Blogs made their first appearance in the 1990s and have continued to change and develop over the past 25 years. What started as a platform for sharing personal thoughts and opinions has since transformed into a powerful marketing tool that businesses can use to attract customers. But as attention spans grow seemingly shorter, what are people looking for in blogs? What can we expect the future of blogging to hold?
Businesses that use blogs understand that their customers want to have the power to make their own purchasing decisions, and use blogs as a tool to inform their audience, to offer answers to questions, and to find solutions to common problems. Blogs are great for generating organic traffic to your website as they allow you to include rich keywords that people may be searching for on search engines. If your blogs include important keywords, reputable backlinks, and a conversational tone, you're already on the path towards creating SEO-friendly content.
Marketers who currently write blogs see them as a powerful way to get people to come to their website to find information about a wide variety of topics. But marketers also recognise that Google's algorithms are always changing, so what may rank highly one day may rank lower after the next algorithm update. Because exactly how Google works is proprietary, SEO isn't an exact science, and often marketing bloggers are left experimenting to see what gets them the best results.
A great blog, in essence, needs to be a deep resource of informative content that strives to understand exactly what the customer needs, and how you can answer their questions. You need to create content that shows off your authority and expertise in your industry, so people will come to trust what you have to say. Despite modern attention spans being short, long-form content proves to be the most effective at driving traffic, with blog posts that have more than 2000 words ranking higher than shorter posts.
Blogging today is not as easy as it was a decade ago, but this doesn't mean that blogging is dead. There is so much competition in today's blogosphere that it's getting more and more difficult to rank highly on Google. And with Google's algorithms favouring big blogging names like Medium, is the effort worth it? The truth is, worldwide demand for content is increasing. People like to consume content from their favourite brands. But you need to get people interested in your brand first.
Blogs are still important because they can better prove your authority in your industry. While people may not subscribe to dozens of blogs like the used to ten years ago, blogging is still an essential piece in any content marketing strategy. Use it as a platform for thought-provoking, interesting pieces - things that your readers want to delve into and take the time to read. A blog is no longer a place to plant generic, boring, keyword laden articles. This doesn't drive organic traffic like it used to. Instead, a blog is a great place to show off real knowledge.
Customers today are looking for brands that align with their personalities and personal values. Once you get a great picture of what your audience looks like, you can use your blog as a tool to show people your brand and connect with them on a level that's a little deeper than social media or email. You can use all these tools in conjunction to craft a great marketing plan that gets your business the attention it needs to make an impact.
If you have an already established blog on your business's website that gets traffic and attracts readers, that's great. Keep doing what you're doing! But if you're looking to start a blog for your business from scratch, it's important to take a close look at how it can align with your marketing strategy. What kind of content is your audience looking for? What questions do they have that you can answer with your content? Creating a well-rounded mix of blogs, video, social media can help you reach a wide audience.
Building a brand that is consistent across all channels is more important than ever. Focus on making your voice clear and your values apparent no matter what kind of content you're posting and what platform you're posting it on. This means that social media posts, blog content, newsletters, etc, should all sound like it's coming from a unified, trustworthy source.
Using sites like Medium for blogging in addition to having a blog on your website can be helpful too since these platforms are already primed for SEO. You can use platforms like these to drive more traffic to your site and increase your audience. With these platforms, it's easy to format and publish content quickly and get it in front of a lot of eyes. However, remember that when you use third-party platforms to publish your content, it can sometimes be removed without warning. When you host content on your site, it belongs to you and you have the control over it.
Blogging is undoubtedly changing as competition ramps up and search engine algorithms get smarter. Google's RankBrain update made the search engine smarter, helping it recognise the context words are used instead of just the search terms themselves. Keeping on top of the latest updates in search engine and blogging technology can give you a leg up in this highly competitive market.
But while blogging is changing, it's far from dead. People will never stop reading, and they'll never stop enjoying content from their favourite brands or personalities. Blogs are great places to post engaging and helpful content, and it can help you seem trustworthy to your audience. Always include blogging as a part of a larger marketing strategy, and remember to keep your branding consistent. Remember, a blog is a tool, and if you know how to use it correctly, it can pay you back in dividends.