Blogging used to be social media, back before we had social media. Copyblogger argued that it should continue to be considered part of the social media arsenal for some good reasons — but that was back in 2012. By now, blogging is distinct from social media in some significant ways:
- Blogging adds value to your website. Facebook or Twitter may get people to your website, but they don’t improve the site itself.
- Blogging gives you the opportunity to get deep. Now, we do original content at LinkedIn and Facebook, and you have the option of writing longer posts at other places as well, but people typically just dip into social media platforms. They’re mostly not there to read — they’re there to skim.
- Blogging lets you rank for long-tail searches. With blog posts, you can provide useful information for people who are at early information-gathering stages of their purchasing process. You wouldn’t want to create a new landing page or a new homepage section for every long-tail keyword phrase you’d like to rank for; blogging lets you get the results without that costly effort.
- Blogging hangs around. We still get plenty of traffic to blog posts from years ago. Where are the tweets of yesteryear — or last week? They’re gone (unless they’re scandalous, and people are willing to make an effort to find them).
- Blogging is under your control. You can’t make your forum posts or your Xing page look just the way you want, because they belong to someone else. Your blog belongs to you. It can (and should) be styled to match the rest of your website and support your brand.
What’s a blog?
Many site owners have a negative reaction to the word “blog.” So do marketing directors and communication specialists. The word itself makes them think about cats or something.
Nowadays, we often call the blog section of a website “News” or another more neutral term.
We have some sites which are definitely news sites, even though they use blogging technology. “Articles” is often an appropriate title, even for business blogs.
“Blog” nowadays refers more to the technology that allows you to add posts and have your page show the most recent one automatically.
Blogging is also more trouble than tweeting or pinning. I wrote about the question, “Does Every Business Need a Blog?” and I guess it was answered in the affirmative in the comment discussion, but there are real-world reasons that most companies don’t blog. Those reasons have nothing to do with the value of blogging and everything to do with the effort involved. After all, we have some clients who do their own social media. We have none who really keep up their own blogs (as opposed to planning to do so).
The more we look at the data, the clearer it is that — in today’s online business environment — regular content creation is not optional. Blogging is the best way to do that, whatever you call your blog.
But companies that try to blog on their own usually fail. They don’t write those blog posts regularly, or the quality is poor. They end up with abandoned blogs. I think we don’t push clients to blog, even though we see that blogging makes a difference in their levels of success, for the same reason that the USDA says things like, “Serve more whole grains” rather than, “Quit eating white bread.” We know it’s hard. We know that they probably won’t do it. We politely offer them whole grains — er, blogging, but we accept their decision to go for the biscuits instead. Metaphorically speaking.
Is blogging vs. social media the choice?
Social media is important. It allows you to develop relationships, to communicate with customers in other ways, to increase visibility. It also brings new readers to your company’s blog — which really ought to exist.
In fact, having regular fresh content in the form of a blog at your website is one of the most effective ways to step up your social media. You can link to the blog posts and get regular traffic to your website from your social media platforms.
You can hire Haden Interactive to blog for you. It’s a smaller investment than cable TV ads, and you can expect a much better return on your investment. Contact us today to start the conversation.