Blogs: Must-Have Digital Tools
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Long before Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube became the “in” things to give your business a digital edge, there was the humble blog. One of the first low-cost publishing tools, the blog remains an important marketing and business development device with unique characteristics that make it a must-have on your business’ digital checklist. Here’s what a blog gives you:
Control. A blog let’s you control what is published, when it’s published, and how it appears. Do you want to launch your new widget with a video, an infographic, and a link to an order page? One blog post can do the job. Most social networks, in contrast, require more cumbersome methods to do the same thing.
There are other characteristics of a blog that differentiate it from social networks. Social networks regularly make changes to their service. Often they are simply alterations in how you share content, but in some cases, they are changes to the network’s terms of service—the rules of how you can use the service. Over time and perhaps without knowing it, what and how you share content with your customers could radically change, leaving you scrambling for answers. With a blog, you never have to worry about something happening to your content—like mysteriously disappearing.
Visibility. Search engines love new content, and that’s why they love blogs. Regular blog posts improve search engine optimization (SEO), or how your website ranks on search engines. Include links to other websites on your blog to get an extra boost in search engine rankings and to get noticed by other blogs. Eventually your content will become a permanent online library, positioning you as an industry leader, which may create opportunities to speak at events, write guest posts on other blogs, and, otherwise, market your business.
Community. While social networks are known as effective digital community-building tools, a blog, too, can be a place for your customers to engage with you and other customers. Conversations in blog comment sections build relationships between you and your customers, adding value for both. Also, you can make your blog a digital hub where your community can connect to all the social networks you use.
So now that you better understand the value of blogs for your business, here are a few blogging tips:
- Don’t have your blog posts read like press releases or marketing copy. Blog in your own voice, not like that of a PR professional’s.
- Stick to a schedule, even if it’s just one post per week.
- Link to other blogs. They will notice and may return the favor.
- Integrate free blog publishing services like Blogger and WordPress into your company’s website for the best SEO.
Invest a little time in a blog and this trusty “old” new media will pay you back.