According to marketers, not even close. Blogs continue to be extremely valuable for lead generation, brand awareness, and SEO. And they’re still popular among consumers. A 2020 HubSpot study found that 60% of people read a blog at least once a week. So, blogs won’t be out of marketers’ toolbox anytime soon.
Why Blogs are Still Impactful
From an investment perspective, blogs may be a better long-term investment for lead generation.
“I could spend 200K to hire a full-time writer, SEO expert, and conversion rate optimization (CRO) specialist to work on my blog. By combining those skill sets, I’m going to be able to create a blog that drives organic traffic to my website and converts it into leads for my business all year long,” says Toner. “Or, I could put the same 200K into an advertising campaign and maybe get a couple thousand leads over the course of the ad campaign. But once the campaign ends, so does my lead flow.”
Toner adds that the majority of HubSpot’s blog-generated leads come from older blog posts. This means that blogging can be a great lead source long after posts are published. Aja Frost, who leads the English SEO team at HubSpot, echoes this sentiment.
“Organic traffic is more important than ever. Unlike paid traffic, which stops coming in the second your budget runs out, organic traffic is mostly self-sustaining after you’ve put in the time and effort to create a blog post,” she says.
She adds that most content management systems (CMS) have SEO tools integrated into their platforms, which makes it easier to optimize your posts.
Blogging can also be valuable in shaping a brand’s product positioning.
“Blogs are still one of the best channels we have to create narratives around our product,” says HubSpot Product Marketing Manager Alex Girard. “They offer us the opportunity to address trends we see in the market, how those trends impact the reader, and how our product might be able to help them meet that trend successfully. They’re also great for telling customer success stories.”
He adds that when using your blog to market your product, the content doesn’t have to be promotional. When you establish yourself as a thought leader and gain trust from your audience, they will organically look into your products and services.
With that said, it’s going to take more than good content to have a successful blog.
“Growth without a goal isn’t going to help your business – if 10,000 people are reading your blog, but none of them fit your persona, that’s not going to do anything for your company,” says HubSpot’s Senior Blog Manager Karla Cook. “Focus on something attainable, like generating new contacts, and make sure every post you’re putting out has that goal in mind.”
She adds that one of the biggest mistakes brands make is creating content only for people at the decision-making stage. With so many stages between reading a blog and making a purchase, marketers should have posts geared at users in every stage with corresponding offers. Learn more about that through HubSpot’s business blogging course.
From an SEO perspective, brands may also struggle with generating traffic because they’re thinking blog first, link building second.
“What I often notice is that marketers see ‘blogging’ and ‘link building’ as two different disciplines. First, they write the blog posts, then they think about how to earn backlinks to them,” says Irina Nica, a senior marketing manager at HubSpot who works on product awareness through outreach initiatives. “Instead, they should include linkable assets into their regular content calendar, alongside other types of articles that are maybe designed for generating organic or social media traffic.”
Despite the many benefits we’ve gone over, blogging isn’t always the best strategy for every brand. Why? Well, what if your ideal user persona doesn’t read blogs? What if they prefer emails instead?
“Some brands have great email communication and workflows where they provide people with downloadable offers where they don’t have to go somewhere else to get the information, it’s just in their inbox straight away,” says Mpouma. “You don’t necessarily need a blog as long as you’re offering something in exchange. I think the blog has always been that: Offer something for free in exchange for that user interaction.”