Especially these days when so much media is video-centric and publishers are seeing tons of engagement on YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat?
I think so. You know why?
Because blogging is one of the best ways to get free visitors to your website. Even without ads, you can get a ton of organic traffic. Think about Wikipedia. Wikipedia has articles on everything under the moon, and because of that they rank for a ton of long-tail keywords. The same could happen with your business.
If you create a blog, write really educational content, are seen as an expert in marketing (or whatever you do), and just crank out the marketing articles, this will help you generate tons of leads—and leads can eventually convert into paying customers.
And here's the thing. With blogging, you don't necessarily need to write text all the time. You can vlog, you can do a podcast, you can repurpose your content. However you do it, the idea is that you have a medium out there and you're providing value to people.
What Do Popular Blogs Do Differently?
I'm going to give you an example right here: The Points Guy (TPG), Brian Kelly. He has a blog where he just talks about how you can get credit card deals or travel discounts. He has a YouTube channel, too. And he makes a ton of money just helping people with that type of content.
You can have an affiliate blog, like what he has, or you can start your own blog and build your brand, but you need to have some type of home base to build off of first. It doesn't necessarily need to be text.
TPG cruises first class for free all the time!
(Source)A blog is still one of the best lead generators for a B2B business. Click To Tweet
With Kissmetrics, for example, Neil gets over a million visitors a month. Even though he no longer works there, the site still benefits from the branding and legwork that he put in all those years ago. His other blogs have generated over 10,000 qualified leads for his business.
If he had to pay for that traffic, and buy those leads, you're probably talking a few hundred thousand to a million dollars a month in paid advertising. That's how effective blogging can be.
Even better, your blog is yours to control and do whatever you want with. Once you have a big following, it’s basically like a separate social media channel. On Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, what you get to do is purely based on how they decide their algorithms should function. For example, Facebook recently announced that fan pages aren't going to get as much reach. So if you want every one of your fans to see the message you put out, you've got to pay for a boost.
With a blog, you’re always in control. You want to tell everyone about something? You can write a blog post about it, do an e-mail blast, syndicate it—you get to pick and choose your own journey.
Related Content: How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails
Consistency Is the Key—Especially for Blogging
I think one of the most important elements for any blog is you have to be consist. We’ve talked about how a blog is a 12–18 month journey, so consistency is important. If you're going to publish once a week, then you have to stay committed to that journey.
There are people who will go gung ho at first, decide they're going to blog once every day, and all of a sudden you see them fall off. And it's because they stopped staying consistent.
A blogger named Robert Ryan recently published a case study about what happened to his traffic when he stopped blogging for eight months straight. And he even made an infographic about what happened when he stopped blogging. His overall traffic dropped by about 32%. How do you recover from that? That's why consistency is so important when you're blogging.
Some VCs expect their companies to just dump a bunch of money into paid traffic and grow things that way. But once you stop pouring money into paid advertising, well that's it. The faucet is off. But once your blog is really up and running, it’s much more affordable to maintain, and can lead to as much if not more traffic than a much more expensive ad campaign.
Neil’s experience with Quick Sprout was similar. He stopped blogging for a month and his traffic dropped out from under him. It took him three months to recover the traffic he lost and get back to the same position he was before he stopped blogging consistently.
The other thing that I learned is that it doesn't matter if multiple people or just one person is writing on the blog. With a corporate blog, it's easier if it's multiple people. With a personal one, ideally it should be just you as a main person and you can have other people guest blogging or contributing if you don't have enough time. When you're writing this content, try to do it in a conversational tone. Use the words “you” and “I” within your post.
For example, my introduction could be:
“Wouldn't you love more traffic? Well who wouldn't? If you want more search traffic, or if you want more traffic, one of the best ways to grow is through SEO. Here are seven SEO tactics that I've leveraged and found to be effective for any business type.”
That's an example of using the words “you” and “I” within your blog post to make it conversational. By doing that, people can relate to you better and it will help you convert more of those visitors into leads when you're ready to do that later down the road.
Headlines Are 80 Cents of Every Dollar
David Ogilvy said that the headline is 80 cents of every dollar you spend. In other words, if you paid someone $400 to write a high-quality blog post for you, the headline is worth $320. Headlines have a massive impact because they’re first thing that people see, it's what they're going to click on, and in large part it will determine whether or not they actually take the time to read the article.
