Blogging is back. For brands everywhere 2013 will be the year of the blog. This isn't just what I believe, or general opinion - everyone is saying this now. This is happening for a range of factors. Google cracking down on content farming, spamming, black-hat SEO, and anything which doesn't seem authentic and human. As-well as the crucial importance of high quality engaging content when it comes to brand engagement, especially on social networks. Blogging built some fairly large media empires, including this one, the Huffington Post (bought by AOL for $315m), Mashable, and TechCrunch (also part of AOL), and now blogging is going to be the underwriting the marketing for many businesses during 2013.
Brands are becoming publishers. This is just as important for SME's and startups, as it is for large corporations. Here are three good reasons why 2013 is the year of the Return of the Blog:
1. Authentic. Google have been cracking down lately. It isn't so much that there's a new sheriff in town, but the old sheriff has definitely got himself a big shiny new gun, and some fluffy sidekicks. These sidekicks come in the form of a Panda and Penguin, and the numerous algorithm updates, which has unleashed a world of pain on any websites which either produce or support 'black-hat SEO' tactics.
The only way to keep the wolf, or in this case, Panda, from the door is to play it straight with King Content. Google is now firmly underwriting his reign. A well written, authentic, and authoritative blog will establish your brand as a source of knowledge for what you specialise in.
2. Interesting Now to your primary audience: your customers. We all crave something new. We all want a reason to click on a link, pick up a book or a magazine. We humans are insatiable for new information. We can't help it. Therefore if you write a blog, make sure what you write is relevant, new, and interesting. Google only cares that it is authentic. Your customers care that it is interesting and useful for their lives.
3. Sharing We also all love to share. The major social networks have consolidated their places (albeit with a recent skirmish over filters - see Instagram, Twitter and Flickr), and most brands are learning how to use them effectively. But it still comes down to the basics. No matter how much money you throw at social networks. What really matters is you engage authentically with interesting content. Essentially it comes back to a very old idea of giving the people what they want. With social networks you have an unprecedented to speak direct to your customers unfiltered. Use this opportunity well.
Blogging represents an opportunity. If you are authentic and interesting, you will see numerous benefits, from SEO to greater engagement on social networks. Like any business opportunity there is a cost associated, which is why those who will benefit most will blog smart in 2013.