By Heidi Cohen published February 28, 2011

12 Reasons to Put Blogs at the Center of Your Content Marketing

Blogs are the optimal choice for your content marketing hub because they’re content chameleons combining the strength of social media with old-fashioned print-publishing functionality. The reality is that in today’s content-driven world, while you may view yourself as a marketer, you’re really a publisher.  You must provide relevant content for your prospects, customers and the public who – according to Ipsos’ research – spend over 10 hours a day consuming media.

From a marketing perspective, you need content at every step of the purchase process that educates and entertains without overtly promoting your offering.

According to research from Blog2Print’s Corporate Blog Survey (see the chart), one out of two companies view blogs as a cost of doing business, which is a weak rationale for a marketing initiative. These respondents are overlooking a blog’s capability to act as control center for their content marketing.

Are you looking to justify blogging in your company? Here are twelve points to consider. (Need help deciding what to put on your corporate blog, see these nine must-have company blog elements.)

1. Blogs are an easy-to-use CMS (aka content management system).
Blogs require limited training and/or technical skill to use while providing flexibility to update or modify content quickly. As an added bonus, blogs are inexpensive.

2. Blogs are part of a company’s owned media.
Blog content is owned by your organization and can be integrated into your website. Unlike other third-party and social media outposts, you don’t need to worry about whether they’ll disappear or go out of business. A blog can serve in lieu of a website.

3. Blogs provide branded context for your content.
As part of your firm’s owned media, blogs offer a branded context for your communications through the use of blog design elements that can be exported with the content. You can extend your brand without paying for third party media.

4. Blogs integrate your brand into your content marketing.
Beyond the blog’s branded context, blogs create a blog personality with a unique voice. They offer communications transparency and the opportunity to write in a conversational tone that makes your brand feel “human”. Just be sure to avoid content that is clearly self-promotional, and ensure your blog personality is integrated with your brand personality across other social media platforms.

5. Blogs enhance search optimization.
Though their keyword-rich content, architecture and cross-linking to other content on the Web, blogs support search optimization efforts. (Note: This assumes you’re using your own domain not a free third party blogging platform.)

6. Blogs are a 24/7 communication platform.
With increased need for real-time communications, blogs are a great place to quickly publish favorable content about your brand or respond to evolving issues. Plug-in software can automate your editorial calendar.

7. Blogs support an array of media formats.
For distributing branded content, blogs simplify the uploading and management of text, photographs, graphics, videos, audio, presentations and PDFs. When creating offline content and events, consider what kind of online content can go on your blog.

8. Blogs facilitate content distribution through multiple channels.
Blogs can expand your message delivery through email and RSS feeds at no additional cost. Blog posts can also be automatically collected into email digests.

9. Blogs supply content for social media interactions.
Blog content is currency for social media engagement on social sharing sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to include icons and tailored calls-to-action. (Remember, these shares translate to earned media impressions (aka free.))

10. Blogs provide a targeted location to direct prospects and customers.
With a URL or QR code you can direct prospects, customers and the public to your blog from other forms of content marketing. This gives you a way to connect the various components across platforms.

11. Blogs are flexible enough to support diverse initiatives.
Blogs can help companies achieve a variety of corporate goals, such as providing product-related content, answering customer questions, attracting new prospects and hosting an executive platform.

12. Blogs provide metrics that you can use to track content marketing to business goals.
As with any business strategy, it’s critical to monitor your progress. There are a variety of metrics to assess your blog’s effectiveness.

Putting a blog at the center of your content marketing strategy is a sound idea. It provides a branded environment that’s optimal for your content and aligned with your corporate goals. Even better is the flexibility that blogs provide and their ability to be integrated into your social media strategy.

How do you feel about using a blog as the center of your content marketing strategy? Are there any other points that you’d add to this list? If so, please include them in the comment section below along with your rationale.

Author: Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is an actionable marketing expert. As president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi works with online media companies and e-tailers to increase profitability with innovative marketing programs based on solid analytics. During the course of 20 years, Heidi has obtained deep experience in direct and digital marketing across a broad array of products including soft goods, financial services, entertainment, media entities and crafts-oriented goods. Heidi shares her actionable marketing insights on her blog. Find Heidi Cohen online at Twitter @heidicohen, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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  • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

    Heidi,
    Great post! Heartily agreed. Point 9 sticks out especially as something I see in my work every day. Often, people come to the company I work for asking for help with social media. Generally, we point them to this post on our blog to argue for content marketing, and blogging, as the hub of social media. Sure, B2C marketing can get away with social media sans blogging/content marketing. But B2B social media marketing without a blog often falls flat.

    Thanks for another post to point em’ to!

    • http://HeidiCohen.com Heidi Cohen

      Tracy–Thank you. Regardless of what type of marketing you’re doing, B2C, B2B or branding, blogs should be at the heart. In today’s world, content is currency for social media. B2B companies are more used to supplying it in the form of traditional white papers. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.jesseluna.com jesseluna

    Heidi,
    I agree that blogs should be a “home base” for companies that are trying to connect with the social web. It’s a bridge between social media and print publishing but it’s also a key technology. Blogs are great at attracting search traffic and funneling it to key actions and of course to starting a relationship with interested visitors. For many companies, they’ve been using paid ads (like Google AdWords) to accomplish this technology function. Blogs can help with that effort and, in many cases, replace it.

