In the grand scheme of things, blogging is still a baby. The first blog was created in 1994, not even three decades ago. It wasn’t until 1999 that Blogger launched its free service. Since then, the digital world has experienced an onslaught of new media. More recently, Instagram introduced micro-blogging; instead of turning to a major platform like WordPress, you only have to post a photo and a short description to convey a message. YouTube gives people the tools to create video blogs, while podcasts are a popular form of audio blogging.
These changes beg the question: Does traditional blogging fit into today’s world that’s overrun with a wide variety of advanced media? The short answer is, “yes, it does.” In the face of massively transformative trends in marketing, blogs continue to serve as a reliable platform to connect with your audience in a consistent, interactive, and personal way. Blogging creates invaluable opportunities for learning about your audience. On top of that, blogs can integrate with your social media accounts so that you can take advantage of all sorts of digital production and marketing.
Blogging for Audience Engagement
Blogging is an excellent way to become familiar with your audience and to have them become familiar with you. Your blog posts can encourage readers to leave comments, which lets you have meaningful conversations. Also, by reading through the comments and seeing the questions readers are asking, you’ll discover what your audience wants and develop ideas for future blog posts.
Blogs also offer a way to continually build your brand. The more content you produce, the more your audience will learn about you, which leads to deeper relationships and trust (not to mention word-of-mouth marketing). Not only will you develop a stronger connection with your audience, but you may even develop true friendships or come across collaboration opportunities. Additionally, popular blogs drive traffic to your website, which is excellent for SEO and helps other people discover your blog posts too.
Blogging for Profit
Today, monetizing your blog doesn’t have to mean simply going through Google AdSense (although it can). There are a number of ways to generate income from your blog:
- Create a funnel that leads readers to your product. Your blog post can lead to a subscribe page that has a compelling freebie (in exchange for an email address), or it can direct people right to the product or service you want to sell.
- Market affiliate products. When you sign up with an affiliate platform, like Amazon Associates, you’ll advertise those products on your blogs and get a commission whenever a sale is made using your affiliate link.
- Offer sponsored content opportunities for brands. Once your blog has a decent readership, you can sell sponsored content slots so that companies can advertise via sponsored blog posts.
- Sell your services via content marketing. Your blog can be an introduction to whatever it is you sell. For example, if you provide financial coaching services, your blog posts can offer beginner information that will make readers say, “I need more of this!” You can then encourage them to sign up for a coaching session with you.
In the past, blogs were like online diaries — people used them to share their thoughts but not necessarily market their business. Today, blogs are often used as a marketing tool to grow an audience and increase sales.
Blogging and Social Media
Blogs can be integrated with or inform your content for other types of social media. By using your blog as part of your sales or marketing funnel, you can encourage readers to subscribe to your email lists. You can then send a daily or weekly newsletter reminding your subscribers about your latest blog posts, and also include special offers and links to the products or services you sell. You may also decide to provide your email subscribers with VIP content, such as a FAQ or more in-depth tips they’ll find useful. Also, if you let your subscribers reply to your emails, this is another way to generate back-and-forth communication.
Blogging can smoothly integrate with other types of social media too. For example, you can link to your social media platforms or specific posts in your content or add a video to your blog post. You can also cross-market by referring to your other content in your blog posts and vice versa. For example, use one of your blog posts and newsletters to tease a live video stream, one of the most popular forms of online marketing.
Your blog is a chance for you to use your own voice in order to share your story or offer advice. It’s also an opportunity to build a community of like-minded people. From there, your experience and knowledge will only grow as you learn from your readers and they learn from you. While blogging for personal storytelling is still popular, blogs are also a phenomenal marketing tool.