If you’ve met with any number of agencies – especially if you’ve mentioned SEO (search engine optimization) – you have definitely been told that you need to have a blog. (If not, don’t count on that agency to help with your SEO!)

What is a blog?

First things first, the word “blog” originated from weblog, which was just the term coined for keeping a.. well.. log on the.. well.. web. At it’s most basic, it’s just a stream of posts of content, listed in chronological order. Many times companies will call this a “News” section, but that’s the same thing as a blog.

In fact, Facebook posts and Twitter tweets are blogs, too! These are called micro-blogs (especially Twitter) for the brevity of the posts, but they are technically blogs nonetheless.

In the context of a website, a blog is a fairly-steady stream of posts about the company, products, or services that can be built over time. It provides a place where company news can be added or product use cases can be exemplified. It is a place where you can quickly and easily add fresh, relevant content.

How does that help my site?

The magic words in the above section came right at the end: add fresh, relevant content.

One of the large factors search engines take into consideration when determining a site’s rank – or relative importance – on the web is how timely the content is. Furthermore, the frequency at which it changes is a factor as well. The more often your site posts timely information, the more important search engines believe your site is – and they’ll boost your ranking appropriately. If you have a CMS (content management system) in place, your new articles will be spread throughout the site in article listings, causing many pages to be updated frequently, not just your blog page!

Beyond the obvious direct search engine boost, your articles hold weight in other ways. When you write relevant, valuable content, it gets shared. Facebook and Twitter (specifically) are littered with links to valuable content that people have found helpful and shared with their circles of friends. These links back to your content hold weight in the eyes of search engines as well. If you want those links back to your site to be even stronger, write content that others will link to from their articles! Social media links are counted, but not as highly as links from other websites.

Long story short, the articles themselves and the links back to your site that they generate will increase your search engine rankings dramatically!

Okay, okay. So how much and often do I have to write?

Well, the more the better, right? That’s a horrible answer…

According to Newfangled – a leader in content-driven marketing automation – the magic number is somewhere around 3,000 words of unique, indexable content per month. That seems like a lot, but for reference, this article is 1,352 words long. At 3,000 words, you’re only on the hook for about 750 words per week. Yea, I know you didn’t sign up to be a writer when you started your company, but this is important stuff!

According to Newfangled, the magic number is somewhere around 3,000 words of unique, indexable content per month.

How you divide that 3,000 words is really up to you and your team. You can write a couple of in-depth, 1,500-word essays and post them twice a month, but that doesn’t do much for the “fresh” part of fresh, relevant content. Many organizations (like us) choose to split that up into weekly posts. We have a couple of people take turns writing weekly posts and, when we need to bolster the count, we write one or two additional posts throughout the month that might take a bit more research.

As long as you can get to about 3,000 words of unique content per month, it doesn’t matter who writes or when you post.*

* The “when” does matter for marketing reach purposes, but this article is about writing, not marketing strategy as a whole.

Fine. Is there anything else can I do with that content?

Glad you asked! You’ve done a lot of writing and it would be a shame if that content just sat around, waiting for someone to come find it, right? You have many options for this newly-created content, but there are two really simple ways to repurpose the articles: email newsletters and social media.

Email Newsletters

It may seem like email newsletters are a thing of the past, but while forms of communication come and go (remember AOL instant messenger? MySpace? ICQ?), email continues to outlive them all. If you’re reading this and care about blogging, I’m going to assume you also receive at least 100 emails every day. Most anyone in marketing does. Some of it is junk, some of it is legitimate information. Almost all of it makes you aware of a company or product’s existence. Sending out an email newsletter isn’t going to be the world’s best or fastest money-making scheme, but what it will do is keep your company “top-of-mind” with you potential customers. That is, they’ll be aware and remember you when the times comes for them to take action.

The hardest part about sending out a regular email newsletter is content generation. Good news! You just got done writing two.. three.. four articles this month! Gather that content and use a service like MailChimp or Constant Contact to send those newsletters out. This changes your blog from a passive piece of your marketing plan to an active one. (This is called “Push Marketing” instead of “Pull Marketing”, but we’ll have to wait for another day to dive deeper into those.)

Social Media Posts

Speaking of “Push Marketing”, you can (and should) post about your new articles on social media. Each channel should have a unique teaser about your blog post and link directly to the article. Feel free to add photos or videos where appropriate.

Your social media channels will probably be slightly less visible than your email newsletters, but they still matter for a few different reasons. First and foremost, a group of people – maybe newsletter overlap, maybe not – gets to learn about your new content. These people follow your social media channel because they think your company or your content are worth knowing about. That means your audience is already partially invested in reading your content. Secondly, the links that you attach that lead back to your site will not only boost your page rank (minimally), but they’ll also start to build a buzz between all of the places you are present online. This buzz is what search engines look for (among other things). Furthermore, these links are now ultra-shareable, leading to reposts and even more links back to your site – this time from other people/companies!

Along with your other social media posts (they shouldn’t all be news announcements) these article links and blurbs will create the kind of attention search engines seek to present in search results.

Bonus: How can a branding agency help me?

You’re just full of great questions! While many agencies will not directly write the content for these blogs, there are ways that an agency can be instrumental in aiding with you blog. For starters, your website needs to be built on a content management system – or CMS. If it’s not easy to post new content, you won’t do it. Secondly, there’s a lot of strategy around writing content. What questions need to be answered? How can I relate to my customers best? Should I be more formal or more laid back in my writing style? What social media channels best suit my industry? These are all questions that agencies are prepared to help answer and formulate a plan.

Your website needs to be built for writing. If it’s not easy to post new content, you won’t do it.

At Thrive, we run the gamut on the types of services we provide. We write blog content for a couple of clients, we help with social media strategy, and we can help you build personas (more on that later) that will guide you in a direction on what to write about. If you’re curious at all about how keeping a blog can boost your rank at search engines, give us a shout!

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