Here we are at the beginning of a new year and many of you reading this article are most likely still struggling with the direction you plan to take with your marketing strategy. Here's a tip: If the investment in high quality, great content (written, video and audio) is not at the top of your priority list, then be prepared for another year of poor performing ads and declining website traffic.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation, as defined by HubSpot, is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your business, products, or services. These individuals or companies that have indicated interest are also commonly known as qualified leads.
"Do marketing" unto others as you would have marketing done to you.
This Golden Rule has never been more accurate with regard to the way companies should be connecting with prospects and customers today. So why aren't businesses doing it?
Once upon a time, law firms that served 60+ practice areas with dozens, or even hundreds of attorneys, were praised for their "Big Law" strength and power. These firms had all the resources and diverse expertise to tackle virtually any legal issue. Conversely, smaller and niche firms had trouble securing big clients and cases due to lack of exposure and the limited area of practice they covered.
After completing my recent article Inbound Methodology Is The Best Way To Build Trust, I got to thinking about industries that are still using outdated sales and marketing tactics and how companies within these industries need to rethink their content strategies in order to get results.
Every so often it's helpful to understand what certain "techie" internet-related acronyms stand for and why they might be of importance to you. Over time we take many of these acronyms for granted and don't give much thought to what they truly mean. However, with cyber security and data hacking becoming one of the biggest threats facing our country, it's time for all website owners to take action in 2017.
As I embark on my annual junket to Boston for HubSpot's massive and inspiring Inbound conference, I chose to postpone my article on Authenticity in favor of writing what I hope will be something that resonates with everyone.
Write what you know about -- write what you know about well! I always hear these words in the voice of my gifted friend Bruce Garrabrandt, author of 8 books and counting. It's so inspiring when he says those words, I have a vision of myself sitting with a fancy journal and ornate fountain pen in hand, under a tree, on a lovely Spring day, writing about all the wonderful things that swirl around in my head.
The reality, however, is me staring blankly at my computer screen, pulling my hair out as I suffer to write a simple, quality blog article for my website. I delete title after title and often walk away in frustration. In fact, the idea for this article came while driving around town after I scrapped 3 previous ideas and needed to take break.
What does blog mean?
The word "blog" is a truncated form of weblog which first appeared back in 1997. American blogger Jorn Barger coined the term weblog to describe the process of "logging the web" as he surfed. In 1999, Peter Merholz began using the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his weblog. Soon after, Evan Williams of Pyra Labs began using blog as both a noun and a verb, which is how we commonly treat the word today.
What is a blog?
A blog is a regularly updated website or web page that features articles written in an informal or conversational style. Blogs are intended to drive traffic to your website by attracting visitors to quality content they can relate to.
Why should you blog for your business?
According to HubSpot, nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes, and companies that blog regularly have 55% more website visitors.
Quality and compelling content will drive traffic to your website. Each time you write a new article and then share it to social networks to amplify your message, you've created one more indexed page on your site that search engines can serve up to those making related queries.
Blogging builds trust with your audience and helps to establish your authority as an expert in your field. Content writing service BlogMutt says, Establishing your authority goes well beyond throwing a post together and showing that you know what you're talking about. Even a great website and a strong social media profile won't be enough to establish authority alone.
Authority can be built through guest blogging, public speaking, and building a strong social media presence that encompasses a variety of channels. Building authority also means building your audience: bringing in and interacting with readers who care what you have to say and trust your opinion.
As your website traffic increases and you establish trust with your audience, you gain countless opportunities to convert these visitors into leads with free content offers in exchange for first name, last name and email address. Once you have this information, you've converted a visitor into a lead and can start the next action of inbound marketing, which is to nurture this lead and close it as a customer.
The longer-term benefits of blogging are amazing. While 90% of blog article traffic will decay over time, 10% have the powerful reverse effect of growing traffic over time and are thus called compounding blog posts. Compounding blog posts have the same extraordinary power that compound interest has in the investment world. These articles continue to resonate with readers and will be shared, rank higher in search results, drive more traffic and guarantee that your company will be highlighted as the creator of this amazing content.
What do companies think of blogging?
Based on 4,500 respondents, the following chart was taken from HubSpot's 2016 State Of Inbound Report. Note how most of the priorities require the development of quality content.
Thinking specifically about inbound marketing projects, what are your company’s top priorities?
I confess that I'm oversimplifying the process of blogging for business without offering all the related components that go into an effective blogging strategy. The purpose of this article is to show how incredibly important it is for companies to start prioritizing blogging as a critical element in their overall marketing strategy and that blogging should not be viewed as optional.
- Blogging drives traffic to your website
- Blogging establishes authority that you or your firm are experts in your field
- Blogging helps to convert visitors into leads
- Blogging provides ongoing, long-term benefits to keep your company relevant
If your company does not have a blog, or is not actively offering fresh content to your website visitors, there's no better time than the present to start. Blogging is not fad. It is a tried and true tactic that will help you to build a lasting brand through authority and authenticity.
It's quite possible that I might be one of the worst cold callers in the history of cold calling. I spent the better part of a 20 year career sick to my stomach each time I had to call on complete strangers and try to coerce them into buying my company's services and why I was the best man to sell those services to them. It was brutal.