Since the early 2000s, companies have been finding ways to profit from the traffic generated by blogging. These companies blog have varying strategies, but the goal is always the same: generate profit.

The inbound marketing strategies started with the Internet and personal computing boom in the late ‘90s. Back then, online companies were just starting to see traffic come from various places although traditional word of mouth and offline advertising was used in some of the marquee cases.

As blogging increased in popularity during the early ‘00s, it became apparent that it was possible to create content and have it discovered by people that actually had the intent of consuming content and even making purchasing decisions.

Search Engines

What allowed companies to understand the intent of online users was the emergence of search engines. There were a few players in the early days including Yahoo! and Ask.com, but by the early ‘00s it was clear that Google had the best method for delivering relevant search results for billions of search queries.

As people continue to search for various information across the web, businesses are discovering that by providing information to web users they can gain the attention of people with certain intent.

For people in the research phase of their purchasing decision, a company can create blog posts focused on answering the questions people have regarding purchasing decisions.

The blogging strategy has worked well for multiple forms of business. Some have had more success than others, but there appears to be growing opportunity for any company to take advantage of business blogging.

Business-to-Consumer companies have found ways to mix current news events, trend information, and other forms of content into their blogs to attract the attention of consumers. The web users that find these B2C blogs are often looking for information relating to current trends in various industries or possibly more information on something they have heard from a friend or from a news source.

By blogging about the information people are search for, a company can find users with the intent of discovering information about a certain industry. From here, the company can find themselves top of mind should the consumers work their way down the sales funnel to the point of purchase.

Business-to-Business companies are finding even more success than the B2Cs. It seems that those working in business do a lot of research online when looking for other businesses to partner with and often these folks discover information on websites and blogs when searching.

With a blog, companies whose target customer is a business can provide information decision makers are looking for and see great response to their blogging efforts compared to push marketing tactics.

Social Media

Beyond search, blogging has a big footprint in social media and social sharing. Blog posts containing various content is something people with social media profiles share. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and other social communities allow people to share with their friends, family, and peers.

Social has allowed people to discover content, blogs, and companies. Social is another level of inbound marketing that is allowing businesses to find new ways to include inbound marketing as part of their overall customer acquisition strategy.

But it all starts with the company website and, in most cases, the company blog.

Most often, social media destinations get the most coverage in the media. Yet, subscribing direction to blogging updates via email and RSS is one of the most powerful ways for a company to build a community around their blog and business.

The reason to start a blog is to increase profit. The most likely way to generate profit from a blog is to build a list of subscribers to your updates. The money is in the list. The statement has been true for years of direct marketing and it’s true with blogging.

The only difference with blogging is you have to earn discovery with your target audience and earn their trust to the point where they opt-in to your updates.

The reason your company should blog is to increase long-term company profit.

Acquire Customers and Generate Profit

By committing to blogging and creating valuable blog content, your company is positioned to acquire new customers via:

  1. Search
  2. Social
  3. Subscription

Focus on creating a community around your blog with a list of subscribers. This will be your biggest source of profit from your blogging efforts.

Now it’s time to get started.

The next step: creating your blogging strategy.

Continue reading Chapter 3: Creating Your Business Blogging Strategy