According to Webopedia, the term “blog” was first used in 1999. In the past 20 years, the popularity of the blog has ebbed and flow, but blogs are still an integral part of many websites. And despite the influx of social media posts and emails, modern-day marketers know that blogging isn’t dead – but how blogs work, and how they need to be written, has changed.
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No longer are brands blogging to announce acquisitions or promotions, or to fill up pages with gibberish keywords. Now, blogs have to be updated, interactive, and relevant. They have to bring in searchers and keep them. And above all, they have to be tools of both relationships and conversions.
People still read blogs – if the content is relevant.
When we check Google Analytics for many of our clients, blog posts are often among their best-performing pages—meaning they’re getting the most traffic, and their readers are staying on that page and clicking through to take action.
So, if a blog is one of your website’s most valuable pages, wouldn’t you want to build more of those?
In short, blogs add value – to current fans and to those seeking to connect. Blogs build relationships by providing valuable information to those seeking it and creating conversations with engaged fans. But to be valuable and relate, you have to write topics that appeal directly to your target audiences. (Not sure who your readers are? Check out our blog on reaching your audience and our blog on defining your audience.)
Blogs are a key component of effective SEO.
SEO has become smarter and more selective. To succeed in the world of search, you have to have relevant content. Blogs are the perfect place to show that content: blogs can incorporate long-tail keywords (those longer, very specific phrases people ask Siri or type out), include plenty of good keywords, and demonstrate to Google that your content is fresh and regularly updated.
It’s significantly easier to write a blog than develop a new page of your website, so use blogs to add fresh, engaging content and answer your audience’s questions.
Blogs are valuable introductions to your website.
Your keyword-rich content may have led to a user finding your blog by search, or you may have sent your blog to already interested customers on your email list. So, now that you got them to click to your blog, that page provides a valuable way to get people onto, and then interacting with, your website—but only if you build the blog well.
So, how do you write a good blog?
- Write good content – first for search (to get people there), then for relevance (to keep people on the page). Include keywords, but keep the content conversational.
- Keep content skimmable. No one, even people who love your brand, wants to read long blogs. Use clear titles, bullets, and lists. Avoid long paragraphs.
- Include lots of internal and external links (usually embedded in text). Linking to other pages adds credibility. Linking within your page increases the chance of conversion.
- Include strong CTAs. Incorporate buttons or embedded links that tell people what to do – contact you, complete a form, or take another role toward being more engaged with your brand.
Content is key for social media too.
A regular blog not only helps with search and with customer relationships, but it provides content that you can share on all your social media channels. Write introduction text appropriate to each channel, then link to your blog. This provides yet another way for interested customers to find valuable information on your social site.
Twenty years after its debut, blogging remains a key tool in a marketer’s arsenal. But as with any content, its value is determined by its relevance. Not sure how to keep your blog relevant and updated? We can help with that. Talk to ALINE about content development and/or strategy services.
In case you missed it…this blog is practicing what we preach. We used short paragraphs and bulleted lists. We linked to other pages on our site three times, and externally one time. We included two calls to action. And we hope this proved interesting enough for you to read this far. How do you think we did?