Are blogs still vital for business?

One may suppose that with the popularity of video and podcasts, blogging is no longer a powerful marketing tool.

After all, it appears that we have a fascination with eradicating things. We experienced the Y2K computer panic in the new millennium. We assumed that all print magazines would go out of business as technology became more and more significant in our lives. Some believe that blogging may soon go the way of the dinosaurs now that video content is enjoying its moment in the spotlight.

I questioned marketers with experience in product marketing, SEO, YouTube, podcasting, and other areas, “Are blogs dead? They stated the following.

In terms of lead generation, brand exposure, and SEO, blogs are still quite helpful. And consumers continue to like them. According to a HubSpot study, 60% of individuals read blogs at least once every week. Therefore, blogs won’t soon be a thing of the past for marketers.

Guest Blogging for success
Guest Blogging for success

To be fair, there is some logic to this blog-related query. According to Google Trends, the world’s interest in blogs has significantly decreased over the past five years.

Within the same five years, video has become more popular in the U.S. and has exceeded blogs in search volume.

However, WebTribunal reports that there are more than 600 million blogs out of 1.9 billion websites worldwide, indicating that blogs are still effective marketing vehicles. These blogs produce 6 million articles every day as a whole, with WordPress and Tumblr being the most widely used platforms.

Blogging for your website is still regarded as a top marketing channel by marketers. B2B marketing guru Ross Simmonds, who also founded the content marketing firm Foundation, claims that blogging has increased his clients’ traffic by thrice and sped up the rate at which deals are closed.

According to Simmonds, “Blogging with purpose has helped us at Foundation generate millions of dollars in the pipeline for both us and our clients.” Additionally, it has given us the power to strengthen the position of our brand in the marketplace and, most significantly, to genuinely assist others in our sector in discovering and seizing new opportunities.

Having said that, the blogging scene has evolved over time. Today, according to Lisa Toner, director of content at HubSpot, having a blog alone is insufficient.

“You must regularly produce material that is more valuable than that of your rivals. To get your articles to rank on Google’s first page, you need to be an expert in SEO, and you also need a distribution plan to spread your material across all the channels that your audience like to use, according to Toner.

“Winning at blogging is much more difficult now, but if you can master it, it’s worth the investment,”

Since consumers are paying more attention to a brand’s principles and stance on social problems, transparency is now a significant obligation.

“You need to consider how consumers perceive your brand in comparison to your rivals. Everyone has their own unique selling proposition (USP) and what they wish to promote, but users compare, according to Sandra Mpouma, RationalFX’s head of digital marketing.

Therefore, in terms of corporate strategy, foster loyalty and trust while still being open and aggressive, which is crucial in today’s market.

Compared to other marketing channels, blogs

Will blogs soon be obsolete given that other content marketing channels, such as video and podcasts, have eclipsed them?

Of course, that depends entirely on the user personas you’re aiming for. But even as other media expand, blogs continue to have numerous benefits.

“Podcasting has some restrictions of its own. There are numerous obstacles to audience expansion and discoverability. At this point, scaling strategies for blogs are very well established. According to Matthew Brown, senior podcast producer at HubSpot, such is not the case with podcasts.

“A corporation can invest in a blog that will essentially provide constant, easily measured, and reliable performance using its probably limited resources. Podcasts do not have access to a company’s bottom line like blogs do.

If your team has the resources to handle both channels, Nelson Chacon, the chief content strategist for YouTube at HubSpot, emphasizes that there is no need to pick between them.

You can engage your audience in several ways if it fits with your user personas.

“It will be beneficial to build a blog with posts focused on the advantages of your product. It would be helpful for your audience if you had a video showing how to use it or install it, adds Chacon.

Home Depot has done a terrific job of achieving this, he continues. In addition to educating and informing their clients about their products, they also include a brief “how-to” for the more experienced user who only need a brief explanation in a video.

The senior content strategist at HubSpot who specializes in social media projects, Annabelle Nyst, thinks it’s difficult to compare social media to blogs because each platform serves a different function.

According to Nyst, “social content doesn’t always have the longevity or discoverability of blog posts.” It’s more important to regularly engage with your audience where they are at the appropriate times, meet them where they are where they are, and build trust through community building.

She goes on to say that social media may be a fantastic tool for promoting your blog entries. Blog postings can also act as a source of ideas for social media posts.

Nyst advises taking the most interesting ideas from your blog entries, turning them into social-first content, and using it to promote your site.

Having said all of that, blogs have drawbacks as well. A senior content and acquisition manager at HubSpot named AJ Beltis makes reference to the significant drop-off rates frequently observed in blog postings.