So you need to know how to write great headlines.
Also, if you’re often on YouTube, save the videos that really entice you and got you to click, because YouTubers are great at writing searchable headlines that get clicks. Writing great headlines is almost an art in itself and it's hard to find people that really understand how to tap into the psychology of a person and get them to click.
According to Copyblogger:8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will click and read the post. Click To Tweet
That just shows that no matter how good your content is, if your headline sucks, no one will read your post. But you shouldn't just use clickbait headlines, either. Your headline has to match the content you're creating.
Also, think about what your long-term goal is. If your goal is to brand yourself as an entrepreneur, make sure that your content is relevant to that space of entrepreneurship—lessons learned, mistakes made, hacks, increasing productivity as an entrepreneur, fundraising, etc.
Repurpose Content Whenever You Can
One mistake we've made in the past couple years is that we were spending all this money producing all this great content.
If it's long form, you might spend a couple hundred on it or sometimes, as in Neil's case, you're spending $20,000–$30,000 dollars for a piece of content. But okay, so now that you've written a piece of content, what about making it into an audio version or maybe also breaking it down through YouTube, walking the viewer through screencasts, things like that?
But what I’ve been learning is that, instead of producing all that regular content from scratch all the time, it’s much better to start out with those epic, evergreen content pieces that really speak to your target customers and then repurpose that information into bite-sized, regular content.
All you have to do is look at which pieces of content are performing really well and then repurpose them. That way, you're really getting the maximum ROI, especially if you have content that's driving a ton of traffic. Sure, content repurposing takes a lot more careful planning and content strategy ahead of time, but it pays great dividends in the long run.
Learn More: 9 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Blog Content
It’s also important to note that, while blogging is an essential component of B2B marketing, it’s not as important for B2C marketing. I’m not saying it’s not important, just that it’s probably not going to drive the kind of engagement and conversion that a B2B blog would. Just look at HubSpot, Markettle, or other examples of companies who have done really well and their leads and their sales are all mainly driven through inbound marketing, mainly blogging.
Think about it. The average B2B customer has to make a very careful, calculated investment in a large purchase (often in the tens of thousands of dollars), whereas a B2C customer will pay much more attention to word-of-mouth marketing and online reviews. If you're looking to just brand yourself so that way you can get better jobs, great. Create a personal blog.
Just make sure, whatever content you produce, that you do it consistently, it's high quality, and don't worry about monetization at the beginning. If you don't know how to write or blog, no worries. You can go to jobs.problogger.net, post that you're looking for a good blogger, and you can find a ton of people who will be willing to do it for a hundred bucks or so.
Some Great Blogging Promotion Tools
Once you have all this content, focus on promotion as well. Too many people focus on the headline, the content, and then they stop there. You could have the best content in the world but if no one reads it, it's useless. Focus on promotion.
Do your best to always focus on driving as many links towards your blogs as possible. Go to Ahrefs, put in links to competing articles, hit up all those sites that link to those articles, and then e-mail them saying “Hey, I noticed you link out to this article on Site X about marketing. Why not also link to this article I wrote? I cover A, B and C that this guy doesn't cover.”
Another great tool I use is Buzzsumo. It very easily aggregates share counts and engagement data for things like blog posts, and is searchable. It’s another way to search who’s linking to your competitors, and get them to link to you instead.
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers (who I interviewed on Growth Everywhere) has driven well over 40 million page views on one of his sites, annually. He recommends that, when you’re starting out as a blogger, you focus 20% of your time on creating content. The other 80% of your time should be spent promoting that content. Otherwise, nobody knows you are. By building these cross-linking relationships, you can really get a snowball effect.
Finally, HubSpot has great advice about how to start and run a blog. I really like looking at numbers, so HubSpot has great statistics if you just Google “inbound marketing statistics.” If you're blogging, if you're doing inbound marketing, your cost per lead is going to be significantly lower than running paid advertising, and also you're going to get more traffic if you're blogging as well.
That's obvious, right? As long as you're consistent with it.
This post was adapted from Marketing School, a 10-minute daily podcast in which Neil Patel and Eric Siu teach you real-life marketing strategies and tactics from their own experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. Listen to the podcast version of this post below: