Content marketing efforts seem to grow in complexity and scope every year.
And since blogging has been around for a long time in some ways, this leads many to ask the question: “Are blogs outdated?”
Well, our answer is that blogging is still valuable, but some decisive things have changed and you need to be aware of it.
Especially if your blog has fallen by the wayside or you’re not getting the results you once did.
So, buckle up, and let’s explore in this blog post why blogging still matters in your strategies.
Quick note: We’re writing this text from the perspective of business blogging, not personal or lifestyle blogging.
If you’re running a cooking blog or a hobby blog, you can still gain insights from the content below (especially if you’re trying to monetize).
Understand though that we’re writing primarily to a business audience that’s blogging for the purposes of SERP rankings, organic traffic, and lead gen.
So, Are Blogs Outdated?
Consider this: you’re here, right now, in 2021 (or beyond), reading this blog. And you’re not the only one.
Now take a step back and answer this question: how did you get to this post?
Maybe you’re a Rock Content superfan. You visit our site daily or weekly and consume every last resource we produce. If so, you’re the real rock star!
But we’re realists here. We know that’s just not how blog content works most of the time.
Chances are, you got here because you had a question. Very likely, that question was some variation of “are blogs outdated” or “is blogging still important” — something in that world, right?
You asked your search engine of choice, and it brought you here. To a blog.
A blog that is going to clearly and authoritatively answer your search intent.
(In fact, if we’re doing it right, we were the top result or even captured a snippet!)
So, basically, blogs aren’t outdated because they still do exactly the two things they’re intended to do:
- Provide the information searchers are looking for.
- Get searchers onto your site (and into your brand).
No matter what you’re doing, making, selling or offering, you need to grow traffic and grow leads, and blogging remains a highly effective way to do that — as long as you’re doing it the right way.
Other Benefits of Blogging
Getting searchers to your website is the biggest and most important thing blogging can do for you, but there are plenty of other benefits you can (still) realize through blogging.
Google rewards fresh content (and so do your readers)
First, blogging is one of the simplest ways to regularly add fresh content to your website.
And this matters, because Google rewards sites that have fresh content (as do the other search engines).
Simply by adding new content regularly, your site rises in search rankings.
How a search engine results page, or SERP, works is a complex topic that we’ve covered elsewhere.
But the short version is this: Google wants to provide the best answers to searchers. Rarely is that best answer on a site that hasn’t been updated in four years.
That said, pleasing Google is only one part of the equation. You also need to please your actual human audience.
And that human audience, as it happens, also likes fresh content.
Think about it: do you have any reason to visit a site that hasn’t added anything new since last week?
Not every business website wants or needs visitors to return regularly. But if you’re selling anything directly, you definitely do.
Blogging (if you do it well) generates regular, meaningful, interesting content for your readers, giving them another reason to come back.
Turn searchers into prospects and leads
It’s common to talk about the primary goal of blogging as increasing page views and site visits.
But what you’re really after are leads and customers, not just random visits.
When you target your blog posts effectively, you don’t just draw in random internet searchers. You draw in people who are strong prospects, with the intent of turning them into customers.
Here’s an example. Say you’re a lawn care business, and you decide you want to increase web traffic, so you create a business blog.
You brainstorm about the kinds of questions or problems your ideal customer might have, and from there, you turn some of these into blog posts.
You don’t blog about motorcycles, politics, or pizza.
You blog about things closely tied to your industry, and you focus on answering questions your ideal customer might have.
Done well, blogging turns searchers into prospects, leads, and even customers.
Blogging provides great soft sales opportunities
Again, companies vary pretty widely in how they use their blogs.
But the vast majority of blogging businesses use at least some posts for soft sales, and this is a very smart tactic.
Many effective blog posts end with some kind of call to action.
The best of these are tied closely to the search intent behind the blog post and also tie directly to something you sell, offer, or do.
Let’s go back to your hypothetical lawn care business. Maybe you create a blog post that answers the query “why is my lawn turning brown?”.
Given what you do for a living, you probably already know five or six reasons this could happen. Put them into the blog post as a way to provide value and establish authority.
Of course, some of the points of this blog are going to be things the searchers can try themselves. But others should be services your company offers.
So, for the call to action, bring it back to your business, positioning your company as the solution to the searcher’s problem.
That’s a soft sale: you provided real value to the searcher, and you’re also in a position to sell your services as the ultimate solution.
Are ALL Blogs Relevant?
Blogging is still highly relevant for businesses, but not all blogging is equally effective.