Due to their nature as written content, blogs lack the engagement that many people yearn for, claims Beltis. This presents a challenge to blog writers who must captivate readers in a few succinct phrases without the aid of special effects or audio engineers that are accessible to their podcast and video equivalents.

What matters most is frequently your brand objectives and the outlets that will help you achieve them. For instance, podcasts are better for branding while blogs are better for engagement at the top of the funnel.

“Blog posts are a powerful acquisition tool. Any seasoned marketer may follow the clear path. However, podcasts work best as a branding opportunity, according to Brown.

“You wouldn’t gauge the brand-uplift potential of a series of blog entries, just as you wouldn’t gauge the lead generation potential of a podcast show. That is, unless you enjoy having gray hair and having major sleep problems.

Why Blogs Still Have Impact

Blogs might be a better long-term lead generation investment from an investment standpoint.

“I could spend $200K on a full-time blogger, SEO guru, and conversion rate optimization (CRO) specialist. I’m going to be able to establish a blog by combining those skill sets that delivers organic traffic to my website and converts it into leads for my company all year long,” claims Toner.

Or, I could invest the same $200K in an advertising campaign and possibly receive a few thousand leads over the duration of the campaign, she says. But my lead flow also ends when the campaign does.

According to Toner, the majority of the leads generated by HubSpot’s blog come from past blog entries. Therefore, blogging can be a fantastic source of leads even after pieces are published. This viewpoint is shared by Aja Frost, who oversees the HubSpot English SEO team.

“Naturally occurring traffic is more crucial than ever. After you’ve invested the time and effort to write a blog article, organic traffic is largely self-sustaining, unlike sponsored traffic, which stops coming in the moment your budget runs out, says the expert.

She continues by saying that since most content management systems (CMS) have SEO tools built into their platforms, optimizing your posts is made simpler.

Additionally, blogging can be helpful in defining a brand’s product positioning.

According to HubSpot Product Marketing Manager Alex Girard, blogs are still one of the best media outlets we have for telling stories about our products. They give us the chance to talk about market developments, how those trends affect the reader, and how our solution might be able to help them successfully adapt to those trends. They are excellent for sharing consumer success stories as well.

He continues by saying that the material doesn’t have to be promotional while using your blog to advertise your goods. Your audience will naturally look into your products and services after you become recognized as a thought leader in your field and earn their confidence.

Having said that, having a successful blog will require more than just having quality content.

“Growth without a goal isn’t going to help your business — if 10,000 people are reading your blog, but none of them fit your persona, that’s not going to do anything for your company,” explains Karla Heseterberg, senior blog manager at HubSpot. Focus on something doable, such as making new contacts, and make sure that every post you make has that objective in mind.

She continues by saying that one of the biggest errors brands make is producing content solely for consumers who are close to making a choice.

Since there are so many steps between reading a blog and completing a purchase, marketers should write posts with offers tailored to each stage’s users.

From an SEO standpoint, brands may also have trouble driving traffic because they prioritize blogging above link building.

“One thing I frequently observe is that marketers treat ‘blogging’ and ‘link building’ as two distinct professions. They produce the blog pieces first, and only after that do they consider how to get backlinks to them, according to Irina Nica, a senior product marketing manager at HubSpot who focuses on raising brand awareness through outreach programs.

Instead, companies should mix linkable assets with other kinds of pieces that may be intended to drive organic or social media traffic into their regular content calendar.

Despite all the advantages we’ve discussed, not every firm should use blogging as their primary marketing tool. Why? But what if the ideal user you have in mind doesn’t read blogs? What if they would rather use emails?

According to Mpouma, “some brands have great email communication and workflows where they offer people downloadable offers so they don’t have to go somewhere else to get the information, it’s just in their inbox right away.”

“As long as you’re providing something in exchange, you don’t necessarily need a blog. The blog’s original purpose, in my opinion, was to provide something for nothing in exchange for reader involvement.

Therefore, blogs wouldn’t precisely be dead in that scenario, more like irrelevant.

What Keeps Marketing Alive

When you look at things more broadly, blogs are merely a marketing tool. The idea that marketing is dead has been put forth by some, which makes marketers like me wonder if there is something else we are unaware of.

According to recent evidence, marketing is still powerful. And that holds true for both conventional techniques and digital projects.

According to Statista, content marketing generated over $63 billion in revenue globally in 2022.

Even though they are already well-known brands, Nike and McDonald’s continue to spend millions each month on marketing. The best performers still promote their new albums before they are released, according to Simmonds.

“Marketing shouldn’t merely be considered an expense. It’s an expenditure. And if you make an investment that is based on a strategic strategy, it should pay off in the long run—possibly decades.

Blogging Is Not Extinct.

The most important conclusion is that, even though not every brand may benefit from every marketing strategy, blogs are unlikely to stop being useful to brands in the near future.

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