog content has the capacity to spread throughout the world, far and wide. And remember, unlike ad units purposely meant to sell your reader, instead you are distributing helpful content that ultimately will drive your authority creation.
5) Blogging helps grow your opt-in email lists for on-going nurturing
By offering email subscription to your blog content, your blog can easily help you grow your email list for downstream email nurturing and lead scoring. There are two clear benefits here: First, your subscribers have indicated they have an interest in your content and, what you have to offer from a products and services perspective and second, once they convert into a lead on one of those offers, they can become part of a more sophisticated lead nurturing process. So, if you think about it, have you ever used a paid ad unit to successfully grow your email list?
Considering these 5 factors of why blogging is superior to online ads -- there's really no reason why most businesses shouldn't be investing in business blogging. Content is king. Content is long-lasting. Content attracts qualified visitors. Content generates leads. Content helps convert those leads into customers. I’m unaware of any ad unit that can boast that.