Some companies see results from their blogging efforts (organic search traffic, lead generation, SERP improvements, and so on).
But other companies aren’t reaping these benefits much if at all.
Obviously, you want to be in the first category, not the second. And if you already know that you’re not getting results from your blogging efforts, it’s time to make a change.
Thankfully, the reasons why blogging works for some and not for others are not secret.
1. You Need to Understand SEO Basics
First, for your blogging to be as effective as it can be, you need to understand at least the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Of course, the more you know, the better. But even knowing some fundamental principles can take your blog from disappointing to performing.
We’ve created several other posts that explore SEO basics, both in general and for B2B SEO. We won’t repeat all that content here, but we’ll toss out a few examples.
First, search intent
Google doesn’t care about your business, in a sense. It cares about accurately resolving search intent.
If a searcher asks that question about brown spots on their lawn, they don’t want an article about cherry tomatoes or unicycles.
They also don’t want an article that casually mentions brown spots on a lawn and then veers off in an unrelated direction.
They definitely don’t want an article on brown skin spots, brown spots on bananas, dog breeds with brown-spotted fur, or anything else brown-spot-related that doesn’t have to do with their lawn.
They want an article that clearly, authoritatively explains why they might be dealing with brown spots on their lawn.
Your writing needs to be strategic in which keywords it uses, including semantically related phrases.
In the brown spots article, “brown spots” would certainly be the target keyword.
Semantically related phrases could include the long-tail phrase “why does my yard have brown spots” or “how to fix brown spots in my lawn” — these are how Google might differentiate people looking for dog content vs. lawn content.
Other important keywords might include, well, whatever the top three or four causes of brown spots actually are (hey, we’re content people, not lawn specialists).
Honestly, this can get very complex, but you don’t necessarily have to dive into that complexity.
If you write an article that is genuinely high in quality and that stays focused on your primary keyword, you’ll naturally pick up enough of the semantically related words and phrases most of the time.
2. You Need to Measure Your Blogging Results
To know whether your blog is making a difference, you need to measure your blogging results.
- Are you getting organic traffic?
- What’s your click-through rate for CTAs on your posts?
- How well are you ranking for your most important keywords?
Your measurements can reveal a lot about what’s working and what isn’t.
They can also be a great starting point for a conversation with an outside agency or partner.
How Can You Update Your Blog?
If your blog efforts are faltering — or just aren’t delivering the results you’re wanting — perhaps it’s time to make some updates.
So try these five strategies to renew your blog:
Increase authority via length
Google increasingly favors pages with authority.
This can mean a lot of things, some of which are hard to control as a writer or content strategist.
But two things you can control: length and quality. We’ll start with length.
Google unquestionably favors longer-form content.
How long exactly depends on the topic and what the competition is doing. But in most industries, 500-word blog posts just aren’t cutting it anymore.
Increase authority via quality
Quality is the other authority component you can directly control.
Google’s algorithms are advanced enough now to tell a well-written post from a poorly written one.
Make sure to write with impeccable grammar, and vary your vocabulary and sentence length.
Write for snippets
Ranking well on Google can be highly complicated. But not if you get a snippet.
Google’s current incarnation of search results often surfaces a snippet, a box right in the search results that pulls in a definition, a list of instructions, or some other targeted answer to the query.
Try this out with some searches to see what we mean. Often, the snippet will be a straightforward definition, or a bulleted or numbered list.
Think about what the snippet for your keyword would probably look like, then write the best one.
If you can capture a snippet, you’ll shoot to the top of the search results.
Visuals and video
Which is better: a great text-only blog post, or that same blog post, enhanced with visuals and video?
You know the answer, and so do the search engines.
As much as your budget allows, include strategic visuals and even video in your posts.
Use a marketing management system to keep everything straight
The more you invest in your blog, the harder it gets to keep all your content straight.
You’ll be assigning pieces to various resources, creating a content calendar, and a lot more. You need the right tool to keep everything organized.
Rock Studio, for example, is a top-of-class marketing management solution that combines the best of project management and collaboration into one content-focused tool.
If you don’t have a solution in place yet, check out what Rock Studio can do for you.
Wrap Up: Blogging is Far From Dead
In fact, it doesn’t even show any signs of slowing down.
It remains a vital strategy for businesses of all sizes in all kinds of industries for the many reasons we’ve discussed here.
Want to know more about blog creation with the most widely-used content management system in the world?
Take a deeper dive with our WordPress Guide for Corporate Blogs!