A big business marketing effort is usually the advertising equivalent of a “shock and awe” campaign: carefully integrated efforts across multiple media including television, billboards, magazines, web, social and mobile.
But small businesses — often constrained by their limits in time and money —are often put in situations where they have to pick and choose what they want to pursue. We eliminate mass media advertising (like television, radio and print) off the bat because there’s almost no way that small businesses can afford enough repetition in mass media to get any ROI. So that leaves word of mouth and online marketing as primary tools. But with limited time and money what can I accomplish? Do I do Search Engine Optimization or social media? Or start an email newsletter? Or write an eBook?
A lot of small businesses feel that they only have time and/or money to pursue one of these initiatives at once.
But what if you could do it all?
You can. And your blog can drive the entire machine.
Fundamentally, success in any online marketing initiative is all about content. Yes, there are still Search Engine Optimization (SEO) “Consultants” who will perpetuate the myth that SEO is based on the proliferation of secret keywords on your website and there are similarly devious so-called “social media experts” who will try to make you believe that success is all about how many followers you have. Both of these claims are 100% bull. The only way to find real, sustainable success in either of these initiatives is through the creation and sharing of original, high quality content. And the same goes for just about everything in the online marketing sphere. Writing and posting at least one 300-600 word blog post per week provides you with at least 1200-2400 words of quality content per month and 14,400-28,800 words per year. Those are valuable assets that can easily be leveraged for your benefit.
I use the graphic below in presentations to illustrate how blogging directly feeds or influences every online marketing initiative a company is likely to have.
Email Marketing: Most business owners will acknowledge how valuable an email newsletter can be to a marketing plan. But a lot of email marketing services encourage you to use these big, elaborate, magazine style newsletter templates that take forever to write and populate. A big fancy template is completely unnecessary and the more complicated the email, the less likely anyone is to read it. An easy and effective alternative is to use a simple template, lead with a nice personalized note about what you and your colleagues are up to and links to your best two or three blog posts from the month. Now your email is done and it only took you a few minutes thanks to blogging.
SEO: By now it should be no secret that Google loves seeing original, relevant content on websites. But it appears that now, more than ever, Google is weighing the frequency of those updates very heavily in their algorithm. But that’s an advantage, not a liability for me and other bloggers. Not only does blogging help us build PageRank (Google’s measure of trust/importance) but it also ensures that our websites are updated weekly and that our website will grow by 52 pages over the course of a year. SEO is a lot simpler thanks to blogging.
Social Media: The really successful people on social media aren’t the ones who necessarily have the most followers but the ones who contribute most to their followers through the sharing of high quality content and a unique perspective. A lot of business owners struggle with what they should talk about, where they should find conversation topics. But the good news is that blogging gives you a 300-600 word head start every week. Your social media strategy is a no-brainer thanks to blogging.
White Papers, eBooks + Presentations: When you’re creating a couple of thousand words of content each and every month, you’re not just creating blog posts, you’re creating building blocks which, with some editing, can be easily used to build other content. The white paper that takes you three months to write now gets done naturally as part of your weekly blogging effort. The creation of long-form content is now low-hanging fruit and NOT a herculean effort thanks to blogging.
Networking: Whether we’re talking about online or in-person networking, the ability to demonstrate value and the ability to follow-up are crucial. Blog posts make wonderful follow-ups and provide great context for anyone looking to do business with you whether as a client, vendor or referral partner. All your follow-ups just got easier thanks to blogging.
Landing Pages and Pay Per Click: I know what you’re thinking, “How will he possibly tie these efforts to blogging?” Easily. Success in AdWords is all about having a relevant offer and the ability to demonstrate value quickly. Blog posts yield eBooks and white papers, and eBooks and white papers are great tools to leverage in landing pages and AdWords campaigns. Your online advertising campaigns just got more meaningful thanks to blogging.
No, blogging is not a “silver bullet” — you still need to focus on these other initiatives and they will still take time and effort. But they will take significantly less time and effort thanks to blogging and there’s no other single initiative that can have the same impact on your strategy as a whole. So why not do it all? Blogging makes online marketing success achievable for small business in a way that no other investment can.