Every year, HubSpot publishes and conducts my two (2) favorite deliverables:
- HubSpot's 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report AND
- HubSpot's 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Webinar
Here are the report and the webinar slides from HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Channel on Slideshare:
Blogs Are Not Dead. Long Live Blogs! Every year, we hear about blogging's continuing and expected demise in the social media universe. But, HubSpot's 2011 and 2012 research say otherwise.
Here's a direct quote and Key Conclusion #5 from the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report:
Businesses are increasingly aware their blog is highly valuable. 81% of businesses rated their company blogs as “useful,” “important” or “critical.” An impressive 25% rated their company blog as “critical” to their business.
And, there are more fact-based conclusions in the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report. Here are seven (7) reasons from HubSpot's data supporting the continuing relevance of blogging.
1. Blogs Are and Remain the Most Important Marketing Channel
59% of Respondents Say Their Blog Is Either "Critical" or "Important" To Their Business. And, 25% say their blog is "Critical" in importance. Mike Volpe pointed out an important way to increase your blog's business effectiveness is to clearly specify the call-to-action (CTA). Remarkable content isn't enough. Clear and specific CTAs converts inbound leads into paying customers.
Blogs Improve Your SEO and Google Rankings. Another competitive advantage of blogs is the content marketing benefits blog deliver:
- A blog functions as the content marketing hub
- Blogs deliver search engine optimization (SEO) from keywords and anchor text
- Blogs generate inbound links to your site (which increases your Google ranking)
Read this Social Media Examiner post by Jim Lodico: The Fastest Way to Increase Your Google Ranking. It's a great resource describing why blogging is vital to any business.
2. The Value of Company Blogs Keeps Increasing
Look Who's The #1 Social Media Channel in Terms of Importance. It's Blogs! LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter all ranked in lesser importance. The hub-and-spoke social media strategy model works with a website or your blog as the center. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are short-from outposts guiding customers back to your website or blog (the long-form hub).
3. Blogs Have the Lowest Cost-Per-Lead of Any Marketing Channel
52% of Respondents Say blogs are "Below Average" in Cost Per Lead. Blogs are the most cost efficient lead generation channel (inbound or outbound). Not surprisingly, trade shows are considered the most expensive.
Here's a direct quote from the respondent survey:
"The worst thing we did in marketing last year was attend several trade shows and events with low yield and ROI."
4. Blogs are Second Only to LinkedIn In Acquiring Customers
57% of Respondents Say Their Company Blog Acquired Customers. LinkedIn ranked first in customer acquistion. 62% of respondents validated its effectiveness. Interesting how "the two least sexy social media channels" ranked first and second respectively.
And, Speaking of Social Media Sexy - Blogs and LinkedIn Outdistanced Facebook and Twitter in Customer Acquisition. Don't believe the hype that long form content is dead. Or, consumer attention spans last only 140 characters or less.
Competitive advantage in converting leads to real customers doesn't have to be sexy and flashy. Blogs and social media are all part of the inbound marketing process called "closed-loop marketing."
But, making money by acquiring customers is sexy.
5. More Blog Posts Means More Customers
HubSpot's 2012 Data Shows a Direct Correlation Between Post Frequency and Customer Acquisition. At a minimum, post at least once-per-week. But, increasing post frequency from weekly to twice per month provides significant benefits:
- 50 posts a year goes to 100 posts (that's the equivalent of 100 indexed web pages in Google)
- An extra 50 posts, means double the number of keywords increasing SEO relevance
- 50 more web pages mean 5o more opportunities to earn inbound links (and increase Google authority)
Be SEO-Smart with your Blog Posts. Neil Patel recently published a must-read blog post in The Daily SEO Blog describing 12 Things That Will Kill Your Blog Post Everytime. Ignore these principles at your peril.
6. Blogs Are Consistently Effective for Either B2B or B2C Companies
At a Minimum, Your Social Media Strategy MUST Include a Blog. The data shows blogs rank second in customer acquisition for either B2B or B2C companies. Number 1 for customer acquisition depended on business-type:
- B2B: LinkedIn
- B2C: Facebook
A Killer Social Media Strategy Incorporates at Least Three Customer Acquisition Platforms. The companies succeeding in social media are the ones who view these channels as customer acquisition weapons. Based on this data, a three-channel approach geared to customer acquistion by business-type would look like the following:
- B2B: LinkedIn, Company Blog, Facebook or Twitter
- B2C: Facebook, Company Blog, Twitter
7. Blogs Level the Playing Field for Small Companies
Small Companies Allocate Almost 4x the Marketing Budget to Blogs Versus Large Companies. Social media or inbound marketing channels are where small companies invest their marketing budget (i.e., social, SEO or organic search, and blogs). Large companies prefer outbound channels (i.e., trade shows, PPC or paid search, or direct mail).
This data isn't surprising especially in light of Seth Godin's explanation of "mass" consumerism and marketing in his book, We Are All Weird. Increasingly, companies pursue one of two strategies:
- Small Companies = Niche
- Large Companies = Mass
If you're a small company, your products or services are probably part of the niche market place. Use your blog as competitive advantage in the long tail of search.
- What are your thoughts on the relevance of blogging?
- How does your use of blogging align with or differ from HubSpot's data?
- How do you use your blog in customer acquisition or retention?
Please let me know with your comments!