Bottom line — The Blog is Digital PR and SEO rolled into one.
Blogging is a digital form of public relations. It’s a showcase for you to spotlight all the different facets of your business through constantly new and thoughtful content. AND, that constantly new and thoughtful contact, content that should be rich with keywords, is an extraordinary SEO (search engine optimization) vehicle.
Oh, how I love the blog!
Let’s start with the SEO-gift that blogs give your website/marketing strategy. Bottom line: blogs make you more “Googleable.”
To put it simply, Google “likes” it when a website is updated. Here is a very non-technical explanation: when you blog a few times a month, then upload this new content to your website, Google reads that your website is an active, ever-updating place; then, Google “checks back” again and more often to see if your website has been updated. It is an organic cycle and quite a symbiotic relationship: you update, Google checks, Google likes, you update, Google checks, likes that you have updated again. As this cycle happens because Google finds you easier to find, Google makes you more findable to the masses, i.e., your potential customers.
When you pair these updates with keywords woven into a blog that is informative and unique, you are creating for yourself and your business an organically, finely tuned SEO/PR vehicle.
“We are entering into a new Internet age, and the best way to build your page rank is by writing quality content that organically gets read and distributed,” writes Sarah Ware, of Markerly. She warns that if you choose the faster alternative of paying for sponsored content to bring traffic to your site, increase awareness and page rank, “Work only with respected content agencies because Google will penalize and remove any publisher that does not disclose sponsored content correctly on Google News.”
Speaking of the power of content, let’s move on now to the PR that comes from a blog. How can you make or create PR moments from your blog?
Number one blog rule (place this advice in your public relations strategy file as well):
The blog is your platform piece. The place you get to wax poetic about your messaging. The blog is your ink-based podium from which you get to constantly and with a fresh approach tell your biz-story/message.
So, say something about your biz and while doing so, fuel the fire.
Here’s a concise example: I think it’s unethical for PR companies to take large retainers and require one-year contracts during which time they may not produce media landings for their clients. This makes it almost impossible for small- and medium-sized businesses to afford great or the “best” public relations they can afford. That’s why my company has a pay-for-landing PR model. My advice for all businesses looking for PR — do not sign with a company that requires a one-year contract. And, if you need very targeted PR in a small community (that is, you do not need national PR), you may want to find a company with a pay-per-landing model. It could be more budget friendly.
Here are some other blog tips:
Be unique but on point: Write about your unique ideas or offer up a twist to a current industry event.
Use the blog to make yourself a media resource: By writing about your industry and business, your blog can make you a ready source of news stories. It’s a platform through which you can become an industry expert. Those seeking publicity can find “free” PR by blogging because a growing number of journalists and news editors are read and/or find blogs by googling key words on subjects for which they are seeking information/interviewees.
Make yourself human: From a PR-for-your-business angle, the blog has magical humanizing powers. What do I mean? Well, since blogs are inform venues for stating your ideas and opinions, it’s a wonderful venue for taking a small, medium or large company and putting a human face to it. The blog breaks down the distance between the entity and the consumer by creating a personal conduit from which to engage with current and prospective customers.
Make yourself trustworthy: Not only does the blog have magical humanizing powers it’s also a venue from which bizzes can build trust between themselves and their customers and potential customers. That’s a great gift the blog writer can give the sales and marketing team — whether the blog writer and that team are one and the same or if they exist in disparate parts of a large company. A blog on a website will go far in achieving those trust based goals. It’s a well-known truism that people will buy from their friends and people whose word they trust. Blogs deliver transparency and transparency delivers a message of trust.
Don’t just blog, comment: Blogging can be a two-way street, creating an avenue for engagement and interaction. Comment on other people’s blogs and make yourself known. However, don’t just comment or tell people to read your blog too. Add value to the conversation. Your comment is an elevator pitch for your messaging. Consider ending your comment with a question to start the ball rolling on the conversation.