Some things you do to promote your business have an immediate effect, like when you send out direct mail with a coupon that expires. There’s a clear cause and effect you can measure. You can count the number of coupons that get redeemed.
Or if you have a PPC campaign, you can clearly track the number of clicks or calls that come to your business. The moment you stop the campaign, the clicks and calls stop.
Blogging isn’t like that.
You won’t see a sudden influx of interest or customers. You won’t see a sudden jump in traffic to your website. (Unless you’re breaking a major news story of some kind.) It’s an organic process that takes time. The more good stuff you add to your website, the more the search engines like you. So they’ll include your website more often or in a more visible way. People will begin to share your blog posts by tweeting, or liking on Facebook, or voting a +1 on Google+.
It’s hard to measure the “authority” of your website in a concrete way, but the more helpful information you publish for your customers and potential customers, the more you’ll be perceived as an expert in your field. When people spend more time on your site, comment on your posts and share them in social media, visitors and search engines alike give more credibility to everything you publish.
Stick With It for the Payoff
Many businesses get discouraged and give up on this organic approach before their efforts succeed but evidence shows that they quit prematurely. Rand Fishkin, CEO of MOZ insists that in business and in blogging, the price of success is failure. He illustrates with a story about his wife’s travel blog. She worked at it for months, watching a slooow increase in readership and she reached the point where she considered quitting. It’s a good thing she didn’t because shortly thereafter, the traffic to her blog stopped the slow incline, jumped up in readership and has never slowed down since.
The remarkable thing about her story is that it happens over and over again. It seems to be a pattern. Something – or perhaps several things – happen when you stick with your blogging and keep publishing quality content. Perhaps it’s the love from the search engines that’s the main catalyst, but bloggers see this pattern repeat itself all the time.
Unlike Paid Advertising, Organic Success Doesn’t Stop
Bill Belew is a professional blogger and conference speaker. He’s been amazingly successful with his own blogging, and he teaches an MBA course about Marketing with Social Media at a fully accredited university in Silicon Valley. He recently wrote about his students’ experiences with blogging, What Happens to Your Traffic When You Stop Writing at Your Blog?
His students each started a blog as part of their class, and Bill tracked the performance of their blogs for months (using Google Analytics), and he was surprised to see that once his students had built up a collection of high-quality, original content that targeted the right audience, the traffic kept coming even when the writers stopped writing.
In Bill Belew’s own words, here’s the lesson learned:
The crystal clear message: Creating good content results in good residual traffic, sometimes known as the long tail.When traffic is purchased (think adwords) or pushed via social networks and social bookmarking sites (think referral traffic from other sites) traffic will come as long as it is pushed, driven. But when the buying and pushing stops, so does the traffic. Not so with good content that is on topic and created at the home site. It’s the content that keeps on giving, um, pulling.Content marketing is inbound marketing. And it can’t be beat long term.