At Brentwood Visual, we’re big on blogging. The blog is the single most useful tool in our marketing strategy, and the content created there is interwoven throughout your entire marketing campaign, from social media to improved SEO.
What's a Blog?
There’s a lot of confusion around the “blog” term. A lot of people associate a blog with their aunt who kept a “blog” of her trip to Europe, or the infamous bloggers we hear about who try to get White House press credentials.
A blog is simply an ongoing stream of content on your website. It can be written content, photo galleries, videos, infographics, and more. It can cover company or industry news, how-to tips, staff profiles, or dozens of other topics. The blog is a separate stream of content that is organized and navigated differently from the static pages that make up the rest of your site. Typically, the blog will include many of the features you see here on this page: author profiles, a comments section, topic tags, related articles, and more.
The magic of information
The typical business website includes information about that business. Hours of operation, services, staff… the standard stuff that we all expect. Very few websites take the time to educate their readers.
Education is exactly what your customers are after, though. Research shows that more than 70% of search traffic is focused on looking for information, rather than finding a specific business. Before the customer buys a product or hires a service provider, they want to learn a little bit.
Let’s take a pediatric dentist as an example. That dentist is a subject matter expert. Her target market is parents. Whether she realizes it or not, she has the answers to a lot of questions that parents are looking for answers to. When should my child have their first dental exam? Is ok for kids to have sugary sweets? When will my baby’s first teeth come in? When do I start brushing my child’s teeth? Is adult toothpaste safe for kids?
When the dentist takes the time to provide answers to these questions, rather than just focusing on recruiting new clients, she is positioned as the expert on the topic in the minds of those parents. This creates a phenomenon that we call Brand Authority. A parent searching for answers to these questions in the local area has a good chance of finding this dentist’s blog post. When they go there and read the information, that dentist is now positioned in their mind as an expert in the field of dentistry. When it’s time to choose a dentist for their child, this dentist is likely to be a the top of the list.
Brand Authority likely isn’t a one and done proposition. Very few readers are going to become customers after their first exposure. That’s why we encourage regular, repeated exposure to your content through social media, email marketing, and continued improved SEO.
It’s (not) hard!
Common reactions when we introduce the topic of blogging include: “My business is boring, nobody would read it”, or “I can’t think of anything to write about”.
Maybe they’re out there, but we have yet to find a business that hasn’t benefited from a business blog. No matter how boring you think your subject matter may be, your customer likely wants to educate themselves before buying. Being the source of that information can only bring you benefit.
When it comes to ideas, the hard part is getting started. Once you start writing, you’ll find the ideas begin to flow. Customers tend to have the same questions over and over. Write down the answer and put it on your blog! Ever find yourself explaining the same mistake your customers make over and over? Write it down! Once you start, you’ll find yourself coming up with ideas throughout the course of your day. Set up a spreadsheet or even a post-it note where you can write down the ideas and come back to them when you’re ready.
The most common problem with blogs is when the business starts posting, hits it really hard for a few weeks or months, and then gets burned out and drops it. There’s nothing worse than finding a new blog with some good information, and then realizing the last post is 2 years old.
This is where we can help. At Brentwood Visual, we meet with each of our marketing clients regularly to help plan and execute their strategy. We can help you set realistic goals for keeping your blog updated, recommend strategies to ease the impact, and even help with writing. In fact, Brentwood Visual produces 100% of the blog content for many of our customers. If you’re writing yourself, we provide the structure and accountability to make sure that content is delivered and published on time. We also identify and execute the ways we’re going to promote this new content both on and off of your website.
The idea of blogging is a bit intimidating to most businesses. The don’t have time, don’t think they could stick with it, don’t think anyone would read it, or don’t see the benefit. These are all valid concerns, and are some of the reasons why customers rely on us to help provide guidance, ideas, planning, and execution of their content strategy. Done right, the blog can be a major asset to your business that will increase visibility, position your brand in the eyes of your clients, and help your business grow!