Blogging Is NOT Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract and engage an audience of your ideal customers. Therefore, a popular approach for creating and distributing content is adding a blog to your website.
It’s likely you’ve heard advice such as “all websites should have a blog” or “your brand needs to be blogging”. But, in most cases, this is terrible advice.
Let me explain…
Why Blogging Works for Bloggers but Not for Business
A blog is defined as “a regular record of your thoughts, opinions or experiences that you put on the internet for other people to read”.
Blogs do have lots of benefits, both for the blogger and the reader. But this ad hoc approach to sharing thoughts and experiences rarely drives meaningful results for brands.
Let’s first talk about the good bits of blogs and blogging.
Blogs are usually full of lots of useful information. Blog content is usually informal and authentic as it’s an account of a real person’s thoughts or experience.
Bloggers that write well and consistently publish valuable content can develop a large following. They can also build personal connections and form strong bonds with their audience. Readers of popular blogs often feel a deep connection with the blogger, even if they’ve never met in person.
Blogs are a platform to share experiences and a great way to build an audience. Because of this they’ve been widely adopted by businesses who want to reap all these same benefits.
But that’s where the problems start.
It’s Not All About You (or Your Brand)
Brands all too often treat their business blog the same way an individual blogger does.
Business blogs usually contain posts about events, exhibitions and awards ceremonies. All alongside bland industry news and a few random thoughts.
Sure, this fits the bill for the definition of a blog – a regular record of thoughts and experiences. But to the average reader, this isn’t at all engaging or interesting.
The problem is, no one cares about the trade show you attended or the award you won. You may care deeply, but your customers don’t. Especially if it’s an obscure industry award or expo the general public have never heard of.
The harsh truth is, most people don’t care about your business. They don’t care about your awards or when the company was founded. They’re not interested in company news or updates.
People care about themselves and their own problems.
When your company blog is a random collection of posts about what the company has been up to, it adds no value to your customers’ lives. It’s just noise. And while it might not send people running away and never buying from you, it won’t help either.
People won’t read it. They won’t like it. They won’t share it.
All that time you put into designing, building, writing and editing your blog was a waste of time and resources.
But all is not lost!
You can reinvent your self-indulgent blog into something of value. Or your brand can start a blog and make it a valuable part of your wider marketing strategy.
They key is focusing on your customers. It’s about creating content they will actually find interesting, useful, inspiring or educational.
At the end of the day, a blog is a tool. But it’s a tool that most businesses don’t use effectively.
Blogging vs. Content Marketing as a Strategic Approach
A blog is content, but that’s where the overlap between a traditional blog and content marketing ends.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach. It’s designed to attract and engage your customers and provide value relevant to their interests, questions or problems.
All marketing should be intentional and needs to be underpinned by a strategy. All your marketing efforts should communicate your brand values and key messages that build relationships and drive demand for your products.
Your marketing efforts need goals and targets that can be measured to track your progress.
A marketing campaign is often executed across multiple channels. So it’s important to consider everything as a whole and make a plan before jumping in.
This is the complete opposite of a typical blog; a random collection of thoughts and experiences isn’t strategic or intentional.
Most blogs tend to focus on written posts but content marketing comes in many styles and forms. It can include video, podcasts, creating recipes, producing PDF guides and much more.
You should match different types of content to your goals. Content can be used to attract people who’ve never heard about your brand or to convert them into subscribers. It can be used to make a sale or to delight your existing customers and keep them coming back for more.
You might now be wondering what to do with your brand’s blog or if starting one is even worth it.
Should My Brand Have a Blog?
Yes. If you’re willing to publish content that your audience will find interesting, helpful or valuable.
No. If you want to publish news and updates that no one cares about. Save yourself some time, money and effort instead.
If you choose to start or reinvigorate your brand blog, make it part of a wider content marketing strategy. Don’t treat it like a collection of random thoughts and post something whenever you feel like it.
Use your blog as a content hub. Share or repurpose your blog content into other formats or mediums. Then share it across your other marketing channels.
Start by focusing on your audience. Think about what they would find interesting or valuable.
Identify common topics or themes which could form the basis for regular features. This gives people something to come back to again and again.
Understand what your customers are searching for and create content around their questions. Get to know the problems, pains, struggles and obstacles that get in the way of them living their best life. Create content to help, guide, support or inspire them.
There are many tools to choose from when it comes to content marketing and attracting and engaging customers. Whichever tool you choose, be sure to focus on your customers and provide them something of value.
Remember: it’s not all about you, it’s all about your customers!