7 reasons brand blogging beats online advertising

Traditional online advertising is in the doghouse

A little over a decade ago, blogging was something done by individuals, certainly not big brands – or brands of any size, for that matter. Flash forward to today; everyone’s blogging. Yes, individuals and upstarts are still hard at work sharing their opinions, but major news organizations and brands have jumped on board, realizing the many benefits of blogging.

While brand blogging grew in popularity, traditional online advertising has been waning in both popularity and effectiveness. Oh yes, we have programmatic buying and DSPs, but that’s a bit like one computer speaking algorithm to another. The net result is still an ad banner and, barring a few exceptions, that approach simply does not work any more.

I’ve put together the top seven reasons a blog post is beneficial to marketers and why brand blogging is a vast improvement over traditional online ad units.

1. Blog posts are perfectly optimized for search.

A blog post that includes appropriate keywords will get indexed in search engines, giving the marketer the ability to rank for relevant keywords for the brand and thus making it easier for potential customers to find information about the brand. And while placing pay-per-click ads like AdWords in search engines can certainly contribute toward the growth of your brand, blog content is more cost effective and doesn’t disappear when your AdWords campaign ends.

2. Blog posts corral other forms of interesting content.

Blog posts aren’t limited to text. Posts can host images, video, and all kinds of other visual content (like an infographic) that can add more detailed information, creating a fuller, more shareable user experience. While standalone content like YouTube videos, Facebook images, Tweets, Instagram photos, Vines and other forms of social media content can certainly find an audience, a blog post can deliver that content to a much broader audience, while presenting in a way that provides a more robust content offering. Yes, certain banner formats can host multimedia content. But once the campaign is over, much like the aforementioned AdWords, the content is gone. The beauty of a blog post is that it lasts forever. Or at least as long as the marketer pays their hosting bill.

3. Blog posts are easily shared through social media.

By adding social sharing buttons to a blog post, it becomes very easy for readers to share blog content with their followers, which dramatically extends the reach of your content far beyond just your brand’s fans and followers. Online ads, on the other hand, simply (for the most part) aren’t shareable in the same manner as blog content.

4. Blog posts increase traffic to a brand’s website and landing pages.

Since blog posts attract traffic through search engines, social networks, email subscriptions, or syndication, they can positively impact visits to your brand’s product pages, landing pages or any location you choose to highlight in an individual blog post. Yes, if you spend enough money, ads can certainly drive traffic to your brand’s online presence, but why spend all that money when blogging is a more cost-effective alternative?

5. Blog posts are an effective lead qualification mechanism.

A blog post can help naturally qualify leads since the readers who chose to visit a particular blog post did so because they had an interest in the content covered in the blog post. When marketers blog about the very thing their brand stands for and offers, it’s a natural match.

6. Brand blogging encourages brand engagement.

Because blogs naturally allow for reader comment, your brand can engage your customers and prospects, drawing them closer and closer into your stable. It offers the brand, much like Twitter, a mechanism to engage with brand fans or, for that matter, address concerns publicly.

7. Brand blogging can help build an email list.

Readers consume content because they have an interest in it. Many people, because of their jobs and personal lives, have specific, lasting interests. They will naturally seek out content that addresses these interests and if you offer them an easy way to receive this content on a regular basis, they are very likely to do so. By offering email subscription to your blog content, your blog can help you grow your email list and contacts database and you can use that list to offer more content and to offer products or solutions that relate to those interests.

Since marketing these days is all about content- and given a blog’s many content-friendly attributes – it makes perfect sense to ramp up your brand blogging efforts. It’s cost-effective. It has long-lasting SEO benefits. It encourages brand engagement. It can increase traffic and it can generate leads. What’s not to love? Have you blogged today?

Post by Steve Hall

Steve Hall is a marketing professional, publisher, writer, community manager, photographer and all-around lover of advertising. Steve has held management positions in media and account service at Leo Burnett, Starcom/Mediavest and others, working on such accounts as Reebok, Marriott, Monster.com and Marshmallow Fluff.