Using Your Corporate Blog As A Social Media Hub
Is Your Blog Your Social Media Hub?
Is Your Blog Your Social Media Hub?
by

Corporate blog expert Debbie Weil has asked the question, “Should blogging be the hub of your social media efforts?” Tomorrow afternoon, Jay Baer and Chris Baggott will take a stab at answering that in a Compendium Blogware webinar of the same name. Sign up now. Seats are limited.

While Debbie has a fantastic discussion going on in the comments section of the post mentioned above, I thought it appropriate to talk a bit about the hub theory of blogging and ensure the notion is looked upon in the proper perspective.

First, we need to assume that we’re talking about blogging for business or corporations. This differs from personal/hobby or media blogs because with each you have slightly different purposes, goals and outcomes of success.

Hub and spoke
Image by base10 via Flickr

Personal blogs are ego driven. They are either personal opinion platforms for the author or the content is almost solely what the author chooses to write. Hobby blogs are much the same. Media blogs are focused on driving content around an audience’s needs or interests to draw eyeballs and increase exposure to the site’s advertising. The best corporate blogs are focused on driving business success while serving the audience’s needs.

As an example, look at Fairytale Brownies. They have a corporate blog which has a prescribed goal of winning search results around specific keywords. Their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube presences clearly drive people back to the blog for more information (along with other site-specific content that serves its respective community there). The blog is clearly their hub for connecting with customers.

If you visited their blog in February, you found specific calls to action for Valentine’s Day themed promotions. When you clicked through, you were taken to custom landing pages to buy Valentine’s Day brownies for your loved one. With similar approaches around the year (see St. Patrick’s Day ideas there now), Fairytale Brownies have driven thousands of visitors to their e-commerce site and report an impressive 13 percent conversion rate among those visitors to qualified leads. While they do not disclose specific financials, they have shared a 170 percent return on their investment in business blogging.

The reason (though I’m sure Baggott wants me to tell you it’s because they use Compendium) is because their blog is a hub for their social media efforts. They do participate genuinely on Facebook and Twitter, answering specific questions, thanking fans and the like, but continually bring the focus of the company’s social media efforts back to the blog and e-commerce opportunities. The clear focus to drive customers to the blog, thus giving them the options to click through and purchase is what drives their online success.

Can social outposts be your hubs? Sure. Are they as effective? I don’t think so. You can control you blog completely. Focusing that content on winning search results is easier to execute than on Facebook or Twitter. The more search traffic you can drive, coupled with the social media traffic you move from your outposts, the more your efforts are optimized.

For more, check out the webinar with Jay and Chris tomorrow. It’s free and will certainly be full of great information.

In the meantime, what do you think? Is a blog best used as the hub of your social media efforts? What about focusing your activities on Facebook or Twitter? The comments, as always, are yours.

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About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
  • These are some great points. I forgot to e-mail as an option to capture the benefits of a blog. I may have to explore some of these changes.I would like to add a Webinar Whitehorse, which highlights how blogs and content management in general a little easier.

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  • Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

  • Hi Jason,

    Thank you for the post, it is clearly a topic that deserves discussion…

    In my opinion, having your customers come back to YOUR blog is the most important thing that you can achieve. If you can get people their, they are in your “home court.” I say this with the caveat that your blog and website need to be seamlessly integrated (WordPress, etc) so that your traffic does not have to leave one site to go to the other (very low brand consistency).

    My opinion is so heavily swayed to having your customers come to your site (especially for sites with ecommerce) because that's where the point of purchase is. Period. If you can't make a sale in your distribution channel, I will have a difficult time finding purpose in it.

  • Yuws01

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer! I will bookmark your blog and have my children check up here often. Thumbs up!

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  • Actually I like its honest answer but in my case blogging is a best way to promote a business and using social media is the tools and techniques to do that successfully.

  • It all depends on your goals. There will be an audience on each that
    appreciates you driving people back to your blog, and there will the those
    that think it's promotional and spammy. As long as you mix in plenty of
    other sharing, you'll be fine. But it's worth it to see if there are more
    specific focal points you can use with Facebook and Twitter. Ask yourself if
    your audience on each network is a little different, if so how and cater
    your content to them based on those results. Thanks for the comment.

  • twentieslife

    I've been having trouble figuring out this balancing act myself. I most often just use twitter and facebook to push readers back to my blog, but I'm wondering if there is merit in using those outlets to build a community on their own tools, rather than just using them as a funnel back to my blog.

