Launching a corporate blog in 2016 was an interesting experiment. We had to decide how frequently we would post, who would contribute, and how it would help establish our thought leadership. Two years into the experiment, our marketing distribution list had grown by 300%, our web traffic grew as well, and our bounce rate lowered by 40%.
For perspective 2014, when I first joined a national trade association as a content marketer, we had no blog and only a minor social media strategy. This national trade association had just celebrated 30 years of its industry. In place of a blog they had a content aggregator telling other people's stories. The problem with this is that this is an organization with a story to tell. They excel in research, advocating for low-income investment, and hosting events for a dynamic and growing field. Yet up to this point they relied almost entirely on emails to send out updates. Without a blog, we were missing a huge piece of the puzzle.
One hurdle to overcome was to accept that, at times, this experiment would be a work in progress. That is the beauty of the internet, you can make mistakes, try new things, and correct them. Sure someone might screen grab that mistake and pester you with it for the rest of your life, but the chances of that actually happening are few and far between...unless you are in Hollywood. But the experiment allowed us to flex our creative muscles and find the cadence that worked for us and our audience. As a bonus it also helped inform our social media strategy and gave us a space to produce timely, relevant content.
So my case study aside, why else do you need a blog:
Demonstrate your thought leadership. In fact, it's demonstrating mine right now! Blogging is the proof in the pudding that you know what you are talking about beyond the fancy marketing jargon you have peppered all over your home page. It forces you to dig deeper and come up with something interesting that resonates with your audience.
Feed your content marketing engine. It's not enough to just have a website, you must have content to churn out across your social media, newsletters, and other outbound marketing efforts. A good blog marketing plan can fill your outbound marketing calendar with relevant, timely information that continues to nurture your relationship with your audience.
Leverage your connections . Especially for a new business, a blog is a space where your network of influencers can actually do you some good. Rather than just an ephemeral product plug, a guest blog post can help you reach new audiences and provide your growing audience with more reasons to return.
Tell your story. Share your successes, your business impact, and humanize your organization with a blog that is more than transactional. By blogging you get to write about why you do what you do, how you do it, and who you have the pleasure to work with. It's also a great way to give your employees a chance to shine. At OFN we encouraged all staff to contribute on the blog which served to build their credibility in the industry and allowed them to share their unique insights and perspectives with our audience. Win-win.
Support a strong SEO strategy: Blogs keep your website content fresh, allowing you to inject relevant keywords in an authentic way. You can't just stuff keywords on a blog, of course, but you can use the opportunity to hit on some longtail keywords that are relevant to your audience, provided your content supports the headline.