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The evolution of SEO and rise of Social Media have resulted in the need for constant content. The solution most people suggest is adding a “blog.” But what does that even mean? So many people give the recommendation to add a blog to an existing website without thinking the whole concept through or even knowing themselves what they mean when they say “add a blog.”

Regardless of if you’re coming from a SEO or Social Media background, as search marketers we need to think beyond the “blog” and actually suggest and help websites establish a true content creation strategy that has legs and can actually drive traffic/increase sales. The term “blog” is very dated in my opinion and really doesn’t give any direction. I’d even go as far to say that if you label your fresh, unique content a “blog,” you’re not properly communicating the true value of this content.

Think beyond the blog!

If you’re in any capacity to offer SEO and/or Social Media recommendations for a company, before the word “blog” ever leaves your mouth, you need to think through the following details:

The Competitive Content Market

–        Don’t just slap on a blog.

  • Analyze what sources of content already exist in the marketplace.
  • Analyze the in-house resources available to support this content creation.
  • Determine whether a continuous content strategy can be supported internally and be competitive in the industry.

The Larger Concept and Goal for Adding Constant Content

–        Don’t just do it just for SEO/Social Media purposes.

  • Figure out who will read/benefit from this content.
  • Establish how the brand will tie into this content.
  • Figure out what type of content is going to be produced (articles, infographic and/or videos, company news, industry news…or both!)
  • Determine who will produce/support this content.
  • Discuss what the unique selling point/POV of this content is going to be and how it will help it stand out from the rest.

How/Where the Content Will Live Within Your Existing Website?

–        Don’t just assume it all has to live in one place.

  • Figure out how to truly integrate this fresh and constant content within your site so that it doesn’t end up making your website lopsided; i.e. where all the fresh content can only be found within one section.
    • NOTE: in some cases it may actually be more advantageous to have the blog live on a separate domain. Although there is some SEO value to lose, a blog on a separate domain may allow for more open conversations/topics/debates than if it lived on the corporate website.
  • Determine technically how this content will be integrated.
    • You don’t always need to use WordPress. Although WordPress is a simple application to rely on, in some cases it can be limiting.
    • It may be more beneficial to create sub levels within your existing categories where this content will live and grow.

The Editorial Calendar

–        Don’t just regurgitate other people’s content/pull it out of you’re a**.

  • Plan out the basic themes of your content for the year.
  • Know the seasonality of your industry and your brand.
  • Figure out a plan to stay on top of industry news.
  • Make sure your content HAS A POINT!

The Voice/Personality Of This Content

–        Don’t just label a section “blog.”

  • Brainstorm branded / catchy names.
    • NO: Apartment Blog — YES:: Apartment Living
    • NO: Real Estate Blog — YES: Real Estate Tips & Trends
    • NO: Travel Blog — YES: Travel Advice for the Untraveled
  • Take an inventory of in-house expertise/passions.
    • Build authority through diverse authorship.
    • Have different people in the organization author specific topics they’re passionate about.

The Marketing Plan for This Content

–        Don’t just create it and expect people to come…You aren’t Kevin Costner.

  • Think about how to integrate it within existing marketing efforts where it makes sense.
    • Promote via existing promotional email strategy/email newsletter.
    • Push through social media channels.
    • Make select content visible from the home page.
    • Utilize paid channels.
    • Explore offsite options.

How This Traffic Will Convert

–        Don’t expect it to just convert.

  • Consider ways to cross promote your products/services within the page.
    • NOTE: Don’t oversell your products/services within this content; it will take away from the true value.
  • Consider what KPIs should be in place to track the success of this content.
    • Social signals.
    • Traffic data.
    • Sales increases within categories being written about.

Although I may be arguing semantics with my distaste for the term “blog,” I think my main issue is how cavalier the term is used. It’s been abused to the point where it’s become an empty vessel. So before you go marching to the VP of Marketing’s office with an idea for a “blog,” make sure you’ve thought everything through and present more than just a word. Present a strategy.

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