    • http://HeidiCohen.com Heidi Cohen

      Jesse–I agree. If for no other reason, using a blog as the center of your CMS, helps provide a base for your SEO efforts that content marketers may overlook. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://twitter.com/JeffKryger Jeff Kryger

    Excellent post! I certainly agree that blogs make a perfect hub for all of the rest of your online/social media efforts. It’s nice to have all the reasons why in one place (I especially agree with #5 and #9) Thanks!

    • http://HeidiCohen.com Heidi Cohen

      Jeff–Agree blogs should be at the heart of your social media marketing as well. They’re great social media content that’s search friendly. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonmikelbailey Jon-Mikel Bailey

    I couldn’t agree more. I just did a seminar on blogging for small businesses in the Baltimore area. I think the number one concern that most businesses have about blogging is coming up with the content itself. Most businesses need to get away from the idea of blogging as a job and think of it as a necessary marketing tool. Great post!

    • http://HeidiCohen.com Heidi Cohen

      Jon-Mikel — Totally agree. Marketers need to approach blogging as if they’re creating marketing content as a publisher. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.cesarz Kevin Cesarz

    Thanks Heidi for fighting the good fight. Blogs are most worthy, but they’re hard. Hard to maintain, hard to create content for (good content), hard to make visually stimulating. But the payoff! Many businesses would rather widget the bejesus out of a landing page and walk away thinking they’re using social media and creating content – bonus! Keep reminding people to not just create, but to create good stuff.

    • http://HeidiCohen.com Heidi Cohen

      Kevin– You’re right. At the center of strong blogging is strong content. Not a rehash of your marketing materials or the top columns of the week, real honest to goodness content. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.inflectionmethods.com Joel Capperella

    It is an inclusive list Heidi. I personally think (and have had success with) item 10 (Blogs provide a targeted location to direct prospects and customers). In fact I would go a little further in saying that blogs provide the sales force with a nearly limitless supply of content to help nurture leads, prospects and customers alike. For organizations that are still hesitant to dive into blogging (or SM in general) this can be an excellent reason to start in my opinion.

    Once again good post, the content strategy discipline continues to evolve, value added perspective like this is always helpful in my opinion.

    • http://HeidiCohen.com Heidi Cohen

      Joel-Thank you for the wonderful compliment! Marketers must think across the organization when they’re looking to create strong, useful content. What questions are your customers asking? Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.verticalmeasures.com Arnie Kuenn

    12 great points. Hubspot has done a bunch of research on this topic, so your readers might want to check out their site for some stats. Here are 4 that I use a lot in my presentations.

    If you have a blog on your website domain…
    – You have 434% more indexed pages
    – You have 2X as many backlinks
    – Your site gets 55% more traffic
    – You have 79% more Twitter followers

    • http://HeidiCohen.com Heidi Cohen

      Arnie–Thank you for sharing these facts. I would always recommend that clients host a blog on their own domain. It’s definitely the way to go for search optimization. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen.

  • http://twitter.com/CodrutTurcanu Codrut Turcanu

    Heidi, I think you said it best: “Blogs supply content for social media interactions.” Most people don’t know that blogging is the ideal 2.0 platform and when used right, it can turn into the megaphone your readers and customers would grab to rave about you.

    You might like to create a post on this subject alone…

  • John Carroll

    I just started a blog to build my personal brand and stimulate my PR business. However, I am blogging thru Google’s blogger, which I suppose would be considered a “free third-party blogging platform.” So does that mean I am not doing myself any favors in search engine optimization?
    Thanks,
    Beginning blogger in Georgia.

  • http://www.lauriehurleyonline.com Laurie Hurley

    Great article. As a Blogging Coach for the Social Networking Coaching Club, it’s amazing how many people don’t realize the strength of their own voice and personality, which is what attracts people to your company, regardless of whether one is a small startup, or a major corporation.

  • http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog Jill Tooley

    I love blogging because it gives our company a voice that we may not ordinarily have from a website alone. By sharing content through our corporate blog, we’re humanizing our brand and giving customers a chance to see who’s behind that mysterious curtain. It’s tough nowadays to do business with online companies you know nothing about…but it’s definitely easier if you know a bit more about who you’re dealing with! :)

    Thanks for the great post, Heidi!

  • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

    Here’s a graphic that I think illustrates some of the points of your blog-centric marketing strategy. http://www.clickz.com/IMG/205/159205/massey-volcanoe.jpg?1296506726 from “The Geology of a Content Marketing Strategy” http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2015807/geology-content-marketing-strategy

  • Janet Osterdock

    Another sensible article – thank you, Heidi! 

  • http://www.seoranksmart.com/ shelin

    I recently began to follow your blog and you are helping me a great deal in getting my arms around the concept of Content Marketing. Thank you and keep the informative posts coming.