Why read this? : We look at the brand benefits of blogging. Learn how to use it to meet customer needs. Where it fits into your marketing plan. And its role in connecting other brand activities. Read this to learn the benefits blogging offers your brand.
- be easy to find.
- be relevant and interesting for customers.
- drive a call to action so customers think, feel or do something differently.
Easier said than done.
Doing keyword research to find out what customers are looking for is a good start. Using readability principles to make your writing easier to read also helps. And of course, making sure your call to action helps customers progress on their journey is good too.
But before all that, you have to work out why you need a blog in the first place. What’s in it for your customers? Where does it fit in your marketing plan? How does it connect to other brand activation? What exactly are the benefits of blogging for your brand?
What’s in it for customers?
Most people who blog see it as a way to share thoughts about a topic they love. But a business blog has to do more than that. A business blog has to deliver some sort of benefit to your brand.
Like most marketing tasks, you start with the customer. Your blog content should help them with some need(s) they have.
Filling out a customer journey map helps you work out what the need might be. Most blogs help customers with one or more of :-
- spark my interest.
- find out more.
- delight me.
Spark my interest
Blogs can help you grab the attention of new customers to the category (and to your brand). To spark interest, your blog needs a strong hook to make it distinctive and relevant.
Blogs with this goal often use emotional hooks. Emotions usually kick in before logic does.
So you create content which makes customers laugh, for example. Or which inspires them.
The content has to be easy to engage with to draw customers in.
Often that means you write the blog with some sort of entertainment value. You tell compelling stories, for example. You add appealing photos and videos. These make the blog more shareable on social media. The goal is to attract customers towards the brand by making them curious to find out more.
Find out more
Once you’ve got a customer’s interest, blogs are a great way to help them find out more about you. To find out what you care about.
You can use your blog to share relevant information, and you have more time and space to do so versus other types of communications.
This approach is often more education-driven.
You can still deliver it entertainingly, of course. But you focus more on sharing your knowledge and expertise with customers. Your aim here is to be helpful. To answer questions and solve problems. You share resources, for example. What you teach helps customers become better informed about a relevant topic.
Finally, your blog can also benefit existing customers as well as pull in new ones. You can use it as a way to keep in touch with loyal customers who’ve already bought into your brand.
Your blog content can delight these customers by reminding them why they bought into you in the first place. It reminds them what a good decision they made choosing you.
You use the interactive nature of the blog, where people can comment and respond. It’s a spotlight on what’s going on with your brand. These updates help you stay top of mind with existing customers.
Understanding customer needs is key
The key to all this is customer understanding.
You write your blog content with that specific customer profile in mind.
Their demographic profile.
Where does it fit into your marketing planning?
The brand equivalent of the customer journey is the brand choice funnel.
Blogging is primarily a promotion (marketing communications) activity. Your target audience read and interact with your written and visual content. That experience has to help you deliver against different stages of the brand choice funnel.
They usually connect something like this :-
- Spark my attention blogs to drive awareness.
- Find out more blogs to drive consideration.
- Delight me blogs to drive loyalty.
So the question of how and when to use blogging comes down to the benefits it offers over and above these other choices. These are :-
- connections to the customer and other brand activities.
- supporting your brand identity.
- driving customer interactions.
Connection to the customer and other brand activities
As we said earlier, for a blog to work, it has to meet a customer’s need. To offer something of value. Entertaining or educational content, or something else to delight the audience.
It’s this “something of value” for the customer where you find the benefits of blogging for your brand.
Most marketing communication activities “push” messages out to customers.
But blogs are more of a “pull” form of marketing. You can’t force customers to read your blog. They have to choose to do so. It’s an active choice on their part versus other channels which they passively experience. That means they’re more engaged. They want to read that content.
Plus, because it’s a relatively long form of content (from 500 to 4k words), you’ve got more space and can do more with it.
Versus your average social media post, you can add more links, for example. Tell a longer, more interesting story. Add more photos and videos. You can create a “bigger” experience and connect it more easily to the rest of your brand activation.
Support your brand identity
Brands which want to come across as warm and approachable can use entertaining blog content, for example. They establish their customer-friendliness and share fun content and experiences.