  • twentieslife

    I've been having trouble figuring out this balancing act myself. I most often just use twitter and facebook to push readers back to my blog, but I'm wondering if there is merit in using those outlets to build a community on their own tools, rather than just using them as a funnel back to my blog.

    • It all depends on your goals. There will be an audience on each that
      appreciates you driving people back to your blog, and there will the those
      that think it's promotional and spammy. As long as you mix in plenty of
      other sharing, you'll be fine. But it's worth it to see if there are more
      specific focal points you can use with Facebook and Twitter. Ask yourself if
      your audience on each network is a little different, if so how and cater
      your content to them based on those results. Thanks for the comment.

  • Great point, Ralph. There's so much good and bad to consider when you look
    at marketing through the lens of search engine optimization. Unfortunately,
    too few companies understand it or prioritize it. Great thoughts. Thanks for
    commenting.

  • Great to see that the 'uncontrolled platforms' trend is relative when a blog can function as hub. It does guarantee a stable channel whereas API's change constantly and seem unfit to keep information available over a longer period of time through interlinking between platforms. Resulting dead links are a major pain in my opinion.

  • Great to see that the 'uncontrolled platforms' trend is relative when a blog can function as hub. It does guarantee a stable channel whereas API's change constantly and seem unfit to keep information available over a longer period of time through interlinking between platforms. Resulting dead links are a major pain in my opinion.

    • Great point, Ralph. There's so much good and bad to consider when you look
      at marketing through the lens of search engine optimization. Unfortunately,
      too few companies understand it or prioritize it. Great thoughts. Thanks for
      commenting.

  • Well said, Annelie. I tend to agree with you. A blog does need to be your
    hub IF you have certain goals in mind. (Search wins, on-site engagement,
    etc.) If not, your hub certainly can be elsewhere. Thanks for the comment.

  • You truly open up a for a great discussion here Jason. Personally, I'm not sure that the blog necessarly needs to be the hub for you social interactions, but I do think that everyone should define a hub. Because it makes it easier for the followers, reader or commenters to know were do go to for information. Though I does not have to be the blog, I think there are many good reasons for it to be, as you can freely do what you want on your blog and anyone could visit. On the other hand it could be very useful to have the facebook page as the hub, since you constanlty remind people of you precens as you show up on their feed, and they do not have to redirect themselves to find you. I'm sure that there are other aguments for other option, but my point it; hub= defintely, place: optional.

  • You truly open up a for a great discussion here Jason. Personally, I'm not sure that the blog necessarly needs to be the hub for you social interactions, but I do think that everyone should define a hub. Because it makes it easier for the followers, reader or commenters to know were do go to for information. Though I does not have to be the blog, I think there are many good reasons for it to be, as you can freely do what you want on your blog and anyone could visit. On the other hand it could be very useful to have the facebook page as the hub, since you constanlty remind people of you precens as you show up on their feed, and they do not have to redirect themselves to find you. I'm sure that there are other aguments for other option, but my point it; hub= defintely, place: optional.

    • Well said, Annelie. I tend to agree with you. A blog does need to be your
      hub IF you have certain goals in mind. (Search wins, on-site engagement,
      etc.) If not, your hub certainly can be elsewhere. Thanks for the comment.

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  • Well, it is brownies.com. Heh. Thanks Christian.

  • Nice post. Driving traffic through relevant posts is a great way to get business. But still it's not everyone's cup of tea. Content has to be entertaining both, target audience and search engines. Plus I think twitter doesn't cater to every industry. Or does it?

    Btw, I've read about FairyTale Brownies before as well. How come people end up quoting this website every time? Must be good :)

  • Nice post. Driving traffic through relevant posts is a great way to get business. But still it's not everyone's cup of tea. Content has to be entertaining both, target audience and search engines. Plus I think twitter doesn't cater to every industry. Or does it?

    Btw, I've read about FairyTale Brownies before as well. How come people end up quoting this website every time? Must be good :)

  • Thank you for the link my man! Much appreciated. I'll revisit it over the weekend or early next week.

  • It will be availble. http://compendium.com/resources is the URL, I think.
    There's a Webinars tab there. Not sure how quick it'll be up, but it'll be
    up soon.

    And thanks for the case study share of what you do, Ricardo. Awesome to hear
    from someone doin' it, my man. Keep on keepin' on.

  • Wish I had read this yesterday to catch the webinar today. Will there be a recording available?

    Re: “Is a blog best used as the hub of your social media efforts?”

