Live For Five

Live For Five: Should You Have a Blog?

600 Million.

That's how many blogs there are out there, making up nearly one third of the internet's 1.7 billion sites.Even if you kick out the abandoned blogs and those that are half baked by the intern in back in 2016, it's still a lot of sites aiming to tell their brand story. For those not familiar, blogs are a regular series of original articles you share about topics relevant to your brand, whether company or an organization or an individual. Sometimes they are called Updates or Insights.If you are watching this, you are possibly wondering should you have a blog, too? Or maybe you want to know if your existing blog is worth the investment.

The thing is... blogs do work.

Data shows that most people do a little bit of research before making a purchase, whether for home or for work. Brands that blog generate 67% more leads. Blogs can yield THREE times the value of paid marketing. But if you have a blog or are looking to start one, you have one really important question to answer: why are you doing ablog?If your goal is to sell, great. Blogs have a great track record there, but writing the blog alone is not enough. You have to back it up with paid promotions and SEO placement to get it out there. If your goal is to connect to existing clients and expand credibility, great! This is also a great reason to have and develop a blog. You have to know what you are doing it for because most blogs run into three key problems not long after they come out of the gate:

First, no one is reading your posts.

If your goal is to sell, this is a problem. You likely have to consider investing more in advertising and paid SEO placement.If your goal is credibility, take a moment to find out your customer’s behaviors. Ask them through surveys and conversations if the content works for them. Here, quality over quantity matters. An influential client or donor that has a deeper understanding and appreciation of your service can be worth more than 1000 public lookey-loos.

The second problem blogs run into is how big of an investment they really are.

Small businesses and organizations are often working on tight staff budgets and high demands. Knocking out a few thousand words every month can add to an already overloaded plate. And if you add to that the art development and then ensuring distribution—those hours on social media and email communications all add up.If you have a blog, it’s worth assessing the impact of that investment. Look both at the time spent crafting articles but also getting the word out about them. If you are considering a blog, make sure you budget your time, staff time or a freelancer’s time.

The third big issue and most common is abandonment.

This may result from either of the issues mentioned before. Or it just comes from running out of things to say. If you don’t have a content plan, then the burden of developing new ideas can eventually drag down and drag out the time between posts.In some cases, those end up lost for years. When people are reviewing your brand or organization, a blog with the last update of 2018 can be a poor reflection of your ‘engagement’ or activity. In those instances, it is better to leave the posts live for any residual search engine value but remove them from your front page or navigation to avoid having your online identity look lapsed.If you are ready to have a plan, then review what resources you have available in alignment with your goals. If you publish twice a month as a way to connect with your audience, great. If you are more sales-focused, you might need to ramp that up with consumer-focused information supported with paid promotions. Either way, give yourself periodic reviews to make sure this path is right for you.

The three key takeaways:

  • First, Identify your audience and if a blog is an effective path to engage them
  • A blog is an investment of money, but also time and energy
  • Have a content plan in place with periodic reviews of metrics and effort
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