How blogging can be an effective marketing asset

Robin Collyer, regional director for UK & International at Aprimo, takes a look at why more marketers need to broaden their scope of blogging.

Robin Collyer
Robin Collyer

Blogging has certainly captured the imagination of the business community, with a recent survey by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealing that roughly 50% of companies are now using blogs.
We’ve seen how every day people have established themselves as thought leaders through the blogosphere. This alone is enough to capture most people’s fantasy of attaining their 15 minutes of fame. From a business point of view, regularly posting valuable and insightful information on your blog is a great way of building credibility and establishing yourself as an expert in your subject area, and therefore ensuring that you gain great value out of blogging.

However, it’s hard to make someone a popular blogger. It takes a combination of vision, time, writing skills and luck. As a result, many marketers rate blogging poorly for its return on investment. The study conducted by the ANA, which was published in October 2009, shows that only 12% of the companies that use blogs placed it in their “top three” for effectiveness among new media platforms.

Whilst regularly updating blogs with information on industry issues or product updates will give traffic levels to your website a real boost, there is an aspect of blogging that is not as obvious and all too often overlooked. An even more effective way to drive traffic to your site is to use strategic keywords and links to specific sales pages within your blogs to dramatically improve the search engine rankings of both your blog and your main website.

Search engines look for content, and blogs provide relevant and recent content. Combining this with a strong keyword strategy makes blogging another great way to drive traffic to your brand and products. Not only that, blogging can support a lot more keywords than your website. So, you can expand your reach in organic search to a larger collection of keywords that are relevant.

However, managing a number of bloggers and making sure they are covering the right keywords can be a challenge for marketing departments. How do you maintain some degree of control over what people are saying on behalf of your company, while also allowing them the freedom to express their opinions and, well, truly blog?
Recognising this problem, Aprimo has augmented its integrated marketing software to address the demands of online marketing. Aprimo Marketing Studio On-Demand, amongst other things, now incorporates a blog management system. This feature allows users to establish company blog sites and distribute blogging permissions while also maintaining an optional centralised review process to ensure everyone is staying within defined boundaries.

There is also a heat map to help bloggers know when they are blogging on the important keywords. This allows you to enable your employees to “find their inner blogger” while also directing their efforts to improve your position in organic search. Posting of blogs is handled automatically by the system so you can create blogs for individuals and for your keywords. This allows blogs to be both aligned by your employees and the key words that people are entering in search engines, maximising your search engine rankings further. My own efforts have already delivered 1st page google rankings in just a few weeks.

Blogging is fast becoming an extremely important strategy for any online marketer. Starting a blog can take as little as five minutes but turning your blog into a strategic tool that drives traffic and sales to your business is a completely different matter. The benefits of blogging are widely acknowledged, such as the ability to build your credibility, humanize your business, improve your customer service and promote your products and services. However, using strategic keywords and links is one of the most effective ways of driving business to your site and is often overlooked. Identifying how you can improve your position in organic search should always be at the forefront of any marketers’ mind when executing a campaign.

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