    Yes, I think so. As much as one might focus their activities on networks like Facebook and Twitter, the end goal is always to get people to your site (traffic) and convert site visitors into sales (at least that's the end goal for me). For my real estate clients, it's the same thing. The goal is to get more site visitors so that those visitors subscribe and search for homes using the IDX on their site. That leads to conversions (from prospect to interested home-buyer).

    I use Facebook to keep up-to-date on the personal/professional lives of friends/colleagues/clients. Before an event, I check in with people who are in the city of the event I'll be attending (call it research so I know what's going on in people's lives).

    With respect to Twitter, well… I talk a little bit too much. Share content (sometimes automated; yes, I do that on occassion…), connect socially, rant, etc. It's leads to conversations often times with people who have seen me speak. They ask a question via DM and viola, you have a prospect.

    But still, at the end of the day. The focus is on creating content for the site to drive people to the site (the blog). Because when they're there, they're more apt to drop a question, leave a comment, subscribe and/or pick up the phone and call.

  • Wish I had read this yesterday to catch the webinar today. Will there be a recording available?

    Re: “Is a blog best used as the hub of your social media efforts?”

    Yes, I think so. As much as one might focus their activities on networks like Facebook and Twitter, the end goal is always to get people to your site (traffic) and convert site visitors into sales (at least that's the end goal for me). For my real estate clients, it's the same thing. The goal is to get more site visitors so that those visitors subscribe and search for homes using the IDX on their site. That leads to conversions (from prospect to interested home-buyer).

    I use Facebook to keep up-to-date on the personal/professional lives of friends/colleagues/clients. Before an event, I check in with people who are in the city of the event I'll be attending (call it research so I know what's going on in people's lives).

    With respect to Twitter, well… I talk a little bit too much. Share content (sometimes automated; yes, I do that on occassion…), connect socially, rant, etc. It's leads to conversations often times with people who have seen me speak. They ask a question via DM and viola, you have a prospect.

    But still, at the end of the day. The focus is on creating content for the site to drive people to the site (the blog). Because when they're there, they're more apt to drop a question, leave a comment, subscribe and/or pick up the phone and call.

    • It will be availble. http://compendium.com/resources is the URL, I think.
      There's a Webinars tab there. Not sure how quick it'll be up, but it'll be
      up soon.

      And thanks for the case study share of what you do, Ricardo. Awesome to hear
      from someone doin' it, my man. Keep on keepin' on.

      • Thank you for the link my man! Much appreciated. I'll revisit it over the weekend or early next week.

  • Hi Jason, Can you be a tad more specific? Thanks!

  • And conversations are central to social media success. Still, for business
    results, you need to funnel folks along the spokes to the hub to provide
    them with content, value or even relevant calls to action to convert them
    into leads, customers, etc. Twitter is an outpost you use to do that. If
    you're not inviting people to your blog or website at some point in those
    conversations, you probably aren't getting the most efficient use out of the
    effort.

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  • Great points, Jason. In theory my company's corporate blog (blog.tamar.com) is the hub of our social media efforts. But, social media is about engaging in conversations, right? We seem to engage in more conversations with brand partners and our industry peers through Twitter.

  • Great points, Jason. In theory my company's corporate blog (blog.tamar.com) is the hub of our social media efforts. But, social media is about engaging in conversations, right? We seem to engage in more conversations with brand partners and our industry peers through Twitter.

    • And conversations are central to social media success. Still, for business
      results, you need to funnel folks along the spokes to the hub to provide
      them with content, value or even relevant calls to action to convert them
      into leads, customers, etc. Twitter is an outpost you use to do that. If
      you're not inviting people to your blog or website at some point in those
      conversations, you probably aren't getting the most efficient use out of the
      effort.

  • I do, so long as you're using those social outposts for more than just blog
    pimping. The outposts are great to interact beyond blog comments and build
    relationships as well. Thanks for sharing J.

  • Hi Jason,

    Thank you for your food. For thought.

    I follow the John Janscht method; I use http://www.TheFranchiseKing.com as my “hub.” I focus on my blog for content, and then spread that content out to the social media sites that matter.

    Do you like that way of doing things?

  • Hi Jason,

    Thank you for your food. For thought.

    I follow the John Janscht method; I use http://www.TheFranchiseKing.com as my “hub.” I focus on my blog for content, and then spread that content out to the social media sites that matter.

    Do you like that way of doing things?

    • I do, so long as you're using those social outposts for more than just blog
      pimping. The outposts are great to interact beyond blog comments and build
      relationships as well. Thanks for sharing J.

