Regardless of its size, audience or economic sector, all companies must have a blog. Several recent studies have shown the content marketing strategy as one of the most recommended digital marketing strategies for organizations. In this article, we will show everything you must know about Blog Marketing as What It Is, Benefits and Steps to Create a Strategy. It will be a Mega Guide.
|Blog Marketing: What It Is, Benefits and Steps to Create a Strategy – Mega Guide|
1. What is a blog?
|blog marketing: What is a Blog?|
The blog is a website (an online journal or informational website) that is periodically updated and stores the articles chronologically of one or several authors, with latest posts appearing first. It is a platform where a writer or even a group of writers (bloggers) share their views on an individual subject. Those who write on a blog are called bloggers.
All companies must have a blog, regardless of its size and audience, since this is the center of the content marketing strategy.
2. History of blogs
|blog marketing: History of blogs|
In the beginning, personal websites that were used as blogs could only be used by experts in systems because of their complexity in the publication. The evolution of the blog publishing platforms that facilitated the creation and edition of web articles published and ordered chronologically made the publication process could be directed towards more people, since no knowledge of systems was required.
Some important events in the blog’s history are:
- 1994. The blog in its beginnings was used as online journals where people wrote their personal lives.
- A student at Swarthmore University, Justin Hall, wrote on his personal blog since 1994, is recognized as one of the first bloggers.
- 1995. Carolyn Burke publishes the first entry in Carolyn’s Diary, which would be the closest thing to a publication of today.
- 1997. Jorn Barger created the term “weblog”, which became popular internationally.
- 1999. Peter Merholz created the short version “blog” by dividing the word weblog into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com.
- 1999. Pitas and LiveJournal first platforms to host blogs.
- 1999. Blogger starts with Pyra Labs.
- 2001. Start WordPress.
- 2002. They launch Technorati as a search engine in blogs.
- 2003. Blogger is bought by Google.
- 2003. The first official version of WordPress is available to download.
- 2003. Google launches Adsense that becomes an important source of income for bloggers.
- 2004. Steve Garfiels creates the first video blog.
- 2005. 100 million dollars are reached that come only from ads in blogs.
- 2006. There were more than 50 million blogs on the Internet according to Technorati.
- 2007. They launch Tumblr as a blog platform with great social capacity.
- 2011. Approximately 156 million blogs are reached in the world.
- 2013. Nearly 200 million blogs are reached in the world.
- 2017. WordPress alone publishes more than 56 million blogs every month.
3. Benefits of the blog marketing strategy for companies
|Benefits of the blog marketing strategy for companies|
With the growth of social networks, many companies are creating corporate blogs, in addition to their website. This blog marketing strategy has the following benefits for the company:
- Create community: The blog allows the company to create a virtual community with its target audience in its own channel, unlike social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others that are platforms that do not belong to the company.
- Broad knowledge: The blog allows the company to improve the knowledge of the users since the comments of the visitors are a very important source of information, to achieve it the Community Manager must always read and respond to the comments.
- Increase closeness with users: The blog allows the company to approach users and build trust since it is a channel with language closer to the website. The website has an institutional tone (similar to the physical world) and the blog has a close but professional language.
- Produces updated content: The blog allows the organization to produce updated content to keep users informed of what happens in the company and the category. This will give a positive image of the company to the users.
- Improve positioning: The periodic publication of articles in the blog allows them to improve the positioning in the search engines since Google and other search engines highly value the updated content of good quality.
- Visitors increases: The blog allows visitors to increase the website, since the more quality content there is, the greater the chances of attracting its target audience.
- Adds value: The blog allows the company to share with the audience content of added value, which will facilitate the way for a commercial relationship. It is essential to know the audience very well to identify what type of content interests you.
- Improve the reputation: The blog allows the company to acquire an expert reputation in its business niche, segment or activity. The company can even become a benchmark in the market that is consulted throughout its industry (including competition).
- Strengthens the brand: The blog allows the company to know if it is a new brand or to strengthen itself if it is an existing brand. This is thanks to the propagation achieved by quality content through the main social networks.
- Increase the duration of the content: The blog allows you to create content that has a long duration (years) compared to the content published on social networks that has a short lifespan. For example, a tweet has a useful life of about one hour, after which time it is forgotten.
4. Steps to create a blog marketing strategy
|Steps to create a blog marketing strategy|
The steps to create an effective blog marketing strategy are:
4.1. Make a benchmark
Before designing the blog marketing strategy it is very important to make a benchmark to identify the best practices in the category of the company.
Some aspects to consider are:
- Companies or brands in the category that have a blog must be selected. I suggest including a company from the country to which the company belongs, one from the United States, one from Europe and one from Latin America.
- Some aspects that should be evaluated in blogs are:
- If the blog is on the website or outside: When the blog is in a different URL to the website it means that it is outside.
- Information architecture: layout of spaces in the blog and options of the main menu.
- Categories of articles: The topics covered in the blog.
- The frequency of publication of articles: The weekly or monthly periodicity with which they publish new articles in the blog.
- Topics of articles that generate more interaction: The topics of the articles that generate the most comments and are shared in social networks are identified.
