The first basic argument for your company blog: Content marketing is the future of successful brand communication! Because user and media consumption behavior are changing. 94% of customers today obtain information online from various sources before making a purchase. The ideal ratio between helpful and sales content is 8:2.
These changes can also be observed in B2B marketing: Relevant content becomes more critical every year. Companies increasingly do their research and rely more and more on "content" as a basis for decision-making.
B2B buyers, in particular, now expect easy access to important information. They want coherent information packages and relevant content. (Source: Martin Ortgie's "Demand Gen, 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report") Blogs are a central component in this decision-making process and the most important medium for decision-makers: 82 percent of marketers gain new customers through regular blogging. Are you one of them?
A company blog is an essential part of your content marketing. It is the "home" for all your valuable content — a central place you have control over. Here you can measure, analyze and optimize all activities. This is important to ensure the success of your marketing.
But what good is the best content if nobody reads it? This is where other channels and platforms come into play - social media, for example. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can be used as multipliers for your content. By preparing your content for the respective channel, you can gain a wide reach and fans for your brand - and then refer them to the content of your corporate blog.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a communication and marketing strategy in which a company provides high-quality and relevant information. This content can be entertaining, informative or advisory. The decisive factor is that it addresses the needs and problems of the target group. With the right content, brands can demonstrate their competence and know-how, provide information about their products and services and turn customers into regular readers - which strengthens the loyalty of customers and trust in the brand.
Each social network has different advantages and characteristics. There is the espresso bar Twitter, which is based on short messages with news characters. If you publish your content here, it should have a current reference. At best, you address users directly or quote someone who is a regular guest in the bar.
Instagram is more like a gallery. Users present visual content, images and videos. These also have descriptive text, but this is more for keywording and detailed information. If your content wants to be included here, you need high-quality visuals.
Of course, there are countless other places, from mum's meeting place Facebook to the schoolyard Snapchat. For each channel, you should prepare and optimize your content well. But the goal must be to bring your customers and readers to your home. Because there you can tell them your story and get into a conversation with them. If they like it, they will come back. At the same time, you are less dependent on the moods, trends and costs of distribution channels.
Another important reason for you to blog is the ROI of your corporate blog.
In traditional marketing you can see a direct connection between your costs and the reach of your measures. Just think of an advertisement you place in a magazine. This is associated with high, one-off costs (from the creation of the texts and graphics to the printing data and processing of the ad booking, to printing costs and distribution). Depending on the circulation, you can reach a large number of people. But only once! With the next issue at the latest, your ad will be a thing of the past. Besides, you have little or no success control and measurability in traditional media.
With a blog, it's different. You invest money every month for your internal editorial staff and hosting. But once published, your article will always remain visible online. Your blog then helps you with search engine optimization, shows your expertise and ensures that readers still have contact with your brand. This way your blog becomes more valuable with every single article. It has a good return in the form of permanent customer contact, recurring visitors and a central basis for your inbound marketing.
What is ROI?
ROI is the abbreviation for the English term 'Return on Invest' and describes an entrepreneurial key figure from when an investment pays off. To define the ROI for your marketing activities, you need to be clear about your goals and strategy.
This makes your company blog to the central element of your content marketing, which you can use without any budget for advertising agencies, service providers or media services. And these were by no means all the advantages of a corporate blog ...
Search engines prefer websites that regularly offer new and unique content. Sites with blogs are therefore better indexed and appear further ahead in the search, e.g. in Google rankings. And that's where you want to go! Because websites with blogs register up to 55% more visitors than sites without a blog. In short: a blog makes it faster and easier for customers to find you.
As mentioned in the beginning, most consumers today trust a search engine to find information about a product or service before they buy it. So if you address your customers' needs on your blog and provide the appropriate information, you position yourself as a solution provider - and customers will visit your site. That way you increase your brand awareness and reach.
To blog about a topic, you need to be proficient in it. Even more: even if you write about your job you've been doing for years, you'll think differently about your tasks, procedures and results when you have to explain it to others - in a blog article. I know from my own experience that you learn something new when writing each blog article. Are there other methods, strategic basics or simply quotes and key figures from the market. In this sense, blogging is a self-fulfilling prophecy: The more you write about a topic as an expert, the better you will become in this area!
To run a successful blog, you need clarity about what topics and values you and your brand stand for, what you offer your readers and what positions you take. These decisions sharpen your profile, both as an author and as a brand, and help you to position yourself more clearly. You can also use these insights into your sales and brand communication.
A regularly maintained blog is a valuable knowledge base - for your customers and your colleagues! Blog content can be used as the basis for numerous formats such as FAQs, presentations or other publications. It is also a place where you or your team can gather and manage expertise. Thus, good articles become relevant for your knowledge management or as an "almanac" for new colleagues.
Your blog of course provides useful content - but it can also be a playground where you can try out new solutions and products. You can quickly test how potential and real customers (your readers) react to ideas, concepts or solutions if you present them as content pieces on your blog. With your readership you have a valuable audience for these tests and feedback.
Right, blogging is not PR. But unlike news and press releases, useful blog articles have much longer visibility and therefore a higher reach and the possibility to be published and shared on numerous channels. And that without media costs for placement or purchased reach.
A blog offers you new possibilities to get closer to your customers. Instead of neutral corporate communication, customers come into contact with the opinions and texts of real employees. If you address the needs of your readers and offer them relevant content, this also strengthens their trust in you as a brand. If you know how to help your customers, you inspire confidence.
Blogposts may transport opinions. They should! Successful blogs do not live from always confirming the view of the readers. Dialogue and discussions create an even closer bond with your readers in the long run. So offer them the opportunity to enter into dialogue with you, e.g. through comments or ratings.
Your blog is not a sales tool but is used for conversation and storytelling. Nevertheless, your corporate blog is an excellent opportunity for demand management in the information and decision-making phase of your customers. A helpful or interesting blog article that has attracted the attention of your customers can be a way to generate leads. For example, include a form where contact information can be left or offer a white paper for download. Make sure that your offer for lead generation fits the topic and the needs of your readers.
As already mentioned at the beginning of the article, information behavior is changing in the direction of research and information search by the customer. In return, your blog naturally offers the optimal opportunity to get in touch with new customers without any sales measures. The relevant article addresses the customer's question or problem and you will be perceived as a competent brand. This is how you win new customers for yourself ...
Of course, you define a strategy for your blog. This strategy defines your goals and topics, but also the style, the address and the tone of your blog. In this way you show personality with every post and can convey something of the culture and values your brand stands for. This makes your marketing blog a valuable branding and brand building tool that can add character and employee voices to your brand.
Okay, let's recap for a second: Your customers start researching and are looking for suitable solutions online. To do this, they use search engines in which the companies can be found that provide relevant and user-friendly content (≠Werbung). This means that your content marketing has immense potential in terms of attention and customer acquisition. A company blog is the most important component of this marketing strategy. It provides SEO, branding, reach, trust and offers numerous other opportunities for your brand. So what are you waiting for?
Start your blog, start writing and stay tuned. I can promise you it'll be worth it!
What are your experiences with corporate blogs? Do you have favorite blogs you want to share with us? Or do you already have a company blog that you would like to present here? We are curious… Write us on Twitter at @storylinerlabs
With his passion for design and storytelling, he turns digital products into strong brands and finds the right tone in communication.