  • I love the notion Steve talked about there and think it's certainly viable
    for some businesses, but when you consider the value and opportunity you
    throw away by not trying to capture search results with a corporate blog,
    going Facebook first is a short-sighted and foolish strategy, in my opinion.
    Still, for some, it's relevant. At least for now.

  • Interesting discussion so far, has anybody looked over http://www.steverubel.com/ads-drop-dot-com-urls… for a completely opposite opinion? Steve still maintains the hub and spoke option, but seems to think that it will eventually fracture into many hubs and spokes.

    I believe that it ultimately comes back to authority and trust. Just because you can create content on multiple social networks doesn't mean that content will be relevant or helpful. Engagement with your constituents is critical, but that engagement must come within an expected context. People come to your website expecting to find out about you, but if they run into you in a restaurant there is normally a moment of awkwardness. Is your business worth that risk? Maybe, and maybe not. Only you can answer that…

  • Interesting discussion so far, has anybody looked over http://www.steverubel.com/ads-drop-dot-com-urls… for a completely opposite opinion? Steve still maintains the hub and spoke option, but seems to think that it will eventually fracture into many hubs and spokes.

    I believe that it ultimately comes back to authority and trust. Just because you can create content on multiple social networks doesn't mean that content will be relevant or helpful. Engagement with your constituents is critical, but that engagement must come within an expected context. People come to your website expecting to find out about you, but if they run into you in a restaurant there is normally a moment of awkwardness. Is your business worth that risk? Maybe, and maybe not. Only you can answer that…

    • I love the notion Steve talked about there and think it's certainly viable
      for some businesses, but when you consider the value and opportunity you
      throw away by not trying to capture search results with a corporate blog,
      going Facebook first is a short-sighted and foolish strategy, in my opinion.
      Still, for some, it's relevant. At least for now.

  • Excellent points, Mike. Well said. It's a great reminder that the tools
    change. The website/blog can remain consistent and tie it all together. Nice
    points.

  • With the rate at which social media morphs and changes, your blog HAS to be the social media hub for your business. While other platforms serve well as outposts in the areas that people have already populated, you as a business are still playing by someone else's rules. If those rules change (and they will), you are then forced to adapt and evolve your tactics. If your activity in social media stems from your blog, you make the rules, you set the expectations, and the only authority you have to answer to (aside from your audience) is yourself.

    The beauty of leveraging a blog as your social media hub is that you can also use it as a launch point into other pieces of your business. Whether that's signing up for a newsletter or purchasing something from a store, the opportunity to set the right context for each situation is much better than what you're given on an outpost. Just as Chris Baggott discussed, each of those blog posts is a new place for your visitor to land, full of optimized, engaging content that will grab their attention.

    I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that would recommend a third-party outpost or platform as the central hub for a company's social media activities, though that's still the first place many companies go when they begin their foray into social media.

  • With the rate at which social media morphs and changes, your blog HAS to be the social media hub for your business. While other platforms serve well as outposts in the areas that people have already populated, you as a business are still playing by someone else's rules. If those rules change (and they will), you are then forced to adapt and evolve your tactics. If your activity in social media stems from your blog, you make the rules, you set the expectations, and the only authority you have to answer to (aside from your audience) is yourself.

    The beauty of leveraging a blog as your social media hub is that you can also use it as a launch point into other pieces of your business. Whether that's signing up for a newsletter or purchasing something from a store, the opportunity to set the right context for each situation is much better than what you're given on an outpost. Just as Chris Baggott discussed, each of those blog posts is a new place for your visitor to land, full of optimized, engaging content that will grab their attention.

    I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that would recommend a third-party outpost or platform as the central hub for a company's social media activities, though that's still the first place many companies go when they begin their foray into social media.

    • Excellent points, Mike. Well said. It's a great reminder that the tools
      change. The website/blog can remain consistent and tie it all together. Nice
      points.

  • It makes good sense. I think maybe I'm over analyzing the definition of the word hub. I view the example I gave as an additive…a store window showing all of the various places you can find a brand. If you prefer the Web site as your destination for that brand? That page is all you need. If you are more often on YouTube, Facebook etc, that can be your destination.

    But we obviously need to consider the content/traffic factor. And blogs are perfect for this.

    Good discussion. Thanks everyone.

  • That's a valid perspective, Kevin, and I think a good one if your focus is
    solely on the engagement and conversation pieces. But like Chris points out,
    web traffic is more often than not focused on specific elements of content.
    Most people find you via inbound links and search traffic. Fewer people
    come to you for “engagement.” So the blog then … the place where you build
    those links through content generation … becomes your hub. Fair?

