Blogging as a Marketing Tool – Is it really worth it?

The use of corporate blogging – from niche companies to the Fortune 500 – is skyrocketing in popularity. Some businesses view this as merely a means for exposure or to be part of the “in crowd,” but for a growing percentage, many are looking to blogs as a means of raising their brand’s image or to generate sales. However, measuring the value of messaging in the blogosphere – from the impact is has on brand, to the word of mouth marketing and driving actual sales – has been nearly impossible.

As marketers stop chasing the latest fad and move from wide-eyed to realistic about blogs, their measurability and their impact, questions abound:

· What is the value of our blog and does it impact our overall business?

· Do blogs factor into the purchase decisions of customers?

· Which blogs are affecting key conversion activities such as orders or page views consumed? Which popular blogs are not effecting conversion rates?

· How can we justify the investment and understand the real ROI, and should we expand this investment?

· How do we measure blog consumption over time? How do blog articles relate to and influence other site content usage?

In order to begin addressing these questions, marketers must evaluate their organization’s objectives and goals for the blog.

Some tips to consider for ensuring blogging success:

1. Evaluate blog content and determine its shelf life: How fresh is it? Do the content’s messages resonate more or less over time? Is it read more based on its location on the site? Does this content directly impact conversion rates? By understanding this information, you can ascertain whether or not to remove or update content, or whether campaigns can be launched specifically based on blog content

2. Determine what content is most popular: Which blog articles are most read?

3. Assess the days and times of the week that blogs are most/least read: This knowledge will help you decide when to place future blog posts for maximum readership.

4. Understand blog value: Arguably the most important measure, blog value indicates how you’re your blog contributes to online success. For example, do your readers have a higher purchase rate? Submit more leads? Convert at a higher clip? Or perhaps they simply engage deeper in the site. All of these events are directly related to online success and by focusing on those blog articles that contribute most to online goals, you will maximize your customer potential.

Increasingly, there are tools available to measure and analyze blogs from Web analytics companies. However, no matter how you chose to dig deeper into understanding the value of blogs to your business, by having the awareness of the role and relative value of the blog in your marketing mix, you will be better equipped to use it as an effective marketing tool.

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