What do you think when I say blogs, bloggers and blogging? Are you thinking of young, trendy influencers who flaunt their polished lives to a myriad of loyal followers?
In that case, it's time to think a little more nuanced about the blog format. Because a blog can be much more than a showcase for aspiring celebrities.
You can also blog on behalf of your business - whether you're a mover, physiotherapist, carpenter or dentist.
A blog can be a valuable asset for your website in the fight for good search engine rankings. In other words, it can be a vital part of your SEO strategy. And if you play your cards right, your loyal followers can become your loyal customers.
I'll get into that in this blog post about... well, blog posts.
In marketing, you sometimes come across the term "content marketing". We've touched on it before in our guide to writing a good landing page.
Content marketing can be anything from newsletters and guides to podcasts, webinars and videos - and of course blog posts.
Like all marketing, content marketing aims to attract and retain customers. But content marketing also aims to deliver content that benefits the recipient.
In other words, content marketing should create value for your customers - not just for you and your business. It's receiver-oriented marketing.
Content marketing also has a positive side effect: you're rewarded by Google in the form of better rankings in search engine results. Among other things, Google judges a website's content by how relevant it is to the user. And if there's anything Google finds relevant, it's well-written, user-centric, quality content.
So good content marketing doesn't just create value for your customers. Google will also find it valuable - and that can bring more traffic to your website.
It's your experience and expertise that determines the content of your content marketing. You know what creates value for your customers.
You may think it's commercial suicide to hand over your trade secrets to your customers.
As a bike mechanic, you make a living repairing your customers' bikes. If you run a cleaning business, your customers' dirt is your livelihood. And if you're a dentist, your patients' poor oral hygiene pays your rent and salary.
So why on earth would you miss a chance to monetise knowledge that your customers don't have - but you do?
Don't worry. You might miss out on customers in the service you're blogging about. But your clients will come back - or perhaps be convinced that they'd actually rather leave the job to you after reading your advice and getting an insight into your level of professionalism.
Let's pretend you're an avid recreational runner. In a running magazine, you've come across an article about how foot position and weight determine the choice of running shoes. The article makes you wonder if your current and relatively new running shoes are even suitable for you.
So you visit a few sports shops for advice and guidance.
Sports shop 1 is a local shop where the employees are experienced shop assistants with customer care as their first priority.
Sports shop 2 is part of a large chain and the employees are commission-paid salespeople with sales as their first priority.
In the first sports shop, you'll learn that recent research actually shows that it's not running style and weight that determine your choice of running shoes - but rather your personal experience of comfort, quality, cushioning and support. You'll agree with yourself that your current running shoes are actually quite comfortable.
You leave the store without buying anything. But you no longer doubt your running shoes. The visit to the shop gave you value in terms of knowledge and certainty.
In the other sports shop, however, you are told that because of the position and weight of your feet, you should buy the most shock-absorbing, supportive and expensive running shoes in the shop. You start to wonder whether the clerk in the first shop was right.
So you leave the store with a new pair of shoes - and a few thousand dollars less in your bank account. But after a few runs in the new shoes, you find out that your old running shoes were actually just as good.
So the visit to the shop gave you no value - on the contrary. On the contrary, you are 2000 DKK poorer.
Which shop will you return to next time you need to buy sports equipment? Where you got advice that gave you value, of course.
Similarly, if you are generous with the advice on your blog, your readers will return to your business.
Blogging is an excellent opportunity to do link building, which is probably one of the most important SEO activities.
If you're not sure what link building is, I highly recommend reading Webamp's post "What do ancient Rome and link building have in common?".
In a nutshell, link building is the process of building bridges between pages - both internally between sub-pages of a website and externally between different websites.
Internal link building is the work of building links between the different subpages on your own website, while external link building is the work of getting (quality) links from other sites - the so-called backlinks.
Internal link building helps to create coherence between the subpages of your website and to enhance the user experience. A website with good internal consistency is also more likely to be understood by Google.