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  • Thanks for swinging by Hilary. Certainly appreciate what you're doing.

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  • But this implies only one “homepage” Keep in mind what's broken on the web is the fact that it's designed like paper. (since that's all we knew when the www started) Sites are like a magazine or catalog. Cover, table of contents, page page page page like a pyramid.

    In a world where traffic isn't coming from direct navigation but from search or referrals that pyramid needs to be inverted…more like a funnel.

    I'm here at SMX west listening to Peter Norvig of Google. I am not sure how important is to differentiate between webpages and websites for Google. Basically, pages are as (if not more) important that traditional sites. Blogs serve this very well.

  • Jason – I'd offer up a third possibility, taking blog, Twitter and any other content streams and creating a hub on your main home page.

    I agree a blog wins over Facebook or Twitter. But the home page approach also aggregates all of the content streams into one, non-social spot so you can benefit from folks who may have found your web site, but seeing you are on Twitter decide to follow you there.

    My argument would be that you maintain the control you're suggesting and ensures that social and digital are not silo'd but more seamless.

    And at the risk of being accused of link pimping, I will serve up two examples. Only one is self-serving.

    http://www.empowermm.com/25/
    We aggregated social content streams we were using to document a service project my employer conducted. It provided one spot to see the conversation and the experience as we documented it.

    Dell offers us a more complex, community example:
    http://en.community.dell.com/

    But you can see how several content streams are used to create a landing page. Another possible way to thread the needle.

  • Jason – I'd offer up a third possibility, taking blog, Twitter and any other content streams and creating a hub on your main home page.

    I agree a blog wins over Facebook or Twitter. But the home page approach also aggregates all of the content streams into one, non-social spot so you can benefit from folks who may have found your web site, but seeing you are on Twitter decide to follow you there.

    My argument would be that you maintain the control you're suggesting and ensures that social and digital are not silo'd but more seamless.

    And at the risk of being accused of link pimping, I will serve up two examples. Only one is self-serving.

    http://www.empowermm.com/25/
    We aggregated social content streams we were using to document a service project my employer conducted. It provided one spot to see the conversation and the experience as we documented it.

    Dell offers us a more complex, community example:
    http://en.community.dell.com/

    But you can see how several content streams are used to create a landing page. Another possible way to thread the needle.

    • But this implies only one “homepage” Keep in mind what's broken on the web is the fact that it's designed like paper. (since that's all we knew when the www started) Sites are like a magazine or catalog. Cover, table of contents, page page page page like a pyramid.

      In a world where traffic isn't coming from direct navigation but from search or referrals that pyramid needs to be inverted…more like a funnel.

      I'm here at SMX west listening to Peter Norvig of Google who just said: “I am not sure how important is to differentiate between webpages and websites for Google” Basically, pages are as (if not more) important that traditional sites. Blogs serve this very well.

    • That's a valid perspective, Kevin, and I think a good one if your focus is
      solely on the engagement and conversation pieces. But like Chris points out,
      web traffic is more often than not focused on specific elements of content.
      Most people find you via inbound links and search traffic. Fewer people
      come to you for “engagement.” So the blog then … the place where you build
      those links through content generation … becomes your hub. Fair?

      • It makes good sense. I think maybe I'm over analyzing the definition of the word hub. I view the example I gave as an additive…a store window showing all of the various places you can find a brand. If you prefer the Web site as your destination for that brand? That page is all you need. If you are more often on YouTube, Facebook etc, that can be your destination.

        But we obviously need to consider the content/traffic factor. And blogs are perfect for this.

        Good discussion. Thanks everyone.

  • Wow – great post and awesome discussion going on here! I will admit it is not easy balancing content that is not outright selling with content that is still meaningful to the business. With that said, our blog is our social media hub. Everything that's posted to our blog is fed to our other networks via RSS and is redirected back to the blog. I think it is important to have strong CTA's incorporated in the blog to get customers to our brownies.com website in addition to other engagement tools (i.e, email sign-up, web-to-post which encourages customer generated content, etc..).

  • Wow – great post and awesome discussion going on here! I will admit it is not easy balancing content that is not outright selling with content that is still meaningful to the business. With that said, our blog is our social media hub. Everything that's posted to our blog is fed to our other networks via RSS and is redirected back to the blog. I think it is important to have strong CTA's incorporated in the blog to get customers to our brownies.com website in addition to other engagement tools (i.e, email sign-up, web-to-post which encourages customer generated content, etc..).

