You've heard the expression "everything old is new again." Born in the 1990s, blogging began as the purview of teens and techies who wanted to keep a digital journal of their lives. Platforms like Open Diary, LiveJournal and Blogger were created to make the process easier.
Political blogs came to prominence in the late 90s, thanks to the likes of Andrew Sullivan, Wonkette, and Little Green Footballs. Howard Dean's 2003 presidential campaign was largely fueled by a blog that contained daily marching orders for his volunteers.
It took a few more years before blogging reached the business mainstream. A May 2005 cover story by Businessweek writer Stephen Baker declared "Blogs Will Change Your Business."
At this point, where blogging is concerned, you might say the rest is history.
However, the advent of social media sent blogging into the digital Dark Ages and it's taken changes to Google's algorithm (famously known as Penguin and Panda) to spark a resurgence and renaissance.
The yin-yang relationship between blogging and social media is now well established; blogging forms the core of an integrated content marketing strategy, around which social media is a distribution channel and added layer. But why is blogging good for the marketing soul? Here are five reasons.
1. Blogs are SEO Gold
Think of the word BLOG as an acronym for "Better Listings On Google." When routinely updated and keyword optimized, especially when tied to Google Authorship, blogs can lead to improved SERPs and form the basis for a comprehensive SEO strategy.
2. Blogs Establish Thought Leadership
I'm reminded of something Rick Short, director of marketing communications for electronic assembly manufacturer Indium, once said about thought leadership: "Being a thought leader is considered the best, most authoritative, trusted source." Short attributes his company's intensive use of blogs as the path to achieving status as an industry leader.
3. Blogs Generate Brand Awareness
In his book Get Slightly Famous, author Steven Yoder said that blogs provide a way to differentiate yourself from the competition and position your focused message in the hearts and minds of target customers. It can become a serialized "position paper" that demonstrates an organization's unique value proposition.
4. Blogs Attract Media Attention
Journalists rely on bloggers for source material. Public relations professionals depend on bloggers to shed light on breaking client news. And while repeated pitches or interview requests may become unwelcome, it lends credibility to the fact the blogger is (or can be) a trusted resource.
5. Blogs Build Bonds
Copyblogger's Brian Clark said this about the relationship building power of blogs: "When you consistently deliver valuable content that informs while demonstrating your expertise, people naturally learn more about you and feel an actual bond." In today's social media influenced economy, trust (and the subsequent bond that stems from it) is perhaps the most valuable currency, and is something blogs can help accumulate.
These five reasons lend credence to my belief that blogging's heyday is still ahead. Hopefully, they are enough to convince you of its continuing value, as well.
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Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Paul Chaney is principal of Chaney Marketing Group, a boutique agency that provides integrated online marketing solutions built on the concept that quality, optimized content framed within the proper context drives sales conversions.
He is a freelance writer, popular speaker, and author of four books on the topics of business blogging, social media, and social commerce. His latest is "The Social Commerce Handbook: 20 Secrets for Turning Social Media into Social Sales," published by McGraw-Hill.
Paul sits on the board of advisors for the Women's Wisdom Network, the Social Media Marketing Institute, SmartBrief on Social Media, and MyVenturePad.com.
March 19, 2014