External link building is also highly effective in driving traffic to your website because it tells Google that your website is relevant and of high quality. However, external link building is a somewhat more difficult discipline, as you are not in control of whether others will link to your site. But it's not impossible.
Let me give you a few examples of how you can use your blog for both internal and external link building.
A dental clinic has a website. On the website there is a menu entitled "treatments", which has a number of menu items, each with its corresponding subpage. For example, there is a page on dental check-ups, one on caries treatment, etc.
The clinic also has a blog on its website. Here the staff give advice to their patients and others interested in dentistry. Of course, the blog is meant to create value for readers. But it can also be used for internal link building.
Let's say the clinic writes a blog post with toothbrushing tips. Here, it would make sense for the post to link to the subpages on caries and dental check-ups - and vice versa.
Of course, it's not just dentists who can use their blog for internal link building. Whatever industry you're in, there will be plenty of opportunities to create links between the pages of your website with a blog.
As mentioned, external link building is much more difficult because it requires a high quality of your blog if other sites are to link to it. But it pays off if you succeed. Google rewards so-called quality links with better rankings - and punishes "bad" links with the opposite.
An example of a quality link is a link to a restaurant's website in the online version of Politiken's iCity section. Here, a credible source is behind the link to the website. Google likes that.
An example of a bad link is a link on a so-called private blogging network (PBN). PBNs are, in short, fake blogs that web agencies use exclusively to link to their clients' websites.
In other words, PBNs are used exclusively to disguise links as informative blog posts. These pseudo-blog posts are also known as "link building articles". Google doesn't like those very much.
I myself have written countless link building articles for just as many PBNs when I worked for another web agency. And I almost dare say that not one of them has ever been read.
PBNs are a no go. But how do you get links to your blog and your website?
Of course, you need to produce quality content that, trusted sources deem, is relevant to your target audience. And that requires, first and foremost, your own expertise and knowledge of your industry.
Well-chosen keywords are an important part of your SEO strategy. For example, if you have a cleaning company in Copenhagen, an obvious keyword would be "cleaning Copenhagen".
The problem is that there are many cleaning companies in Copenhagen. And they're all trying to get on the first place with the keyword "cleaning Copenhagen". Therefore, it takes a serious game of SEO to get a first place on a generic keyword with many monthly searches.
Because the more competition you face, the more you have to do to get - and keep - a good position in search engines. And the more common your service is in your local area, the harder it will be to get to the front of the queue on Google - or Bing and Yahoo for that matter.
According to the SEO tool Ahrefs, there are 450 monthly searches for "cleaning Copenhagen". But competition is high, and there is therefore competition for page 1 on Google
Sometimes it pays to be humble. Of course, you can go after many visitors with a generic keyword with thousands of monthly searches.
But competition can actually make it more attractive to target a smaller audience - and in turn increase the chances of being found.
It's a bit like trying to win the first prize in the Lotto. Here, the chance of winning the big prize is 1/10,000,000. If, on the other hand, you're going for a more modest prize, the chances of winning are almost infinitely greater.
Similarly, it pays not to be too greedy in the battle for a first place on Google. There may be 10,000 potential customers for a keyword like "cleaning Copenhagen".
But if you don't reach any of them, it's clearly more beneficial to go for a smaller but more reachable audience with a more specific and longer keyword. This could be, for example: "How do I remove limescale from the grout in my bathroom?".
These kinds of longer, specific keywords are called "long tail keywords". And you can use them in your texts if you want potential customers to visit your website.
The readers you reach with long tail keywords will also typically be elsewhere in the customer journey. Often they haven't decided to buy a product or service yet - but may simply need a need met.
By targeting keywords people google in the early part of the customer journey, you're potentially nurturing your readers for the final stage of the buying process - where they actually decide to buy.
You can read more about keyword selection in relation to the customer journey in Webamp's post on keyword analysis.
For a page to be found for a keyword, the keyword must appear on the page a certain number of times. However, making a long tail keyword fit into the text of a landing page or product page can be a bit clumsy and forced.
