Published by Simon Brooks on 28th July 2013 | Blog Creation

Blogging: promotion without advertising

When we produce our weekly or monthly SEO blog articles for our clients, we’re often asked why we don’t try harder to make them more ‘promotional’ in tone.

Isn’t a blog’s purpose to sell? To promote? To advertise?

Indirectly maybe. But a blog on its own will not necessarily drive the reader to make an enquiry. It has done its job if it’s appeared on the radar of your community and done anything to inform or challenge.

Not everyone who comes across it will read. And though readers can comment or contact on the back of it, they probably won’t take any action as a direct result of reading it.

It’s best to see a blog as a single strand in a larger marketing tapestry, and – if nothing else – as an extremely important component of a website SEO strategy.

Everything else is a bonus.

What is a blog?

A blog is an ‘informal editorial’ where someone with an expert or authoritative view on a topic gets to share their knowledge in a helpful, engaging and ultimately useful way. Sometimes a blog can present facts e.g. solid evidence of a technical trend e.g. marketing budgets increased by 20% in 2012; other times it may offer fact-based guidance or advice on how to do something e.g. 5 ways to get started with SEO; at other times the blog may simply be ‘my view of the world’ – or ‘this is how I see it’. Bigger companies often empower multiple members of staff to blog.

What subject matter should it cover?

Blog topics, whilst aiming to be informative and helpful, are also a vehicle for ‘showing off’. By demonstrating your knowledge in Social Media, you can build authority as a trusted expert – which is useful for you if you happen to make money out of social media marketing services!  By publishing a well-written, incisive a blog which addresses the topic, for instance with the title “4 Ways To Measure ROI on Your B2B Social Media Budget” you are by definition assuming a higher position of authority.

What about tone of voice?

With blog writing, just as with any form of content writing, the tone of voice needs to be pegged at the right level to engage the intended audience. We may choose to make it informal, avoiding specialist jargon and keeping it nice and simple or even chatty.  Or it could be more challenging and provocative.  Once you read through it, above all, it has to be credible, plausible and convincing.

How is a blog used?

A blog is always posted on a dedicated blog page or on a News and Articles page. They rarely appear in printed form or in corporate stationery. Once posted, your blog should be properly keyword optimised for the subject area you have written about. It can be promoted by pushing relevant updates out via your social media channels, and via outbound email newsletters and email campaigns.

Should a blog be promotional?

In order to be of genuine ‘use’ to people, your blog should avoid being openly ‘promotional’, and instead be more objective. Its purpose is to express a view that may be useful, interesting and relevant for a target audience. Nobody will read it if they think they are being sold to. This said, it may be appropriate to ‘weave in’ a mention of a company, product or service, but only very sparingly and possibly only at the end.

What effect will the blog have?

Your blog readers (who are by definition visitors to the website) could be at any stage of their buying process. Timing is important, but if your readers like (are engaged by) what you’ve offered, they will now ‘be aware’ of you and your company as an expert authority in your field. They may share your blog, or subscribe to receive your future blogs.

Even if they are not in the market for a purchase right now, if you’ve appeared on their radar for a moment, your blog has done its job.

Whichever way you look at it, the blog article is a small piece of the jigsaw which completes the integrated picture. Want to know more about integrated, joined up marketing? Talk to C4B Media on 01223 750236 or drop us a line.

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