    • Thanks for swinging by Hilary. Certainly appreciate what you're doing.

  • Great points, Chris. I added mine down beneath Mark's comments. I also agree that a blog can drive sales, but us social media types gotta hold on to those romantic notions of it also serving as a conversation and connection point, too. Well said.

  • Thanks B. Hope the webinar rocks it for you. I'm sure it will.

  • I feel like the blog should be a part of and integrated with a corporate website. In effect, Brownies.com is. Yes, the two units reside on different servers, but the integration is such that non-Internet industry people probably don't notice much difference.

    And Mark is right … we want to drive people to a transaction. But the blog is the hub of your social activity, not sales activity. Subtle difference, but one nonetheless.

  • I think what your missing is the blog is the hub of SOCIAL activity, not SALES. While I agree that as a business you're ultimately driving people to convert in some fashion, your social media presence still has to be rooted in exchange, conversation and building relationships. The transactional side of the equation is very much an element, but cannot be front and center (like you said) or you lose that trust. The blog is the hub of social activity — conversations, sharing, content, etc. The website is the hub for buying stuff.

    And frankly, I see the blog integrated with the website has Heather indicates, being an optimal approach.

  • Thanks, Bret. Appreciate the comment.

  • So I'll respectfully challenge Mark here a little bit. On your comment: “unless you are doing out-right selling there and that's a no-no”

    Who says selling on a blog is a no-no? The only credible judge determining right or wrong on your blogs comes from the behavior of your visitors.

    Look at it this way. About 80% of all blog traffic is coming from a first time reader, Right? These people don't know you and didn't set you with you as their final destination. They came to your blogs either by a referral link or most likely through a search.

    What are they looking for if they are searching? In this case they are looking for brownies. What they find is a very cool, open company that sells brownies. They are happy and of course the blogs have great CTA's that make it easy for them to buy. I'm not a liberty to share specific conversion data on this client, but on average we see clients like this converting from blogs at a rates around 10x that of an average website. (Webtrends pegs the average at 1.6%)

    Conversion rates alone should drive what's right here. If the visitor is happily converting then they are sending you a very clear signal that you are doing right by them.

    Your blogs are the tip of the spear when it comes to search marketing. Take a close look at FTB, they don't have one blog, they have almost 50…all focused on very specific search targets.

    Chris Baggott
    CEO/Co-founder
    Compendium

  • So I'll respectfully challenge Mark here a little bit. On your comment: “unless you are doing out-right selling there and that's a no-no”

    Who says selling on a blog is a no-no? The only credible judge determining right or wrong on your blogs comes from the behavior of your visitors.

    Look at it this way. About 80% of all blog traffic is coming from a first time reader, Right? These people don't know you and didn't set you with you as their final destination. They came to your blogs either by a referral link or most likely through a search.

    What are they looking for if they are searching? In this case they are looking for brownies. What they find is a very cool, open company that sells brownies. They are happy and of course the blogs have great CTA's that make it easy for them to buy. I'm not a liberty to share specific conversion data on this client, but on average we see clients like this converting from blogs at a rates around 10x that of an average website. (Webtrends pegs the average at 1.6%)

    Conversion rates alone should drive what's right here. If the visitor is happily converting then they are sending you a very clear signal that you are doing right by them.

    Your blogs are the tip of the spear when it comes to search marketing. Take a close look at FTB, they don't have one blog, they have almost 50…all focused on very specific search targets.

    Chris Baggott
    CEO/Co-founder
    Compendium

    • Great points, Chris. I added mine down beneath Mark's comments. I also agree that a blog can drive sales, but us social media types gotta hold on to those romantic notions of it also serving as a conversation and connection point, too. Well said.

  • heatherbenfield

    I think the key of a business blog is to brand it just like your website (have the same look and feel). If you look at the Fairytale Brownies Blog, the headers and sidebar have the same look and feel (and mostly the same Calls-to-Action) as the homepage of their website. The key difference is content. The blog is able to show up in search results for more long-tail keywords (and possibly higher rankings) than their website for the keywords they know their target customers are searching for.

    For instance, if you type “mail order brownies” into Google you will see that the Fairytale Blog comes up as the #2 search result…but where is their website? The blog allows Fairytale to create loads of content about “mail order brownies” that if done on their website would just look cluttered and 'spammy'. A searcher can then click on the blog result and find the information they are looking for. Fairytale then leads the blog reader to the next step by either including a line like this at the end of their post,
    “Order brownies and Fairytale Truffle gifts online at brownies.com or by calling our customer service number at 800.324.7982. Thank you for making the world a sweeter place! ” or by having the custom CTA's available on the sidebar as Jason mentioned in his post.

