The day has finally arrived: when we address the topic of blogs, via a blog. Sure, at first I was slightly intimidated by the self-referential nature of this task. We’ve all seen movies about movies and read books about books, to mixed reviews. But as someone entrenched in content, if there’s one thing I know, it’s what a blog is and, more importantly, what a blog isn’t. As meta as this is, let’s dive in.
What a blog isn’t:
A sales pitch.
Your blog is not the place to overtly sell your product or service. Sure, in some form, every piece of marketing works to convert your audience subconsciously — but on your blog, this is a careful dance. Nobody wants to click what they think will be some interesting reading material and instead get served a sales pitch. Educate and entertain your audience first, establish trust and credibility, and work on selling them later.
Solely SEO fodder.
Okay, this one is tricky because it is partly true. We all know that having more content on your website will increase your searchability and rank you higher on Google. But, let’s be honest: People can smell an SEO farm a mile away. And it’s a bad smell. It’s blatantly obvious when a website’s blog solely exists to boost its search rankings and if you’re churning out a bunch of keyword-packed posts just for the SEO, people will know.
Another thing on the to-do list.
Your weekly or monthly blog post may have become yet another thing you feel like your company has to do. And so, you might find yourself staring at the screen until you eventually crank out 500 words of directionless fluff and call it a day. We see it all the time, and we’ll tell you now: Quality over quantity, baby. While your blog shouldn’t permanently reside on the back burner, don’t sacrifice your credibility (or waste your own time) trying to meet a quota.
What a blog is:
A home for relevant news, updates, and information.
This one is pretty basic, but this is what your blog is at its core. Your blog is a convenient location for all of the information you want to share with your current audience. It is light, bright, and skimmable. It gives you something to link to in those social media posts and eblasts. But don’t get it twisted; much like that chair covered in clothes in your bedroom, a blog can all too easily become a place to pile all of the content and information that you don’t know what to do with. Post with purpose.
A way to establish yourself early in the sales pipeline.
When it comes to new audiences and prospective customers, your blog is often your personal introduction. Let’s say a prospect somehow stumbled on your website, and they meander on over to “Blog” right after checking out “About” (which happens to be my personal path of preference). Will they see what you want them to see? At a glance, your blog should demonstrate your expertise, your work, and your authentic self in a series of neat, skimmable packages. Make a solid first impression.
A microphone for your brand voice.
When it comes to expressing yourself, think of your blog as your safe space. Your zen garden. Your cozy abode, nestled in a corner of your website where your brand can truly be itself. There are fewer constraints than other marketing mediums and, while you don’t want to get carried away reliving your LiveJournal days, blogs offer a unique opportunity to leave it all on the court when it comes to establishing and reaffirming your tone of voice.
While I acknowledge that I — a content marketer who is literally writing a blog post at this very moment — may be somewhat biased on the “Are blogs still relevant?” argument, I can honestly say that blogs are just as alive as ever, so long as you’re using them to your advantage. Keep it real, keep it relevant, and please for the love of all that is sacred keep your blatant SEO buzzwords out of it.