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Is blogging still useful?

Online marketing trends come and go, and sometimes our clients seem to be under the impression that blogging is on its way out. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, while it’s true that video is great for delivering a high-impact sales message, a solid blogging strategy is still the frontrunner when it comes to creating meaningful content on the web. When you’re an expert, you can secure that status by being the go-to professional whose writing informs the industry. But doing it the right way still counts.

With the ubiquitous presence of blogs on the Internet today, many businesses feel they're at a loss to compete.

After all, when celebrity gossip, toddler tales, and healthy recipes rule the brain trust of the information seeker, wedging a few more shards of information into the Twitter-sized glut of data points seems futile at best, and absurd at worst.

So why bother? Why would a busy CEO keep a blog, or insist that his or her company develop a content strategy?

The answer lies in what I consider the fundamental rule of information marketing on the web:

People only surf the Internet for two things: information or entertainment. You MUST fulfill one of these needs if you're going to put anything on the web.

This fundamental rule is supported by a subordinate rule that is even more frequently overlooked:

Never do anything online that isn't part of the sales funnel.

Why blog? Simply put, you're there to provide information. It doesn't need to be information specific to your product or service. It can be information pertinent to your field or industry. In fact, for the consumer this is even more valuable. It establishes you as an expert in your field, which makes you a trusted resource.

To this same end, I recommend my clients have two blogs (sometimes three) structured as follows:

1. Consumer Blog: This is the blog accessed by Joe Average. It talks about things related to the industry, but does so in a humorous and engaging way. This is more entertainment, but also provides updates on products and services. Thus, a shaving products company can discuss all items style and image related.

2. Company Blog: This is where the relevant information about the company comes in handy. It's here that company news and releases are housed, and becomes an integral part of the online press room strategy. PR and company announcements are posted here.

3. CEO's Blog: It could be the President, CEO, or the executive team as a whole. But this is one of the most overlooked elements of the company's digital strategy can really take hold and move them forward. Becoming a thought leader is much more than attending conferences. Providing industry insights from the top is where the image of the company is made, and any leadership that isn't maintaining this presence is missing a valuable opportunity to stand out in the marketplace and connect to their team on the inside.

Blogging has been around for long enough that the strategies are well-worn. Some pundits may even suggest that it's down to mere self-promotion. But understanding how a good content strategy fits with the fundamental rules of Internet marketing opens up tons of opportunities to grow both branding and leadership.

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