    I agree, you want your readers to take an action and it can happen on your blog if you provide the actions (and track them) for the reader to take. Blogs allow businesses to generate loads of content geared specifically towards the keywords your target market is searching for allowing you to get in front of online prospects you may not have been able to get in front of with only the content on your website.

  • bmillis

    Great post! You have no idea how often we discuss this with incredible companies who are trying to figure out how to effectively craft a strategic blog and social media strategy that is easy to administrate and monitor. It reminds me of Doug Karr's recent post where he talks about acquisition and amplification. Blogging can be an amazing search tool (acquisition) and a natural place to output helpful content, while social medias can amplify the message and really drive engagement, relationship, and communication. Thanks for the great message here and can't wait for the webinar.

  • bmillis

    Great post! You have no idea how often we discuss this with incredible companies who are trying to figure out how to effectively craft a strategic blog and social media strategy that is easy to administrate and monitor. It reminds me of Doug Karr's recent post where he talks about acquisition and amplification. Blogging can be an amazing search tool (acquisition) and a natural place to output helpful content, while social medias can amplify the message and really drive engagement, relationship, and communication. Thanks for the great message here and can't wait for the webinar.

    • Thanks B. Hope the webinar rocks it for you. I'm sure it will.

  • Thanks Gretchen. I think comments and responding to them is important if a
    goal is to really connect and build trust and relationships with individual
    consumers for a brand. But I know many blogs that are used primarily as
    search engine magnates and drive conversions to sales based on the inbound
    traffic finding what they're looking for in terms of a product or service.
    The audience there doesn't necessarily comment but the blog is still very
    successful.

    The purist in me believes that a blog is more impactful if it drives
    engagement, conversations, responses from the brand and so on. But there are
    many examples of blogs with few comments that drive business, too.

  • kkwiatko

    I agree with Mark's comment below, and that brings up a question (maybe a n00b one, but it's something that came up here recently)…

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of having a blog web site separate from a corporate site? Brownies.com seems to do a nice job of pushing people back to the corporate site, but it always seems like a bit of a disconnect to me.

    p.s. I'm not sure whether I love or hate you for using brownies.com as an example. I'm starving and I'm about to place a ginormous order… :)

  • kkwiatko

    I agree with Mark's comment below, and that brings up a question (maybe a n00b one, but it's something that came up here recently)…

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of having a blog web site separate from a corporate site? Brownies.com seems to do a nice job of pushing people back to the corporate site, but it always seems like a bit of a disconnect to me.

    p.s. I'm not sure whether I love or hate you for using brownies.com as an example. I'm starving and I'm about to place a ginormous order… :)

    • I feel like the blog should be a part of and integrated with a corporate website. In effect, Brownies.com is. Yes, the two units reside on different servers, but the integration is such that non-Internet industry people probably don't notice much difference.

      And Mark is right … we want to drive people to a transaction. But the blog is the hub of your social activity, not sales activity. Subtle difference, but one nonetheless.

  • Great points, Jayanta. You're right that a blog left alone is a bad blog.
    Appreciate the comments.

  • markwilliamschaefer

    Honestly it seems weird to even being having this debate. What behavior are you trying to drive? In most cases it is some type of connection, right? Let's just be honest and put the purist stuff aside. Ultimately you want your readers to take an action like register for something, make a call, or buy something. Is that going to happen on your blog? Probably not, unless you are doing out-right selling there and that's a no-no. The actual connection event is going to happen on your website. So all roads should lead to your website, right? Wouldn't that make it the hub?

    Even though websites seem to be out of fashion, they still play a critical role in actually driving behaviors. A website should explain what you do, why you're special and what a reader should do next.

    Whether you're a hospital, a university or a business, you're in this to drive some behavior. That behavior is consumated on the website (usually a contact page) and all social properties should point to that site and that opportunity. What am I missing here?

  • markwilliamschaefer

    Honestly it seems weird to even being having this debate. What behavior are you trying to drive? In most cases it is some type of connection, right? Let's just be honest and put the purist stuff aside. Ultimately you want your readers to take an action like register for something, make a call, or buy something. Is that going to happen on your blog? Probably not, unless you are doing out-right selling there and that's a no-no. The actual connection event is going to happen on your website. So all roads should lead to your website, right? Wouldn't that make it the hub?

    Even though websites seem to be out of fashion, they still play a critical role in actually driving behaviors. A website should explain what you do, why you're special and what a reader should do next.