- Authors of the articles: if the blog articles are all created by the company or have invited authors.
- Create a document that identifies the best practices in blog marketing identified in the benchmark.
4.2. Define the objectives of the blog marketing strategy
The broad objectives (general), measurable and must be fully articulated with corporate objectives, marketing, and digital marketing.
Some examples of blog marketing objectives are:
- Improve customer knowledge
- Improving customer satisfaction.
- Customer loyalty
- Strengthen the brand
- Increase sales.
- Get potential customers.
4.3. Define the audience of the blog
The audience to which you want to reach with the content strategy (market and interests thereof) must be clearly specified.
There are several methods to define the audience, the most important are:
- Socio-demographic profile: It includes social and demographic aspects, some examples are: gender, age, education, income level, race, a geographical place where he lives, etc.
- Psychographic profile: It includes aspects such as: personality, lifestyle, interests, tastes, concerns, opinions, values, etc.
- Buyer person: It is a methodology that allows defining a fictitious person that fits the audience that is being defined. Some aspects that are defined are name, occupation, tastes, hobbies, how it interacts with the product or service.
4.4. Define content categories for the blog
Once the audience is known, the main theme of the content and its respective categories must be defined. For this, an investigation must be carried out to identify which contents are valued by the audience. In addition to the benchmark, the review of blogs aimed at the same audience can give ideas of the topics of articles that generate more interest.
To define the categories it is important to answer the following questions about the audience of interest:
- What do you need?
- What do they like to read, see or hear?
- Things are you looking for on the Internet?
- What do you like more than what you have published?
- What is valuable content for them?
4.5. Form the work team
The work team has three main actors: experts, editorial committee and Community Manager. The responsibilities of each of them are:
- Experts: Verify in your company that people can help you to generate the selected content. These people must have a high knowledge of the subject that is going to develop, being desirable that they are permanent investigating and studying. You must notify the people who will be part of the generation of content, and inform you how often your articles are required. It is essential that at this stage you have a sponsor (it is desirable that you are the General Manager) to facilitate the acceptance process of this new responsibility.
- Editorial committee Plan: An editorial committee should be created in the organization whose mission is: the creation of the communication plan and its adjustment every month, as properly as the review of the articles before they are published. The Community Manager must be part of this committee.
4.6. Define the content formats that the blog will have
You must define the content formats that the blog will have with its respective periodicity, which may include:
4.7. Create a content plan
An annual detailed publication calendar must be created. This calendar must have:
- The goal for the company
- Publication format
- Publication date
- Time of publication
- Publication diffusion channels
4.8. Build the blog
A professional blog should be built to generate trust and have a complete integration with social networks so that it allows you to grow your community and propagate the content. Some of the following platforms with which you can make the blog are:
The use of content managers such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and others or free platforms such as Blogger.com, WordPress.com, and Tumblr.com, among others.
4.8.1. Use of content managers
There are many content management platforms to create professional business blogs in independent hostings.
Some platforms that allow this are: WordPress.org, Drupal.org, Joomla.org, and others.
Advantages of Content Management Systems (CMS)
Some advantages of these platforms with respect to free platforms are:
- Locate it on the website: The installation of the blog on the website brings many benefits for the business as people who arrive through search engines will become potential customers for the company.
- Professional presence: The blog installed in a Content Management System (CMS) allows achieving a more professional presence
- Domain name: The domain name of the company generates credibility.
- Total control: The blogs installed on a CMS allows total control over all the elements of the blog, including the content.
- Customization: The blogs installed on a CMS allow you to personalize yourself better than free blogs on the Internet.
- Support: The contracted hosting services have a support service 24 hours a day.
- Unlimited size: When the blog is installed in a contracted hosting, it has no size limit, as does the free blog.
- SEO: The blogs installed in a content manager on the website can be configured to be more search engine friendly and have a better positioning in a blog created in a free site.
- Control of comments: Blogs created with a CMS allow for more effective control of comments.
4.8.2. Free publishing platforms on the Internet
Free Internet publishing platforms are ideal for people who are initiating a personal branding strategy, as they are very easy to create and publish.
Although there are some companies that use these free platforms to build blogs, I do not recommend them for a professional blog of a company because it has some limitations compared to the options that are installed on content managers (CMS).
Advantages of free platforms on the Internet
Some advantages of these platforms are:
- Ease of use: Free Internet publishing platforms are a content management system that allows you to create articles easily and in minutes. The content is directly on the Internet and you can edit, delete or add new content as many times as you wish.
- Free hosting: Free Internet publishing platforms do not charge to save the blog and keep it available 24 hours online.
- Low price: Being a free Internet publishing platform, the software has no cost. In addition, there are thousands of free templates to change the appearance of the blog, which allows you to save a lot of time working on its creation.
- High reliability: Free Internet publishing platforms are very efficient and stable since the latest version is always used.
- Excellent support: Free Internet publishing platforms have a very active community, which offers a lot of information and documentation for support.
- Positioning in search engines: Free Internet publishing platforms are updated with the latest search engine positioning guidelines (Google and others) which will allow when you search for topics related to the article you will have a good positioning in the search results.
