When marketers and small business owners consider blogging, they typically worry about added complexity. For a small team already managing many different channels and campaigns, content development can be a daunting undertaking.
It shouldn't be. A great business blog will actually help simplify your marketing program. Blogging is like elegant architecture -- it accomplishes multiple functional goals with minimal structural elements.
Consider an elegant building like the Hearst Tower in New York City. It manages to address various goals -- excellent workspace, environmentally sensitive construction and design, historic preservation and aesthetics -- with one simple, creative structure.
A business blog achieves elegance in the same way. It helps accomplish all of the goals listed below with a single thoughtful stream of content. A traditional marketing team would have to address each of these goals with a separate campaign:
1. Search Engine Optimization -- The best way to improve your SEO is to get more sites to link to your site. The best way to do that is to give people something remarkable to link to -- that means content, which means a blog.
2. Social Media Optimization -- If you're an active listener and contributor,it's not hard to build relationships on social media sites. But to get value out of these relationships as a business, you need to drive traffic back to your site from these sites. Your blog is the best way to do that.
3. Lead Generation -- This blog is one of HubSpot's most important sources of high-quality leads. People find this site because of the useful content, then they discover that we sell a related product. Many of those people request a product demo, and many of those people become customers.
4. Educational Value -- As part of the sales process, our sales team often needs to explain the inbound marketing vision. Fortunately, they don't spend too much time on that because the people who our sales team speaks with have read a lot about HubSpot and inbound marketing and understand its value based on what we've explained in webinars and blog articles like this one.
5. Thought Leadership -- Every business wants to be a thought leader. It's a cornerstone of an effective marketing program. If people know you're leading the development of your industry, they'll gravitate to your business. Today you can't be a thought leader if you don't have a blog. The blog is where thought leadership happens.
6. Nurturing -- Nurturing is a critical part of any sales cycle. It's the process of educating your prospects and building trust with them until they're ready to buy. There are a lot of complex, expensive software applications that focus on lead nurturing, but few are more powerful than a simple RSS feed or email subscription to a high quality blog.
7. PR -- If you're writing arduous, multi-page pitches for news organizations, you're wasting your time. You should put your time and energy into blog posts that share new data, break news or offer unique new advice, then share that post in a quick email with your contacts at news organizations.
8. Brand Building -- Today great brands are built by a company's product and content. For example, at HubSpot, content and marketing education is a big part of our brand. These values are communicated almost entirely through the advice, data and media we publish on this blog.
9. Recruiting -- To recruit top talent, you need to be able to communicate your company's values and vision clearly. You can do that in an interview, but you can do it with far more depth and nuance in a blog. As a prospective employee, I'd feel a lot closer to a company that I can understand through 300 high-quality blog posts than through a single About Us page.
10. Company Communication -- Many marketers overlook the internal value of a blog. If you want to make sure your entire company is up-to-date on domain knowledge and the current issues facing your industry, you should blog about them publicly. It's an elegant way of sharing information across your company.
Yesterday New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote about a Great Inflection in the U.S. economy. He described it as a "mass diffusion of low-cost, high-powered innovation technologies ...transforming how business is done."
Blogging is a powerful, elegant technology at the core of this Great Inflection Friedman describes -- and one of the techniques that will help your business get through the Great Recession we're in the midst of.