A client recently asked me why they need to blog. My first thought on how to respond was probably similar to your reaction or that of any other marketer: "Yes, you have to have a blog, everyone has a blog."
Site blogs have become a standard feature on websites today. But because the blog has become so common, many organizations are missing the mark when it comes to blogging the right way.
The blog has in years past been an asset platform, where you could place keyword-targeted content fluff and actually gain search rankings from it. Now, considering SEO is becoming all encompassing, along with content marketing, here's a checklist of why you need a blog and why you don't.
You Got to Have It
I joked above about how keyword-rich content fluff-filled posts have gained rankings in the past. But, from another angle, if you're writing enticing, informational content surrounding organizational related topics, you're likely covering keyword relevant topics.
Over time, when you consider the amount of content you have blogged about, you have created quite a bit of content surrounding certain themes under the umbrella of your domain. It is also a great opportunity to build a stronger internal linking "web" within your site.
I'm probably not the first person you have heard say that you have to be active in social media. It is where people "are" today.
Additionally, social is a great vertical for generating a community, building a brand, and engaging your audience. While I don't encourage constant shameless promotion of your services and offerings, a great piece of blog content can be a nice addition for social posting.
Adding social sharing functions on your blog allows your audience to be the judge. Is your content good enough for shares and tweets? If so, you've just created free promotion of your content to the masses.
We know we need good links to survive/advance in the SEO world. How many links can you attain to those product pages, that homepage or About Us page without some additional supporting content?
Sites with link building potential need great content, but they also need depth. You can only work a small site so long for existing link potential. Great content gets the social and link love.
Granted, you may have other on-site social sharing propellants and link generating pieces, but aside from a forum, a blog is a great way to give people attending your site a voice. It can be a good way to generate community but this only will travel as far as your diligence in responding to comments.
Breadth of Visibility/Funneling/Goal Conversions
Just because you create a piece of blog content does not mean it is going to rank nor does it mean it is going to drive traffic. However, a great piece of well-thought-out blog content has the ability to take benefit from the factors above of social attention and link attainment to give it some legs in regard to "rankability."
What does this do? It allows you to rank and hopefully draw visitors into the site. Now, what you have done with proper internal linking and calls to action in your blog will determine if you will be able to drive these visitors further into the site and possibly into the conversion funnel.
You Don't Need It
You're the site other small- to medium-sized organizations and webmasters hate. You're the 800-pound gorilla in the SERPs.
You have domain authority via links just on your name alone. You have a social presence to die for. My mom wants to join Facebook just to Like your Page. You likely have got here from multi-millions if not billions in offline and TV advertising.
You don't need a blog, but could provide additional content to your customers/audience, gain benefit from the points above and show thought leadership in your industry.
Insane Social Popularity
If you're lucky enough to have this problem, then most likely you're akin to the aforementioned brand supremacy topic – or you've worked very hard to attain and nurture a large scale social audience over time.
You know how to make your followers happy with captivating content and engagement. While a blog would provide additional content opportunities, you don't need a blog.
Other On-site Asset Channels
You have done a great job of generating a lot of on-site content via a wealth of resourceful "evergreen" content or informational series of content/articles that has led to mass link generation. You may have also integrated social sharing functionality on these pages, which has led to increased social virality. You don't need a blog.
What's the Verdict?
Bottom line: 98 percent of organizations won't become social media rock stars or big brands, but blogging can still be of benefit.
Many big brands do blog, but these sites gained their organic search dominance via their link and social audience attainment (and the Google Vince update). The blog may help them, but it isn't their ace up the sleeve.
On the other hand, for those with the most benefit potential, you can't rely on blogging solely for success. It is a platform to aid in the pursuit of attaining success in all the pillars mentioned above.
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!