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blogging for inbound marketing

Got Blogs? The Importance of Blogging For Inbound Marketing

Blogging Fuels Your Inbound Marketing Campaign

If you work in marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king”.

In the last few years, brands have put an increased emphasis on content creation, publishing everything from videos to tweets in order to get in front of their audience in the right way, at the right time.

For the sake of this blog, we’ll focus on written, long-form content: blogging.

In the age of information, blogging has become an integral part of any marketing strategy. Inbound marketing is no exception. In fact, blogging is so essential to inbound marketing, it would be hard to have an inbound campaign without it.

Inbound Marketing: A Brief Introduction

As a HubSpot Agency, we could talk to you about inbound marketing for hours. If that sounds interesting to you, we have an entire blog section dedicated to Inbound Marketing that you can look through. For those of you who are new to marketing, or new to inbound, we’ll stick with a high-level definition.

Inbound marketing is a methodology that uses “pull” marketing to bring customers to your business. Some key attributes of this methodology include having a customer-centric focus and providing value at every step of the buyer’s journey.

Inbound Marketing campaigns can be broken down into 4 stages:

    1. Attract
    2. Convert
    3. Close
    4. Delight.

Let’s explore how a smart blogging strategy applies to each of these stages.

Stage 1: Using Your Blogs to Attract Visitors

Inbound marketing campaigns begin with the “attract” stage. The focus of this stage is to bring new visitors to your site. Customers in the attract stage are usually at the top of the funnel, or very early on in their buyer’s journey. Brands can appeal to these customers by creating content that addresses common customer needs. That’s where blogging comes in.

Brands can use blogging as a way to publish solutions that potential customers may be searching for. As potential customers are taking to the internet to research their needs, your blog can act as a salesperson, pitching a solution you offer. 

Do keep in mind, it’s not a matter of “if you build it they will come”. Simply writing relevant blog posts is not enough to attract new site visitors.

That’s where SEO and social media should be employed as promotional tactics. Optimizing your blog posts for search queries will help your pieces show up at the top of the results pages. But, including keywords or phrases in your blog post is only one piece of the puzzle. Providing high-quality educational information is now considered a best practice for improving rankings and attracting new visitors.

If you’re new to marketing and unsure as to what SEO is, see our SEO Guidebook to get caught up.

When it comes to social media as a promotion strategy, make sure that you are sharing the high-quality content that you worked so hard to create on your branded pages. Encourage employees to share blog pieces as well. It’s a free way to improve the reach of your blog posts and help potential customers find you.

Stage 2: Blogging to Convert Visitors Into Leads

The next stage of an inbound marketing campaign falls deeper into the funnel. It’s the “convert” stage, and it’s where site visitors become leads.

According to Hubspot, businesses that use blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

How you ask? By creating highly valuable content, and then gating it.

A great way to capture leads is to offer them something of value (ebooks, checklists, and webinars work well! ) in exchange for their information (name, email, phone number, industry, etc.) Blogs fit into the convert stage of inbound marketing as a method of promoting this gated content.

For example, a fitness professional using inbound marketing to generate leads may write a blog post that shares one core exercise for blog readers to include in their next workout. Then, at the end of that post, the fitness professional may encourage customers to fill out a form to receive a full month of free core workouts. The fitness professional is left with the leads information and can continue to engage with them throughout the funnel. 

Stage 3: Writing Blogs to Close Leads

When a site visitor becomes a lead, the next stage of an inbound marketing campaign focuses on closing that lead. Blogging is useful in this stage because posts can be written to highlight your products and services, and ultimately convince your leads to convert into customers.

Take a marketing agency for example. An agency in this stage of an inbound marketing campaign could publish a post detailing the benefits of outsourcing marketing efforts to an agency. Within that post, the agency could include the strengths of their brand and the services they provide. This post would then act as a sales tool, promoting those services in the right place, at the right time, to the right person who is researching marketing agency options.

Stage 4: Using Your Blog to Delight Customers

Once your leads have become customers, it’s time to keep them coming back for more! In this stage, brands can use blogging to highlight additional services that current customers may need down the road. An automotive dealer’s delight blogging strategy may include content about taking care of a vehicle post-purchase. The dealer may then promote this blog post by sending automated emails to customers who recently purchased a vehicle and encouraging them to bring their new vehicle back to the dealer for regular tune-ups. Blog posts in the delight stage should aim to keep your customer happy, and you at the top of their mind!

Blogging for inbound marketing is just one of many strategies we recommend if you’re new to marketing. Our Marketing 101 Checklist includes everything you need to know to get started on your new marketing campaigns.