It’s a good question. I wrote this 6-part answer about why a blog content strategy is one of the best investments you can make, and why nearly every top site in the world is regularly publishing fresh new content. With a decade of experience and having managed hundreds of high traffic business blogs, I hope to share my honest personal opinion about why I think you should blog.
Part 1/6: How Content Marketing Works
Content marketing works by writing content about commonly searched topics in your industry. You have a very specific type of customer, so our job is to think about the things that they are searching for and write content that is helpful and caters to those searches, with the goal of having them land on your website.
The core of Google's business is very simple: deliver the best results for search queries. While defining their objective is simple, the task itself is incredibly complex. They must serve content that links to sources to back up facts and claims, has useful and relevant images and media, is formatted properly and easy to read, has enough information and covers all facets of the subject, is non-biased, relevant, up-to-date, and ultimately informs and satisfies the user - and they must parse through trillions of webpages in a fraction of a second to serve those results. There are hundreds of other search factors they consider, and by understanding how Google organizes search queries and why, we can check more of those boxes than most.
Through careful topic ideation and competitive research (and while putting ourselves in the shoes of your customers), we find topics that have high traffic and low-to-moderate competition so that we can write stellar content that is much more useful, relevant, and higher effort than what currently appears in the search results, making your content much more likely to perform.
Here's an elementary example: a company that sells WiFi-enabled gardening products. Instead of only focusing your efforts on a primary search phrase like “smart watering system”, a fairly competitive search term with a finite amount of monthly searches, we start writing informative posts that explore new topics, such as:
- “How to Take Care of Your Garden During a Heatwave”
- "15 Benefits of Using Mulch in Your Vegetable Garden"
- “How Often Should You Water Plants in a Zone 9 Area?”
If you consider the user's interest in these topics and their search intent, they likely have plants that they take care of and are researching some best practices to keep them healthy. If they land on a site that sells products that detect moisture levels and water plants automatically and at the right time, these individuals who carefully tend to their gardens will be much more likely to show interest in this type of product than most.
Each of those new blog posts are brand new sources of traffic and will likely surface for dozens of Google queries that are searched thousands of times daily. You’re also providing extra value to your existing visitors, who are almost certainly individuals with gardens and plants themselves, but more on those passive benefits later.
As your content starts to rank organically, we can then work to strategically convert those new visitors into paying customers and conversions (CRO). If these new blog visitors see a scrolling sidebar or an interstitial product mention while reading, they are even more likely to click and purchase your product or services.
This, in a nutshell, is how blogging and content marketing works. Pretty neat, huh?
Part 2/6: Blogging Gives You an Advantage
Bear with me a minute here. Facts and visitor data can be boring to read. However, data across millions of websites (with and without blogs) reveals some undeniable patterns. I’ve written my in-depth insights on all three so you can see the data on why blogging works.
Fact #1 of 3:
My Insights On This:
The keyword here is “indexed traffic”. Websites that publish to their blog between 1-3 times per week are proven to have significantly more traffic on average than sites that don’t blog. Indexed traffic is traffic that can be measured with enterprise data tools like Amazon’s Alexa suite or Quantcast, which is the industry standard for collecting traffic statistics from people’s browsers. While it’s not exact, measured across millions of different websites, certain patterns are undeniable; namely, that blogging almost always equals significantly more traffic.
Fact #2 of 3:
My Insights On This:
This raises an important question, and it's one you should ask yourself as well: “I’m getting more traffic, but are those blog visitors doing anything for me?” This data shows that not only does blogging result in significantly higher traffic, but the number of new leads those businesses are receiving is actually proportionate to their new traffic increase. To put it simply, blog posts visitors tend to correlate with an increase in visitors intending to buy.
Fact #3 of 3:
My Insights On This:
Following Google's Panda update, which penalized low effort or "thin" content, publishing cheap outsourced articles doesn't really cut it anymore. If you look at data on indexed blog posts over the past 10 years, you’ll see that high-performing web pages have evolved from short 500-word blog posts to long-form content that is far more useful, longer, backed with sources, and filled with images, videos, comments, updates, and more. Even over the past few years, Google has been further increasing their emphasis on content quality in all forms. This shift towards content quality is actually a huge benefit; happier readers, better performance, more linkable and shareable content, cleaner search results, and much better use of your time and hard-earned dollars. For this reason, many bloggers found that writing one quality article per week was more successful than writing multiple lower-quality ones. I conducted a research study on the steady increase in the average blog post word count on our blog, here.
Part 3/6: Compounding Return on Investment
If I had to pick a metaphor to compare with blogging, I would probably pick "going to the gym". It needs a consistent schedule, it's tough, it can be intimidating to start, and people often give up before they start to see real results.
Building a blog presence takes time, and many businesses don’t have the time, patience, or budget for it. It’s very much a long-term strategy, unlike the instant-gratification results many new marketers are getting from pay per click ads on Facebook or Google.
Similar to blogging, working on your fitness takes time. People see and understand the positive effects of working out, but it can be intimidating and hard to stick with. However, your effort compounds over time. The result of you being in shape is the result of going to the gym 3 times per week for a year. Similar to fitness, a blog will see results by blogging 3 times per week for a year, and it will continue to benefit from those results long-term. Long-lasting results don’t happen overnight.
