Blogging for business is still paramount to growth. In order to understand its value in today’s current climate, one should consider its recent history.
Several years ago blogging was the de facto way for a business to make their voice heard. They used freelance and internal bloggers to write on specific topics to serve as PR, educate their customers, and to appease their internal legal advice.
They also used blogging for SEO purposes, but because tracking a concrete ROI proved to be impossible, many companies either continued the practice out of habit or persisted in the name of other benefits hoping the organic component would catch fire.
Then there were those who viewed blogging as a thing that simply depreciated in value and ceased doing it. The “death of blogging” became a thing in 2016. Many argued that blogs lost their ability to start conversations between brands and buyers. They instead turned their focus to Facebook.
Freelancers even reported finding more work as “micro-bloggers” on Facebook than they did writing recurring articles and blogs.
The heyday of blogging came to a slowdown when Facebook started dominating cyber space. But 2018 is likely going to be the year where blogging comes back in full swing. First, people are already dropping off Facebook.
Facebook stock fell by 4.5 percent earlier this year causing Zuckerberg to lose 3.3 billion of his net worth. An article by ‘USA Today’ reports that we will see 2 million users under age 25 leave Facebook this year.
Why? Various surveys reveal that people are tired of seeing unsavory politics crammed in their faces, while others report there are too many ads. Either way, people want more control over the information they digest. They don’t want to be forced to look at anything that is deemed unwelcomed. Blogs don’t do this.
Blogging in 2018
Blogging is reclaiming its throne in the world of business growth, and there are several reasons for this. For one, the inbound marketing methodology (though it has existed for more than a decade) is the hot topic in digital marketing and more businesses are researching its benefits.
This approach to marketing relies on customized blog content designed to nurture people at various stages in the buyer’s journey to completing a purchase. In other words, it is central to all things inbound.
Consumer behavior has also changes. Gone are the days when SEOs would rank landing pages that would lead people to a sales call. With the user friendly advances in mobile voice search and smart home device search, people are able to engage in on-the-spot research.
This means they seek compelling reasons to make a purchase through educating themselves. If done correctly, a winning blog strategy will rank the right content that will both resonate with buyers. It will provide them with enough information to confidently buy.
A Winning Blog Strategy Must Consider Audience Targeting
We live in a digital world where writing blogs to the moon with the right keywords will no longer rank well, or convert readers into buyers.
When Google RankBrain launched at the end of 2015, it was the beginning semantic dominance. With its AI and machine learning components, the search engine is able to learn the human intentions behind the search queries while noticing which content resonates, and why.
In order to fall under Google’s good graces for the sake or organic ranking, your blog must touch on the topics that matter to people, and provide them with high-quality information that resolves a need by offering a solution.
This means you truly need to understand your buyers, what motivates them, the challenges they face, and send precise messaging to appease their pain.
Not only will a blog like this improve your SEO, it will also help you achieve your biggest growth goal: hitting those high sales targets. After all, you are not in business to rank on page one of Google for every hot search query.
Once you get the traffic, the next step is to convert them into customers. And to do this, you will need blog content that is customized for individual groups to engage with.
Creating buyer personas will improve your audience targeting quality. These are fictional representations of your real customers that capture a wide range of data spanning from age and gender, to geo-location, job title and responsibilities, and personal hobbies.
Stephen Higgins from HubSpot explains how to use buyer personas based on your ideal clients to drive your marketing strategy.
Buyer personas can serve as roadmaps for creating content designed to resonate on multiple levels with the right consumer groups. By creating custom messaging that offers your products and services as the best solution to a common pain experienced in one precise buyer audience, you can expect to see a healthy increase in sales.
Blogs Must Have Structure, for Buyers and SEO
Consider using the cluster model of blogging to create structured content that both Google and your customers will love.
This is a tactic performed by the best digital marketing agencies for business growth in which a set number of agency blogs are defined. Each is given a unique industry-related topic that customers care about. And each one links to another sharing a relevant topic while linking to the same “pillar page” (primary product / service page).
Your buyers will love this because they can easily navigate the content for related questions or topics.
Google loves this because the blogs are nicely structured and therefore easier to read. They demonstrate relevance, and the high user engagement will garner signals that feed through to the pillar page this improving SEO. As a result, your content will rank well. It’s topics will appeal to your buyers, and you can expect a hike in sales.
Write for People, then Bots
Really, these have become one in the same. Since Google favors content designed to delight readers and tracks their behavior to gauge rank authority worthiness, writing for Google now means that you write for the people who use the search engine.
Know your buyers, create content for them while still taking SEO considerations into your verbiage, and in time you will likely have a high-ranking, converting blog to fuel your business growth.