Is Blogging a Social Media OR Search Tactic?
Don’t think it doesn’t matter because blogging addresses both marketing needs.
Let’s examine how these 2 approaches differ since it has an impact on your blog’s content, presentation and results. By understanding these differences, you can enhance your blog’s ability to achieve your business objectives.
Blogging: Social media OR search tactic?
Here’s how blogging differs for social media and search across 7 key marketing attributes.
1. Target market
Regardless of your focus, social media or search, know your audience by creating a marketing persona.
- Focus on your prospects, customers and end-users. Understand their wants and needs. Extend your marketing persona to include a social media persona.
- Determine the relevant influencers and thought leaders. Consider how you can reach out to key people to contribute guest posts, interviews, comments or shares. Think win-win.
- Understand your audience in terms of the words they use. This is key to your search strategy. I’ve worked with businesses that are so wrapped up in their own view of their offering that they miss important marketing opportunities.
- Ascertain the devices and platforms where your audience seeks information. This has important implications for supporting paid search and other listings (such as Yelp, etc.)
2. Content strategy
At their core, blogs are publishing platforms.
- Provide the 5 basic content types. Give your potential customers the information they need: supply product details, answer their questions, show them how to use your products, help them style your products and offer ratings and reviews from other customers and experts.
- Write attention-grabbing headlines. Only 1 out of 5 people will get beyond your title. Spend the time to increase your readerbase.
- Include images and other forms of media. Offer a broader spectrum of options for your readers. Many podcasters use their blog just to distribute their audio.
- Incorporate tweetable quotes and pinworthy images to expand your reach. Help your readers extend your audience.
- Focus each article on a specific keyword phrase. Do your research to determine the traffic for your key terms.
- Link to other relevant information, both on your blog and website as well as third party media.
- Create linkbait content. Develop quality content to which other sites want to link.
- Add keyword rich content to non-text formats. Make your visual and audio content findable.
Blogs support your 360° branding efforts. This has a significantly greater impact on social media than search.
- Provide a branded context for your organization’s information. Select your blog’s theme, color palette and fonts with care. Here are 21 blog design elements.
- Align your blog voice with your brand. How you craft your blog content reveals your brand. This encompasses the words you use, the formality of your text, and other content ticks.
- Incorporate images, video and audio. Show your brand in all of its glory. Make it easy for prospects and customers to identify your content.
- Show the people behind your company. Get your employees into the act. Include their photographs and voices.
- Include your brand, products and company names in your blog posts. Create content that helps you to rank for your names organically.
Search is still the dominant way we navigate the Internet. That said, just using your blog to rank in search overlooks the power of blogs to broaden your reach. This can be particularly important if you’ve been blacklisted on search for some reason.
- Incorporate readymade tweets and pins. Make it easy for readers to share your content.
- Share your content on social media platforms. To this end, build your following on different platforms.
- Build your email list. Blogger John Chow was able to keep his business going using his housefile despite being blacklisted.
- Offer feeds. Formerly known as RSS, this allows your readers to get your information in another format. It’s also useful for syndicating your content to other blogs and/or websites.
- Add social sharing to each post. Make it easy for readers to share your content on social media. Don’t forget to include email. ShareThis found that it’s 1 of the top 5 ways people share content.
- Leverage the power of blogging architecture. Blogs get crawled more frequently than other forms of information.
- Include an About Us page with company details including your physical address and phone number to support local search.
Blogs provide a forum for interacting with your prospects, customers, influencers and the public. This is a core feature that qualifies blogs as a form of social media. That said, search engines incorporate the social signals to rank content.
- Allow commenting. Keep your comments open and respond to them to build a dialogue with your audience.
- Engage with readers on other social media platforms. Copyblogger for example has closed comments on their blog and moved the conversation to Google+.
- Create roundup posts. Leverage the collective input from your target audience, influencers and the public by asking for their input. It can be text or images. This is also a great way to spotlight your customers.
- Ask influencers and others to write guest blog posts. Borrow the power of other people’s audiences to engage in social media.
- Use social signals to improve your blog’s ranking in search results. Engaging your audience, influencers and public is key to using a blog as a search optimization tool.
6. Revenue generation
Blogs are content marketing that drives revenues via both social media and search.
- Attract potential customers by answering their key purchase questions. This tends to happen early in the purchase process. Marcus Sheridan is the king of this type of post. His article, How Much Does A Pool Cost, generated over $2 million in sales.
- Include calls-to-action that link to product pages. Be explicit! Don’t assume that your audience will take the next step.
- Support your product’s long tail. By creating content around your lower trafficked terms, you can attract prospects to your blog.
- Help customers post–purchase. Many marketers overlook the power of providing information customers need after they’ve bought your product or service. Placing this type of content on your blog, gets them to return and can be useful in selling them related products or supplies.
- Use the keywords your shoppers use. This includes your competitors. Create the best information in your niche.
- Provide quality information. Regardless of your keywords, you must publish quality content in order to rank.
Skip the vanity counts. The bottom line is does your blog deliver the prospects, customers and sales cost effectively. Track hard metrics including revenues, leads, sales and costs (fully loaded) for both social media and search approaches.
- Determine audience size. Measure the number of visitors per month.
- Create a housefile of email addresses. Use your blog to build your email file of people who are interested in receiving your content.
- Gauge corporate thought leadership. This may be a softer metric assessed via number of conferences where your bloggers present or top 10 lists.
- Measure the quantity and quality of inbound links. Blogs are useful for attracting attention.
- Assess your business’s ranking on search engines. Do your blog posts appear in the top 1-10 listings? If not, do they need to be tweaked?
Don’t decide to use your blog for social media or search solely based on the number of tactics.
Blogs are a long term marketing strategy requiring a continuous stream of new content to deliver results.
Maximize your blog’s bottom line impact by leveraging a mix of social media and search tactics.
What other social media and search blog tactics would you add to this list and why would you include them?
P.S. Want more social media versus search advice? Then check out Andy Crestodina’s social media and search smackdown infographic.
Hi. I'm back from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016.
If you couldn't attend this exciting conference, consider getting a Virtual Pass. You’ll get all of the sessions and can watch them on your schedule!
Free Blogging Guide —
In today’s content-driven world, writing matters more… not less. Ann Handley offers 10 tips for crafting a better blog post.
Based on Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley.
Now there are two ways to get Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide by Email:
Subscribe to receive notice of each new actionable marketing post delivered free, directly to your inbox.
Signup for the weekly Actionable Marketing Newsletter and get a roundup of of the week’s posts, plus extra content you won’t find on the website, plus a free e-book: What Every Blogger Needs to Know – 101 Actionable Blog Tips
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/florianric/7263382550