A regularly updated blog full of compelling content is absolutely essential to inbound marketing success. The Bradford Group’s own website is proof.
Before we started blogging regularly, the traffic rank for our site was around #20 million – which means, if we were lucky, the Bradford Group might turn up on the sixth or seventh page of a search for “Nashville PR Firms.” Today, we’re on the first page of results for this search and our traffic ranking is under #2 million. Only two competitors rank higher than us, and both are larger firms. (We do rank higher than the largest PR firm in Nashville, however.)
Blogging is key to the first step of inbound marketing – getting potential customers to your website.
Inbound marketing is basically a three-step cycle: 1) Attract potential customers to your website. 2) Persuade them to click on a call to action so that you can capture their contact information, especially their email addresses. 3) Follow up with an automated email campaign that is responsive to their activity, such as what they viewed on your website, and that entices them back to your site with links to more information they might find helpful. Then the cycle starts over.
Blogging is key to Step Number #1 of getting them to your site in the first place. Why? Because Google is continually tweaking its search algorithm to assure that searches deliver exactly the content you are seeking. It looks for regularly updated, highly valuable content. So give Google and your potential customers what they want with your blog.
“…blogging is more important than ever,” says digital marketer Diane S. Thieke. “Not only does it add new, fresh content consistently to your website, which will improve your freshness score, but it also gives you something to talk about and share within your social communities. This, in turn, will generate more inbound links to your website, raising your credibility rating, another factor that boosts search engine rankings.”
Our company’s goal is to post two blogs a week, and we usually meet this goal via a very simple approach: we ask each of our 10 staff members to blog once a month. Blogging once a month is quite doable for just about anyone (though I have fallen down on the job recently due to the time demands of building out our new offices in the Fifth & Main mixed use complex, where we are moving in about two weeks). But, undependability of the CEO aside, our simple approach to blogging has allowed us to amass 367 website pages that are indexed by all the major search engines and moving our traffic ranking from around #20 million to #1,977,486, a 20-fold improvement.
If we doubled our blogging output to four times per week, we would likely increase our traffic even more dramatically. According to research by inbound marketing software company Hubspot, businesses that blog 16 to 20 times per month get over two times more traffic than those who blog less than four times per month. Those who blogged at least 20 times per month had five times more traffic than those who blogged less than four times per month. (You can get the complete results of Hubspot’s inbound marketing research on our website by clicking here. The Bradford Group is the only full-service PR firm in Nashville that is a certified Hubspot partner, by the way.)
Of course, what you write about is as important, or more so, than how often you write. Good blog posts are focused around keywords that someone might use to find your website. This blog is obviously promoting the keywords of “inbound marketing” and “blogging” – two things the Bradford Group does very well.
Because we are very good at what we do, we are growing rapidly. In 2013, our staff grew from six to ten people, and a key purpose of our blogging was finding good people to hire. It worked. The blogs we posted in 2013 about hiring new people were by far the most read. In fact, of the Bradford Group’s top five blogs posts in 2013, four were about our search for great new employees or profiles of the new people we hired. (The fifth most popular blog of 2013 was about the history of PR in Nashville, which includes a “family tree” infographic tracing the evolution of our industry.)
Here, in order of popularity, are the topics of the Bradford Group’s top 50 blogs in 2013:
- Search for new team members
- Our new offices at Fifth & Main
- Blogs about our team
- Media relations
- What PR is
- Event Management
- What good writing is
- Social Media
- Reputation Management
- Inbound Marketing
- Public Speaking
The fact that “Inbound Marketing” and “Blogging” were two of the least popular topics last year may give you an idea about why this blog is about this topic – and why we have charged all the other Groupies to also blog about these topics. We want to raise our profile in these areas, and, given the success of our blog, I am confident that we will.