Blog Your Way to the Top

While there are many methods available to improve organic search rankings, blogging and blog marketing provide some of the best marketing value for your money. Large corporations and Web technology-based companies are already seeing the benefit of corporate blogging. The benefits are obvious once you’ve given blogging a solid six month stretch, so let’s take a quick look at some of the most obvious benefits.

Blogging Adds Fresh Content to Static Sites

One of the biggest challenges to optimizing a small Web site (20 or fewer pages) is the number of pages available to draw in the reader. While this concept can definitely be taken to the opposite extreme and become a disadvantage - check out what John Scott had to say about excess pages. A daily or weekly dose of fresh content on relevant and current industry topics is healthy for your Web site. The 90’s saw thousands of sites launched overnight for the simple purpose of presenting what was essentially a Web site business card. Sales associates around the country wanted something, anything, to point prospective clients to online which might lend some authority or credence to their company’s claims.

As long as these executives are satisfied with an online business card format, that’s exactly what they’ll get. Sure, they can optimize their 10-20 pages, and they might even receive some traffic through major search engines. Our goal, however, is to discuss best practices, which entails utilizing and maximizing every tool at your disposal. And since blog software is easy to install on your server and design costs are typically reasonable, all that remains is assigning or hiring someone to add content.

Blogs Are Excellent CRM Tools

Matt Cutts’ Blog is an excellent example of how a blog can be a powerful tool for customer relationship marketing (CRM) and online reputation management (ORM). It also represents an important choice your company must make when approaching the subject of blog creation: do you want your blog to be attached to your corporate website, or a separate entity? Most companies wouldn’t consider the separate entity approach for fear of losing control, but there are some major benefits worth considering as well, which we’ll cover in depth in another article.

One of the biggest corporate dilemmas with online media is how to best interact and engage the customer and prospective customer. With millions of blogs and forums circulating the Web, your brand will inevitably receive mention, both positive and negative. Companies in the know are hosting blogs for the very purpose of giving their customers a voice to the company.

If you can encourage your client base to address you personally, you can control the flow of negative press and address issues quickly to transform dissatisfied customers into brand evangelists. Want to distinguish your brand in the industry? Position yourself to be the brand most involved in dialogue and responding to customer comments. Encourage your readers to praise, complain, suggest, and discuss in a venue you can easily control and monitor. This will save potential millions in lost revenue from dissatisfied customers who make it their mission in life to turn others away.

Professional Blogging Establishes Thought Leadership

Who can estimate the value of recognition among one’s peers as an innovator of industry-related insights and ideas? It’s priceless. Robert Scoble is an excellent example of thought leadership in the Web technology sector. Several million users annually prove that his innovation and perspective on the industry is well respected by peers and newbies alike.

In your industry, what would it take to become a nationally recognized thought leader? In most instances, it takes 1-2 years of daily blogging by an intelligent, experienced writer (or writers). Producing daily content for two years means you have added approximately 730 pages of content to your site or at least to the space of discussion within your industry. If you think that over for a few minutes, you’ll realize how that kind of exposure can lead to quotes from media professionals, peer sites, and related industry sites all over the Web!

Once you have established your company as a thought leader, the inbound links you earn will drive traffic to your site, position you as a source of quality information, and additionally increase your search engine rankings for important industry-related phrases.

With these benefits, you can’t afford not to implement blogging into your interactive marketing strategy.

About the author

Mark Jackson, President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, a search engine optimization company. Mark joined the interactive marketing fray in early 2000. His journey began with Lycos/Wired Digital and then AOL/Time Warner. After having witnessed the bubble burst and its lingering effects on stability on the job front (learning that working for a "large company" does not guarantee you a position, no matter your job performance), Mark established an interactive marketing agency and has cultivated it into one of the most respected search engine optimization firms in the United States.

Vizion Interactive was founded on the premise that honesty, integrity, and transparency forge the pillars that strong partnerships should be based upon. Vizion Interactive is a full service interactive marketing agency, specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing/PPC management, SEO friendly Web design/development, social media marketing, and other leading edge interactive marketing services, including being one of the first 50 beta testers of Google TV.

Mark is a board member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM) and a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association (DFWIMA) and is a regular speaker at the SES and Pubcon conferences.

Mark received a BA in Journalism/Advertising from The University of Texas at Arlington in 1993 and spent several years in traditional marketing (radio, television, and print) prior to venturing into all things "Web."

Read more of Mark Jackson's columns at ClickZ.