For example, the keyword "how do I remove limescale from the grout in my bathroom?" would be hard to get to appear x number of times in the text of a sub-page on private cleaning.
Using the keyword in a blog post, on the other hand, will be organic. And at the same time, you're creating value for Google users who search for that specific phrase.
To take a masonry company, a bicycle mechanic, a dentist and a webshop selling writing articles as examples, long tail keywords could be:
Of course, there will be more searches for the generic keyword "ballpoint pen" than for the more specific "best left-handed ballpoint pen". Therefore, the long and specific keyword will not attract as much traffic as the short one.
In turn, the traffic it attracts will be highly relevant.
You may know the feeling of landing on a website that makes you think of a ghost town from a western. You can almost see the wind witches blowing across the screen and hear the wind howling hauntingly in the deserted recesses.
It certainly seems like the website hasn't been updated in months - maybe years. And you're beginning to doubt whether the company behind it even exists anymore.
Do you want to stay on the website? No, right?
Why waste your time on a careless website? If the company behind it can't even be bothered to look after its website, surely it can't be bothered to look after its customers.
Your potential customers also won't want to stick around on your website if it exudes loneliness and a lack of care from you and the rest of your business.
It may seem a bit rushed to keep updating your website with new subpages if you already have subpages for all your services.
For example, let's say you have a law firm specialising in family and inheritance law. For you, it would make sense to have a sub-page on prenuptial agreements, one on wills, one on probate and one on parental responsibility if those are the four areas you work in.
So how can you keep your website alive if it's already up to date with all your services?
The answer is of course: blog posts.
Give your website a much-needed blood transfusion and renewed vitality with a few monthly blog posts. You know your industry inside and out, and you certainly have a lot on your mind. After all, you already use your knowledge of your profession in your work every day.
So transfer your knowledge from your everyday life to the website by writing good and relevant blog posts. This will ensure that your website always appears updated and up to date. And that makes it more attractive.
You can compare it to having to choose a place to buy your Christmas presents. On the one hand, you have the opportunity to shop in Magasin on the first Saturday after payday. On the other hand, you have a deserted pedestrian street in a provincial town where half the shops have long since turned over a new leaf.
You don't need a degree in marketing economics to figure out that the first scenario has the best chance of meeting your buying needs. Similarly, your visitors will have more confidence that your business can meet their needs if your website is always updated with new and varied content.
And there's an added bonus to updating your website regularly: your website will rank higher in search engines.
Because Google's algorithms reward fresh content and information. A website that is frequently updated radiates activity and interaction.
Of course you want to attract visitors to your website. But if they click away as quickly as they clicked in, their visit isn't worth much.
You can compare it to a visit to a clothing store. You go into the shop to buy a new pair of gloves. But you discover that the store is out of gloves. Then you leave the shop again. Why on earth would you stay when the shop doesn't have what you need?
If the store had a large selection of gloves, you would have stayed longer and perhaps tried on more different gloves. You might even have bought other products because you discovered during your stay that the shop actually had more to offer than just gloves.
The same goes for visitors to your website. They won't stick around if your website doesn't have content that's relevant to them. Conversely, valuable and informative content will reassure them that your site is indeed worth a visit and a longer stay.
In SEO we talk about "dwell time". It is a term used to describe the time between a visitor clicking on the link to a website on Google and clicking back on the search results.
A low dwell time means that the visitor quickly clicks away from your page again. A high dwell time, on the other hand, means the visitor stays on your page for longer - and that's something Google rewards.
A high dwell time is also an indication that the visitor found what he was looking for. The website has therefore created value for the user.
Therefore, you should always strive to make visitors to your website stick around.
Of course, you need to write compelling blog posts that are relevant to the user - blog posts that make the user want to stay on your site.
Quality content that is relevant to visitors is one of the best tools to keep them on the site. So a good blog can help boost dwell time on your website.
If you're looking for inspiration to write your first blog post, read my guide for the aspiring copywriter.
Do you find it hard to find time to blog in a busy day? Or do you just not know where or how to start?
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.