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As a digital marketing consultant, I am constantly being asked by my clients whether they should have a blog.  And, while a blog is not for everyone, to the majority of my clients I answer in the affirmative.  What comes next is a string of questions.  The most common question after learning that they should write a blog is why they need to blog.

So, in a proactive attempt to help all of the small businesses out there, let’s take a closer look at when a blog is the right form of content marketing and when it isn’t.  At the same time, let’s explore the ‘why’ surrounding blogs and the benefits of proper blog management.

Many ‘leading experts’ will tell you that a blog will solve all your Internet woes ― Blogging will increase your traffic, expand your audience, improve your engagement, and position you as an authority.  But you must look out for the convoluted misconceptions about the power of blogs.

I will never deny the power of a good, solid blog on the right site.  The fact is, a blog has the potential to do all of those good things and more.  What you should be doing, however, is always question anything that’s touted as the right answer for everyone (and everything). So, back to the original question; should you blog?

When Is Blogging Not Necessarily The Best Form of Content Marketing?

When you own the market.

Large companies such as Amazon, Ebay, and Google already have a substantial share of their respective markets. So many consumers already flock to them or know their respective companies are synonymous with particular products. If your company is like this, you would only receive marginal benefits from maintaining a consistent blog.

  • When your audience is this large, traffic is of little concern. Even if, as a consumer, you went to one of these sites and read something interesting, you were probably going to buy product from that site anyway.
  • Places like Amazon have been around long enough and have such large audiences that they don’t need to search out new followers. If your site is the go-to place for a specific product, like Amazon, your site doesn’t need any special tricks to be discovered.
  • One of the greatest examples of engagement comes from Target. They have brick and mortar locations as well as an online presence. Once Oprah and other stars began calling Target, Tarzhay, and the company began carrying affordable designer brands (desired product), they no longer were in need of a blog. If your customers are engaged in your product and not your writings, you don’t need a blog to get new customers.
  • If people already consider you and your site to be the leading authority in a particular area, it is a safe bet that blogging is not a necessary form of marketing for you. In other words, if you have little competition or you are the go-to place for a specific product, you may as well skip blogging.

When there is a better way to fill your funnel.

Every savvy business person understands that a blog is only one method by which to attract new customers. Just because one store has a fantastic blog doesn’t mean I will stop going to the store nearer to my home for my groceries. Another form of enticement, such as a coupon, may get me there.

What I am trying to say is that varying tactics exist for every business trying to get new customers. Now, none of what I have been saying should be construed to mean you will never need to have a blog. In times of slow growth rates or a loss of other marketing channels, you may need to reevaluate the necessity of a blog. For the time being, keep doing what your customers are responding to.

When your most interesting things are complicated or confidential.

Blogging is all about engagement. So, if you are in a line of business that requires extreme discretion or is highly technical, it is important to think about what you would be writing. Consider whether anyone would want (or be legally able) to read or comment on your post.

When you are regurgitating information rather than creating it.

There are just as many blogs in existence that are creative and full of new content as there are those simply regurgitating the material of another author. The reason for this is that most people don’t have the time or energy to devote into becoming a ‘thought leader’.

A blog is a great opportunity for showcasing your company and its mastery of the industry. However, if you don’t have someone capable of expanding upon (rethinking) your existing knowledge base, it is all probably a waste of time.

Your business is not online (truly offline)

A really good reason to avoid blogging is if your business model does not include entry into the digital world. If you are successful and happy at selling your products offline, or if there is enough variance in what you are selling, you have a solid argument for staying offline entirely.

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When Should You Be Blogging?

Having looked at a number of reasons for not blogging, it is only natural that we explore some of the more reasonable times for having a blog.  Just because you almost fit inside some of the above mentioned ‘boxes’ doesn’t mean you are free from creating a blog.  The times you should be blogging are when:

You need/want an increase of website traffic.

It goes without saying that the more pages you build, the greater your chances for ranking. In fact, the more quality content you create and provide on a blog, the more collateral you will have to showcase across your social channels.

You need a larger audience.

People love quality content. If the content you provide is completely awesome, people will read it and share it.  Maintaining a high level of quality in your blogs will keep customers engaged and sharing.

A need exists to better connect with customers.

No matter how simple everything seems to you, there will always be a need for FAQ pages. Taking a proactive approach and answering those questions, not only as they come up but, before they arise will let your customers know you are thinking about them.  At the same time, the content you provide helps your customers get to know and understand you.  You will be able to grow and adapt from the comments they leave on your posts.

You have added value to provide to the discussion.

If you are at the top of your game and have a fresh perspective on the industry, share it. Again, good quality content is interesting to people and they want to hear/read your stories and commentaries.  The content you provide should be building you up as authority in the industry and developing you as the go-to company for answers.

You decide you are ready to invest in the future of your business.

Most individuals assume that a blog can be created overnight and reap the rewards immediately. However, if you are ready to be realistic and understand that it is a long-term process, the rewards will come.  From the time you publish your very first post, you are investing in yourself and your company, building the foundation and shape of your industry expertise.  Stick with it and you will find your blog attracting new customers and followers.

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To Blog, or Not To Blog?

The point of my entire rant is to get across the point that you don’t have to blog just because someone told you too. Far too often, a supposed ‘expert’ (friend, family member, agency expert, etc.) tells people they need a blog when that isn’t the case. It is a huge investment and takes a lot to successfully sustain a quality blog.

There are many great reasons to work diligently to provide your customers and followers with a quality blog. The decision, however, is yours to make. If there is a good reason to abstain from blogging, don’t blog. On the other hand, if there seems to be logical argument for providing a blog, do it. Stick with it. Work hard. The rewards will come.

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