In 2015, part of my strategy for the marketing and promotion of my company is to blog on a weekly basis. The concept of blogging has been received with varied results. Some see value, others think it’s a waste of my department’s time. I obviously believe it to be valuable, so I thought it would be beneficial to provide a little more detail about how and why I came to this strategic decision.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the purpose and definition of a blog. A blog by definition is an “informational site published on the Internet that consists of posts generally relating back to one specific topic.” Big thanks to Wikipedia for that very boring and nonspecific definition. I’ll try to do better to explain, because a corporate blog is so much more than an informational website. It’s not a landing page or a dumping ground for press releases—a business’ blog is a personification of their company. It is an evolving, value-adding, socially driven, sneak preview of a company’s purpose.
This glowing definition might make it sound like I think our blog can fully represent a company to current and prospective clients. That’s not the case; unfortunately, people don’t generally read a single blog post and become instant fans, clients, or advocates. I’m sure you’d agree that only face-to-face, relationship-driven communication can do that. That being said, people are reading and being influenced by blogs in today’s world.
For all of the “numbers people” reading this article, I’ll share a few stats:
77% of Internet users read blogs on a regular basis
89% of consumers carefully research a company online before making a commitment/purchase
Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors
Think about it—when you want to buy a car, what’s the first thing you do? For me, it’s going online and reading reviews and safety reports and general information about the cars I’m interested in. In the past, you may have talked to a friend or asked a trusted source, but today that friend is named Google and if a company isn’t relevant and present online, well, let’s just say that Google might give them the cold shoulder.
I won’t bore you with all of the details of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but essentially if you don’t regularly update your site and add new content, you’re going to find yourself on the 10th (or 100th) page of a Google search—and we all know that searchers rarely read past the first page of results. Blogging keeps a website fluid and “on the radar,” so to speak—which is important for all of the prospective clients searching for products and services via the Internet.
This “exposure” is good for a company; it pulls people to a site where they can learn more about who you are. But increased SEO is just the tip of the benefits-of-blogging iceberg. Another benefit of blogging is that, as I mentioned before, it personifies a company. It allows us to create content that isn’t “sales-oriented” and stiff—and it allows us to introduce real people with real expertise to both clients and prospects.
Speaking of expertise, blogging allows a company to prove themselves. It’s easy to say that you are an “expert in wealth management,” but blogging can provide back up for that statement. In today’s world, blogs are seen as trusted sources. In fact, 81% of US online consumers surveyed say that they trust information that comes from blogs. Think about it—say your website says that you are experts in tax law; what better way to prove that statement than by having a month’s worth of expertly written, informative posts that discuss different variables of law and tax season.
What’s more, consistent updates pull people back to a website on a regular basis, which can create brand advocates that rely on your company for information about financial matters. These brand advocates are likely to become clients, recommend others to your firm, and share content on social media. The more advocates and readers that you can get visiting a website on a regular basis, the more likely they are to tell their friends. Organic sharing is the ultimate goal for a blog, because it means reaching audiences that you would never be able to tap otherwise.
I tell you all of that to tell you this—a blog is not going to skyrocket a company to the status of Apple or Google, but it will make a difference and gain you exposure, slowly but surely. Personally, since my firm has started focusing more on blogging our web traffic is up and the number of unsolicited users who have signed up to receive our e-newsletters has more than doubled.
So, my plan is to continue to nourish these visitors. To find out what they like and offer more of that content in the future. It’s a slow and steady process, but I am certain that it will benefit us in the long run.