    Whether you're a hospital, a university or a business, you're in this to drive some behavior. That behavior is consumated on the website (usually a contact page) and all social properties should point to that site and that opportunity. What am I missing here?

    • heatherbenfield

      I think the key of a business blog is to brand it just like your website (have the same look and feel). If you look at the Fairytale Brownies Blog, the headers and sidebar have the same look and feel (and mostly the same Calls-to-Action) as the homepage of their website. The key difference is content. The blog is able to show up in search results for more long-tail keywords (and possibly higher rankings) than their website for the keywords they know their target customers are searching for.

      For instance, if you type “mail order brownies” into Google you will see that the Fairytale Blog comes up as the #2 search result…but where is their website? The blog allows Fairytale to create loads of content about “mail order brownies” that if done on their website would just look cluttered and 'spammy'. A searcher can then click on the blog result and find the information they are looking for. Fairytale then leads the blog reader to the next step by either including a line like this at the end of their post,
      “Order brownies and Fairytale Truffle gifts online at brownies.com or by calling our customer service number at 800.324.7982. Thank you for making the world a sweeter place! ” or by having the custom CTA's available on the sidebar as Jason mentioned in his post.

      I agree, you want your readers to take an action and it can happen on your blog if you provide the actions (and track them) for the reader to take. Blogs allow businesses to generate loads of content geared specifically towards the keywords your target market is searching for allowing you to get in front of online prospects you may not have been able to get in front of with only the content on your website.

    • I think what your missing is the blog is the hub of SOCIAL activity, not SALES. While I agree that as a business you're ultimately driving people to convert in some fashion, your social media presence still has to be rooted in exchange, conversation and building relationships. The transactional side of the equation is very much an element, but cannot be front and center (like you said) or you lose that trust. The blog is the hub of social activity — conversations, sharing, content, etc. The website is the hub for buying stuff.

      And frankly, I see the blog integrated with the website has Heather indicates, being an optimal approach.

  • bretsimmons

    Yes, the blog is the best place to practice real inbound, permission marketing. Your blog should be the hub for which all your SM spokes connect. Well said. Bret

  • bretsimmons

    Yes, the blog is the best place to practice real inbound, permission marketing. Your blog should be the hub for which all your SM spokes connect. Well said. Bret

    • Thanks, Bret. Appreciate the comment.

  • gretchenramsey

    Jason, you always have a way of picking a topic immediatly relevant to me that day. It seems perception of the blog is shifting from a personal platform to serious business tool. Collecting the social universe where a brand lives in thought is where things seem to be going. Good to have the nod from thinkers like you. Do you agree comments and responding to comments, in particular, will become increasingly more important as a business tool?

  • gretchenramsey

    Jason, you always have a way of picking a topic immediatly relevant to me that day. It seems perception of the blog is shifting from a personal platform to serious business tool. Collecting the social universe where a brand lives in thought is where things seem to be going. Good to have the nod from thinkers like you. Do you agree comments and responding to comments, in particular, will become increasingly more important as a business tool?

    • Thanks Gretchen. I think comments and responding to them is important if a
      goal is to really connect and build trust and relationships with individual
      consumers for a brand. But I know many blogs that are used primarily as
      search engine magnates and drive conversions to sales based on the inbound
      traffic finding what they're looking for in terms of a product or service.
      The audience there doesn't necessarily comment but the blog is still very
      successful.

      The purist in me believes that a blog is more impactful if it drives
      engagement, conversations, responses from the brand and so on. But there are
      many examples of blogs with few comments that drive business, too.

  • Well said!
    But most of the blogs starts as a personal blog or a hobby blog. In later stages only people understand, rather understood the benefits of corporate blogging!
    The number of general blog can't be counted by a laymen like me! (Hope Google can do it.) Corporate blogs that are not properly attended-to can be a disaster. So blogging can very truly be used as the best social media platform, but needs extra care. Regular attention can drive a good PR force towards the company.
    Keep the spark alive…
    JD

  • Well said!
    But most of the blogs starts as a personal blog or a hobby blog. In later stages only people understand, rather understood the benefits of corporate blogging!
    The number of general blog can't be counted by a laymen like me! (Hope Google can do it.) Corporate blogs that are not properly attended-to can be a disaster. So blogging can very truly be used as the best social media platform, but needs extra care. Regular attention can drive a good PR force towards the company.
    Keep the spark alive…
    JD

    • Great points, Jayanta. You're right that a blog left alone is a bad blog.
      Appreciate the comments.