The term blog comes from the combination of “web” and “log” or “weblog,” and was eventually shortened to “blog.” In the 1990s when blogs first appeared, they were primarily online diaries, where people would provide personal accounts of their lives. At that time, blogs were traditionally built websites that were updated and uploaded manually, limiting the number of bloggers to only those who knew how to build and upload web pages.
It wasn’t until the late 1990s when LiveJournal and then Blogger developed platforms that didn’t require tech knowledge, that blogging expanded. In the early 2000s, WordPress came along, and quickly grew into one of the most used blogging platforms – which then consequently became a powerful platform for websites in general, and now powers over one-third of the web!
These days, businesses have found that blogging can add a lot to their digital marketing strategy. The upside of having your website built on WordPress is that you have a blog built right into your site, ready for you to tap into the benefits of starting your own blog for online marketing.
What is blog marketing?
Blog marketing is the process of reaching your business’s target market through the use of a blog.
Initially, business owners had a blog separate from their websites, but today, you can easily integrate the two to make it easier for you to manage, as well as easier for visitors to access. Many business owners use a blogging platform, such as WordPress, for both their site and blog. Further, as blogging has grown in ease and popularity, many people have created businesses from blogging all on its own (as opposed to having a business first and then blogging). For example, some food blogs are businesses in and of themselves.
The pros of blog marketing
The very nature of blogging makes them ideal for marketing since they provide new content to draw people back, and offer a way for consumers and businesses to interact. Here are a few other benefits:
- Inexpensive to start and run. While there are free blogging platforms, such as Blogger and WordPress.com, to maintain a professional appearance that allows for your unique brand to shine through, use a self-hosted option, such as WordPress.org. For the cost of a domain and webhosting, you can have a customized blog marketing for you.
- Easy to use. Most blogging platforms are simple to use. If you can copy, paste, type, drag & drop and upload, you can have a professional looking blog.
- Effective way to have new and returning traffic come to your site to see what’s new. Offering tips, updates and other new content gives people a reason to return to your business website, which gives them opportunity to buy.
- Improves search engine ranking. Google, in particular, likes to find and rank new content, and many entrepreneurs use blogging specifically for search engine optimization (SEO)
- Allows you to show off your expertise to gain trust and credibility with your market. People like to know who they’re doing business with. With a blog you can prove you’re an expert, provide helpful tips and other valuable information, all of which help consumers feel good about spending money on your product or service.
- Connect with your market. While most businesses now use Twitter and other social platforms more than blogs for engagement, blogs can allow you to have a conversation with your market. This gives you the opportunity to build trust and rapport, as well as get feedback and provide customer service.
- It can make money beyond your product or service. You can accept advertising, promote affiliate products and get sponsors, adding additional sources of revenue to your business.
Blog marketing action plan
Starting a blog and using it to promote your business can be set up within minutes. It’s the ongoing management and marketing that will take time.
- Make a blog marketing plan. What are you going to share on your blog? News, tips, resources, etc? Further, how often will you update your blog? Daily, weekly, etc?
- Create your blog. AusWebDesign can help you set up and style your blog on your website, and we have some helpful tips in our knowledgebase all about blogging in WordPress.
- Fill your blog with several posts ASAP. Readers don’t like to visit a blog with only one or two posts. Add ten or more posts quickly, and then go to your regular post schedule.
- Market your blog. It’s very easy to integrate social media into your blogs, so that your blog posts go out to your followers. Include your blog on your marketing materials as well.
- Reply to comments. Remember, blogs are social, so people will ask questions, provide feedback, or share their opinion. Delete spam posts.
- Cross-promote with email marketing. Use your blog to encourage email signups. This is another great way to keep people who are interested in your business coming back to your blog, which again, gives them more opportunity to spend money with you.