Brands which want to come across as expert and knowledgeable would focus more on educational blog content. They establish their expertise and share ideas and thoughts.
Brands which want to show they are caring and customer-focused would use more loyalty-building content. They make it clear how much customers mean to them. They show the great customer service they offer.
Remember, the better the blogging experience, the more positively the customer will think about your brand. It strengthens the connection between the customer and your brand by reinforcing who you are, and what you care about.
Drive customer interactions
Finally, in terms of brand benefits, blogging allows you to create direct interactions with your audience.
As it’s regularly updated, it helps you maintain an informal and ongoing conversation with customers.
For example, you encourage them to leave comments or ask them to contact you if they have any questions.
You can also highlight these interactions in future blog posts.
Sharing (with permission) stories about other customers can be motivating and inspiring in many categories. It also shows how much you value keeping customers happy.
Your blog won’t interest every customer. But it can deepen the connection with the ones who share your passion for the topics you cover.
Other benefits of blogging
The benefits of blogging don’t stop there. There are other, more specific benefits to look at like :-
- SEO and website performance.
- Public relations support.
- Data and research.
SEO and website performance
Blogging is good for your website. Regularly updated content makes your site look more active. That helps boost your SEO ranking. Google prefers sites which are regularly updated to sites which sit with lots of static old content.
That means there’s a virtuous cycle when it comes to using blogs on your website.
High-quality blog content pulls in traffic. The longer they spend on your site, and the more they interact with it, the better your SEO performance becomes. Your blog posts start showing up higher in search, and that brings more visitors to your website.
You can also link posts together around relevant topics. If you’ve particular categories you write about, you link other relevant articles so it’s easier for customers to find them.
It means you don’t have to cover every point about a topic in a single post. You can point the reader to where they can find out more about related topics. For example, in the introduction to this article, we linked to articles on keyword research and readability. That means we didn’t have to explain these topics in detail. However, readers can follow the links if they want to explore those topics.
Public relations support
You can also link your blog to your public relations activities.
For example, you can talk about events or new product launches in your blog. And as you do them, you tell everyone your blog is where they can find out more information about the activity.
Blogs are a way for customers to “keep in touch” with their favourite brands and what they care about.
Blogs help customers stay up-to-date with the brand, and what it’s doing.
And often they can offer an ‘inside view’ of the brand, with extra content unavailable elsewhere.
PR is also more of a “pull” than a “push” way of marketing. So blogging and PR are often a strong mix when you want to connect with, rather than overtly sell to customers.
Data and research
That works in 2 ways.
There’s the indirect insights you get from looking at how customers interact with your blog.
You can see which articles get the most visitors, and which they spend the most time reading.
Those show what topics interest your customers. So, you write more about those in the future and less about the topics which don’t interest customers.
Plus, you can also get direct insights. Use your blog to ask customers questions. Ask them to comment, for example, or share their own related ideas or experiences on a topic. That gives you direct feedback from customers. You can use that to adapt your content to better meet their needs.
Don’t forget to include a call to action
As a final thought on the benefits of blogging, make sure you include a clear call to action in your blog.
Remember, you’re aiming to meet a customer’s need. But your article won’t solve every need. If they have more needs, you use your call to action to point them to where they can get more help.
The call to action should help customers move along their journey and help you hit your business objectives. Blogging’s benefit comes when it influences the customer long-term to choose your brand. That’s when you see the return on the time and money you invest in blogging.
Conclusion - The benefits of blogging for brands
Blogging has many benefits for brands.
Access to these benefits starts with understanding the customer and what they need. Your blog has to meet customer needs for it to work.
You can use the customer journey map to help you work out what those needs might be. Most blogs aim to spark the customer’s interest, help them find out more, or delight them in some other way.
You then relate these needs back to your brand objectives, and work out where blogging fits in.
This is where you see blogging’s main benefits for brands. It’s a great way to connect other brand activations, for example. It also helps reinforce your brand identity and positioning and provides somewhere for customers to interact with you.
The key to a blog’s success is finding a shared passion topic with customers. You have to be passionate enough about that topic to write about it regularly. And customers have to be passionate enough about it to want to read about it regularly. Finding that passion topic is where brands find the most benefits in blogging.