4.9. Generate content for the blog
The generation of content is a very important stage in the blog. Some useful strategies for creating content of value to the audience are:
- Ask the audience: When the audience is asked about the content they want the company to present to them on the blog, it is one of the most efficient methods to know which content generates value and which does not. For this, you can make a survey in the blog, website or email where you wonder what topics you would be interested in a predefined list. You can also see in the articles published on the blog which article topics are generating more comments and interaction.
- The content of the company: The content generated by the experts of the company must be presented on the blog in a pleasant, attractive and original way to become interesting content.
- Interviews: An important resource to generate content for your blog is to conduct interviews. These are interesting, offer the opinion of other professionals or people of interest and a different voice.
- Testimonials from customers: When a client gives you negative feedback about your company, ask for authorization to use it as material for your blog and create strategies for your other buyers to share their stories.
- Information sources: You must have a group of websites as a source of reliable information and value to the audience, to go when we are short of content.
- News: It is important to be monitoring the news that happens around the main topic selected for the blog to create articles when events of interest happen. Use Google Alerts to know the popularity of different topics.
- Create a podcast: create a periodic audio with interviews with an expert in the category or record yourself giving some tips of interest to the audience.
- Write of the trends: When you inform how things evolve and develop in your industry you can show your company as an expert in its category.
- Make reviews: make reviews of books or films of interest to your audience. It is important to inform the authors that you have made them to seek propagation by them.
- Compilation of articles: When you have enough time with the blog you can create an article with the collection of previous articles on a given topic. Generally, this generates value to the visitors.
- Make ranking: Make ranking of books, blogs, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, etc. You can encourage authors, usually influencers, to spread your content. Avoid naming competitors in such rankings.
- Compare products or services: Make comparisons of products or services of interest to your audience and express your opinion on which is the best.
- Infographics: If you find an infographic that is of interest to your audience, make an article based on it. You should always mention the source.
- Monitors your competition: Periodically review the articles published by competitors on their blogs and make your own version of the successful articles of these.
- Corporate social responsibility: Inform your audience how your company makes contributions to the community by uploading videos or articles about this activity.
- Create a prize: Give a prize to the person who best does something in your category: “the best of”, this strategy attracts the attention of the readers of your blog and the participants.
- Tell stories about your company: Everyone likes stories, write about how you started your business, about your successes and even about your failures.
- Use keywords: Investigate the keywords that people look for your products or services and create articles using them.
- Guest bloggers: Allow people who do not work in your company to publish on the blog, for this you must write the guidelines to become a guest blogger.
- Other methodologies for a content generation: Some methodologies that can be used to generate ideas are: brainstorming, mental maps, review of current content and recycling, web analytics and email analytics.
4.10. Design a content dissemination strategy
A strategy for disseminating the content published on the blog must be designed. Some broadcast channels are:
- News aggregating sites such as Reddit.
It is important to note that the content should not be copied and pasted into any channel since they would have negative effects on search engine positioning.
4.11. Measure and continuously adjust the strategy
- Measure: You must define and assign goals for the indicators and make a permanent follow-up of these indicators in the blog.
- Adjustment: Action must be taken when there are deviations in compliance with the indicators or when changes in the tastes and needs of the audience are detected. This stage allows the strategy to feed itself to make a continuous improvement.
4.12. Guidelines for writing a blog article
We will review some guidelines for writing a successful blog article.
The title of the article must have two characteristics:
- It must be attractive to encourage the reader to read the article.
- You must explain the content of the article.
- It must contain keywords of interest to achieve a good search engine positioning (SEO).
- It must have a maximum of 120 characters so that it can easily spread with Twitter.
Your first paragraph is very important because it is the one that manages to draw attention to the rest of the article.
The first paragraph should contain:
- A summary of the article in an attractive way.
- The reason why the topic of the article is important.
- Keywords since they are important for search engine positioning (SEO).
- The body of the article must be separated by subtitles that allow the reader to quickly identify which topics the article covers without reading everything. This can be achieved through the introduction of numbered and bulleted lists.
- It may be important to highlight important words or phrases in bold or italics.
- It is desirable that the article has at least 500 words to position it better in search engines.
The articles should end with two elements:
- One conclusion: A paragraph that summarizes the content of the article and that makes clear the position of who wrote the article on the subject.
- One question: It is important to ask readers a question to motivate the writing of comments.
- Links to other sites: It is desirable that articles have links to other sites because it allows: expand information, define terms and give credits of concepts used.
- Images: The article must have at least one image related to the article of good resolution (I suggest at least 800 × 600). To contribute to search engine positioning (SEO) you must put a name and ALT and TITLE tags with keywords.
- Videos: It is desirable that the article has a video associated with the subject, which makes it more enjoyable.
- Infographics: When making articles based on infographics, a summary must be made of at least 500 words. In other words, the infographic has a lot of technical content that the search engine can not read.
blog marketing Conclusion:
In this article, Inar Guide explained everything you must know about blog marketing. In conclusion, What is blog marketing, brief history about the blog marketing, what are the blog marketing benefits and step by step to create a successful blog marketing strategy.
To finish I leave you with a question:
Is your blog marketing strategy working for your company?