A good blog is a lot like a quality buffet: nobody will eat every single thing that's laid out on the line, but chances are, there's something for everyone. And usually, they'll come back for seconds.
Though a blog is usually one of the last things businesses think of to spend money on (after product and personnel), a good, well-organized, and relevant blog can be one of your strongest assets. Companies will spend thousands or even millions of dollars on traditional and digital media campaigns, running television spots and targeted advertising online - all of which can be hit or miss. For them, marketing is simply a numbers game: throw enough money at the problem and eventually something will stick.
Why not try a smarter approach? One that requires planning and creativity, and rewards you handsomely years down the road? For businesses that are considering investing in a blog, the question is simple: is it worth it? The answer is a resounding yes, as long as it's done properly.
The advantages of content marketing are numerous. Not only will you be able to position yourself as an industry leader by crafting relevant content that caters directly to your audience, but you'll also be able to attract new customers through increased traffic and turn those leads into sales. This is why, in part, the digital marketing industry is expected to balloon to over $300 billion before 2020.
Unfortunately, despite understanding the reasons that a content marketing strategy can help, nearly 65% of businesses simply believe it is too expensive. For the small business, this is a very real concern. On top of running the entire business - managing inventory, running payroll, and sweeping the floors - they then return home only to think about ways they can scale their business tomorrow. It's hard to be creative in an environment like that.
Instead of thinking that your business can't afford to develop content or that it is not worth your very valuable time and resources, content marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing vehicles you can create. A well-developed blog, for instance, can:
If you're strapped for cash but have a few hours every week that you can devote to writing, you should strongly consider writing the blog yourself. Not only will you be able to communicate exactly what and how you want to, but you'll also keep your pulse on the response from readers and on industry news as you convey it to your audience.
Create a specific page on your website solely for blogging purposes, but make sure it has the same root domain as your website so that people can find you and keep the traffic consistent to your overall site. Include this link on your social media pages, newsletters, etc, and encourage others to share it on their pages.
Depending on the size of your team, they may resist the idea of working on a blog since they're juggling other projects already, so make it easier by asking them to each write one article per month on their specific area of expertise. Gamify the process by rewarding the content that gets shared the most and drives the most traffic. For the ultimate incentive, allow the person that is writing content that day to work from home.
Conversely, if you have money to spend but no time to write content, you could always hire it out. There are several online marketplaces where you can find a freelancer, but be careful: the nature of these bidding websites is you're buying from the lowest bidder, which may mean a decrease in quality.Instead of fighting for scraps, look for quality freelancers through online portfolios or references from friends in the business. Once you've found a few candidates, look through their portfolio, discuss rates and contract terms and order a trial article from your top choices. Make sure your writers understand what your content goals are; the last thing you want is someone who is a great writer but inexperienced in your niche.
Content marketing doesn't have to be scary or expensive; with a little bit of planning and creativity, you can craft content that drives traffic and rewards your business with qualified leads that you can tap into for years. Furthermore, this could also be a great time to expand your own knowledge by writing the content yourself, grow your team by adding freelancers or bring your team closer together by engaging them in a common goal. No matter how you look at it, content marketing is a win for everyone.
About the Author:
Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can reach Ashley on Twitter @ashleygwilson.
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