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To Blog or Not To Blog: Good Question

You may feel like the odd man out if you don't have a blog on your Web site, but is a blog really important to your marketing efforts? That's a good question and there is no black-and-white answer. A recent study gives us some interesting data points to consider.

According to Hubspot's The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing report, the percentage of businesses with a blog grew from 48 percent to 65 percent from 2009 to 2011. And while the survey also reported that many (57 percent) of those businesses are indeed generating leads from their blogs, that's not the whole story.

The Benefits of Blogging
Blogging has clearly become a mainstream marketing tactic for organizations that can commit to the demands of writing regular blog posts. Blogging will help you:

  • increase organic search engine rankings,
  • drive online traffic to your Web site,
  • establish your organization as an expert and
  • develop marketing content that you can test and repurpose.

All desirable outcomes, but does that mean you will close more deals if you blog?

Does Blogging Build Your Pipeline?
A critical finding of the Hubspot survey was the direct correlation between frequency of blog posts and customer acquisition. While 89 percent of the survey respondents that post several times a day reported gaining customers through the blog, only 49 percent of those businesses posting monthly had acquired any customers via the blog. Frequency matters.

While this survey is certainly not definitive research, it makes sense that the results from your blog will only be as good as the content that you deliver. If you have more content than you know what to do with and can leak it out onto a blog with regular posts -- sounds like a good plan. If you can't make the commitment to post regularly -- very regularly -- then you should probably focus on other marketing tactics.

Group Blogging
Some partners have found an alternative to single-handedly creating content through group blogging. The ERP Software Blog and CRM Software Blog were two of the first Microsoft partner group blogging sites and combined draw over 30,000 online visitors each month. The brainchild of Anya Ciecierski of CAL Business Solutions, a Dynamics GP partner, and Dave Foreman of Interactive Limited, an SEO consulting firm, the sites harness the power of 75-plus Dynamics partners that share the chore of writing blog posts.

Since joining the group blog, CAL Business Solutions, a Connecticut-based Dynamics GP Gold partner, has seen its Web site traffic increase over 100 percent with 67 percent of FY11 closed deals coming from Web site leads. Even Microsoft has taken note of the sites' success and now syndicates content from the group blogs onto Microsoft customer-facing sites.

Additional blogs serving the entire Microsoft partner community have recently launched, including the SharePoint Blog and the Microsoft Infrastructure Blog. New, but growing quickly, the SharePoint Blog launched March 1, 2011 and in April alone received over 3,000 visitors.

Whether you decide to go it alone or band together, blogging can definitely build confidence in the prospects that find value in your posts. As with any marketing tactic, blogging is a useful tool, but doesn't fit every partner organization.  Focus your marketing efforts on tactics that work for you -- there's plenty of others to choose from.

How do you build and use content for marketing? Please tell me so we can share the knowledge.  

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 18, 2011