What’s the value of blogging?

The perceived wisdom is to write a blog, get the message out there on social media and get more business, however over the years as a freelance seo consultant I’ve questioned the value of writing blogs purely as a tool for this kind of promotion.

I’ve been advocating writing blogs for their seo value since before I even started blogging on GrowTraffic in 2009 and I’m confident some of the successes I’ve had with keywords such as freelance seo consultant, freelance seo copywriter etc are down to the amount of blogs I’ve written on the subject which have included those keywords and through which I’ve been able to create additional internal links back to those pages from fresh content.

Of course these blogs have soaked up traffic as well, but many of them haven’t, the ones that haven’t still have the seo value and still have the additional value that a user can see that I’m regularly blogging. This is a good thing of course because it demonstrates that we’re active on GrowTraffic. It’s also an easier sell when I tell clients that I want them to be blogging regularly (and I believe most businesses should blog at least 3 times a week) if we’re doing it ourselves.

In addition writing blogs has got my name out there, it’s positioned me as one of the industry thought leaders – I’ve been included in a number of “Top SEOs in the UK” lists for example which is fantastic but it has make me think am I getting this praise just because I write about search marketing more than I write about online marketing more generally or even because I write much less about my role as a brand marketing consultant or in my capacity as a marketing manager dealing with the day to day delivery of marketing campaigns.

So I can see there is some value in marketing myself like this, but if I were to put a figure on how much my blogs have directly generated me over the six years I’ve been writing them, and by directly generated I mean someone has been looking for some information and then has read a blog and then emailed or picked up a phone, I’d probably say none.

I generally ask when speaking to prospective clients how they’ve found my details and I regularly get given keywords such as freelance seo consultant, freelance seo expert, freelance seo copywriter, seo copywriter etc as well as the seo related keywords that have local elements such as Chorley and Lancashire (I still get people ringing me from Chorley looking for a freelance seo consultant who lives in the Chorley area and I moved to Bacup in Rossendale, East Lancashire almost two years ago for example). Other people get given my details by someone who has worked with me in the past or someone who knows someone that has worked with me or someone I’ve spoken to at various networking events, but I can’t remember anyone calling to say I’ve read your blog and I’ve like you to act for us on this or that project in your capacity as a freelance seo consultant. It’s just not happened.

I’m confident that although the ranks I’ve achieved in Google and other search engines have been benefitted by blogging (when I stopped blogging I was dropped from position 1 for freelance seo consultant to position 44 and it took a lot of activity to get back to page one for example), I’m not sure I needed to do all the blogging I’ve done over the years to achieve or maintain the ranks.

Saying all of that though there is some definite advantages to blogging, I’ve listed some above, the problem is they require a tacit understanding. I always say with marketing that you should use your profit to market your business and you shouldn’t necessarily rely on the outcome because marketing is always a risk, something’s work and something’s don’t. Instead of saying you should reinvest your profit I think I should be talking about resource. Resource is money and or time. Right now I’m on a train writing this blog. Im not sure it will be read by a lot of people, I know its SEO value will be minimal however I have the capacity to write it – so why not? If I had something else I needed to be doing right now that paid then I’d be doing that, fortunately right now I can justify this blog.

There are othert bnenefits too, I’m a huge advocate of blogging to become an expert and not just because you are one already. Blogs allow you to structure your ideas and vent about the way things have happened or the way you perceive them to be about to happen. Trust me, being a freelance seo consultant can be a lonely role, because you’ve got few people around you to bounce ideas off. It’s got better since Rachel has started working with GrowTraffic as a freelance seo copywriter as there has been someone more closely working with clients who can relate to what I’m doing but it’s not the same as having ideation sessions you’d have in an seo agency environment. Blogging helps with thus though and I’m confident it has a similar benefit for anyone in any sector.

So the perceived wisdom of many an online marketing consultant about spending your hard won time blogging isn’t far off being right but I’m a bit tired of people trying to purely present the direct business case for blogging. I don’t think it works like that and I think we should stop trying to sell in content marketing strategies that are going to improve sales by X percentage directly from the work that’s carried out. There’s so much more around it, but the key is to use the sare resource you have to make it work.

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