Receiving a steady handful of extra visitors each day may not seem like much, but when those visitor streams are combined over months or years of consistent effort, they multiply in size, all while blogging at a steady pace and without increasing budget. Let me emphasize that: your blog traffic continues to increase each month without increasing your budget.
What would you rather buy, ad clicks for $2.50 per visitor or a great piece of content that yields 1,000 new visitors per week for years to come? With ads, you’re renting visitors. With content, you’re owning a lifetime flow of visitors. A strong content strategy is an investment, and it's arguably the best investment for digital properties.
In addition, most experts have determined that the average blog takes around 3-6 months to start gaining traction. Search engines are slow to hand out authority to brand new webpages. They need to collect data on your visitor dwell time, engagement, bounce rate, and various other metrics to ensure they're directing people to the information they're looking for.
So, stick with it! Don’t expect immediate linear results after a couple of months. Touching on my gym analogy again, the toughest part is when you're just starting out. It gets easier as you build your foundation, and you're investing in yourself. Growing a website's search presence requires hard work, persistence, and time.
Part 4/6: Organic Link & SEO Strategy
There’s a saying in internet marketing circles; "if content is king, links are queen". Great content is essential to a powerful internet presence, and if your blog posts have powerful links from top sites, it gives search engines an extra bit of encouragement that your content is a helpful and shareable resource.
The best part about writing quality content is you don’t really have to focus on building links artificially; great posts will almost always attract high-quality links from other bloggers and large websites, organically.
All of our clients to date have received organic links from high authority sites, including massive sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, USA Today, BuzzFeed, Yahoo, Business Insider, and more.
While receiving top tier links like this organically isn’t a daily occurrence, it sure does feel great when it happens. Many of these large sites charge $20,000 or more for a featured mention, and agencies will charge $5,000 - $10,000 for guest posts on these sites. When a great piece of content acquires links like these organically, it’s extra sweet.
Organic links to your blog posts are some of the most powerful links you can get, even from the smaller bloggers. Not only will the blog posts that are linked rank higher, but your site as a whole will grow, and you’ll start to see your homepage, product pages, and service pages increase in rankings and performance as that extra link authority trickles down.
It doesn’t stop there. Search engines tend to favor sites that publish fresh new content regularly. This means sites that blog have a natural advantage in search. If that wasn’t enough, many marketers have published studies that when they stopped blogging, their rankings on the rest of their site dropped.
There are many other SEO benefits, like improved indexing, stronger internal link structure, free user-generated content with blog comments, and more.
Part 5/6: Thought Leadership & Branding
Aside from the huge marketing advantages listed above, creating great useful content simply makes you look good, for a few different reasons:
- It establishes you as an expert or “thought leader” in your industry. When you have hundreds or thousands of useful articles about every conceivable subject in your industry, you’ll start to see the effects of that sort of extra exposure. Media sites may reach out asking if it’s okay to quote you in an article and link to your site. Users will comment thanking you for your helpful articles. Bloggers may reach out asking for advice or a quote and may include you in “roundup” posts of experts in certain fields.
- Putting care into your blog shows you put care into your business. Some eCommerce sites are relatively simple from the outside looking in, and potential customers can’t see how many employees that work for you, your ad budget, your sales, or any other internal information. Blogging regularly and having a very well-updated site shows that you are still in business (since you recently posted a blog article) and that you have the resources to contribute to your blog. Those things can be reassuring to potential customers.
- There are many different ways to repurpose your content, such as audio transcriptions, multi-lingual translations, video content, slideshows, and even something as simple as posting your blog content to your social media channels. This amplifies the visibility of your content.
Part 6/6: Establish a New Revenue Stream
I can’t tell you how many businesses we’ve worked with that are primarily earning sales from a single keyword or a single sales source. For example, a site that sells scuba gear might rank highly for “buy scuba gear”. When the next Google update rolls out and the search results get shaken up, if they lose position and are pushed to page 2, they might lose a sizable chunk of business. Similarly, if a business is solely promoting on social media and they suddenly lose reach due to an algorithm change, they can see their sales drop by 50% overnight.
Blogging can help you establish a brand new stream of sales and revenue. Not only that, but it is proven to be a very stable source of traffic, as search engines have been putting a strong emphasis on content quality over the past decade.
I’ve seen a handful of companies that were met with some stiff competition when bidding on PPC ads or suffered some business setbacks, and the steady organic traffic from their content marketing efforts saved their business. When your traffic is spread over hundreds or thousands of quality pages, instead of focusing on the rankings of a primary keyword or a single source of visitors, your traffic is much more diversified and predictable.
Content marketing is key to building a solid website foundation and stable organic traffic.
Not convinced yet? Schedule a call with me! I speak with dozens of webmasters and CEOs every month and I don’t charge for consultations or advice. I’d love to hear from you and hear about what stage your businesses is at and your goals moving forward.
When you call us, you’re speaking directly with me, not a pushy sales team. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, and if we’re a good fit for your business, we’d love to work with you.