Starting a blog for your business can be a key marketing tactic that supports online visibility. An essential marketing channel, a business blog can also increase traffic to your website, establish authority, and drive long-term results.
But, businesses must tread a fine line when it comes to running a blog.
A brief history of blogging
While blogging has become an integral part of digital culture, this wasn’t always the case. Its relatively short history starts in the ‘90s, when Justin Hall, creator of Links.net, published the first online blog.
Towards the late ‘90s, blogging rose to prominence. It was originally coined as “weblog” or “logging the web.” In 1999, the term weblog was shortened to what it’s more commonly referred to now: the blog.
In short succession, blogging has become a game-changing marketing strategy. In fact, while it has been eclipsed in recent years by other digital marketing techniques, blog content creation is an essential part of copywriting services.
In fact, a recent Hubspot survey found that marketers still consider blogging a top “inbound marketing priority.”
Differentiating between different types of blogs
While personal and brand blogging carry the same principles, the idea of sharing thoughts and opinions on varying subject matter through useful content, differences do exist.
As a marketing strategy, each blog type carries a specific goal. The success of a blog lies in its application. Too often, businesses convolute the two types of blogs, which can have an impact on their effectiveness.
Differentiating between the two will help your business tailor its blogging and marketing approach. To ensure your blog format suits your business needs, we highlight four key differences below.
1. The content it shares
Personal blogs run the gamut of content. There are personal blogs that focus on niche topics and others which are simply online diaries. The topics discussed through personal blogs are as varied and numerous as blogs themselves.
Pinch of Yum, a food blog, creates compelling food content focused on inspirational food ideas, recipes, and food commentary. Motherhood Diaries, an online parenting platform, covers a variety of topics from parenting advice to resources relevant to parenting.
When it comes to brand blogging, however, businesses aren’t afforded as much flexibility. Often, a company blog is catered to its specific industry, discussing topics with direct correlation to that industry. While the content may vary, its core objective is to offer helpful advice related to its business or industry.
Evernote, an organization and planning app, directly focuses on content relevant to productivity, organization, and planning. For SEO Sherpa, an organic SEO service agency, its all about SEO optimization, link building, and helpful tips and advice.
2. The purpose it serves
At its core, brand blogging is a marketing tactic serving one purpose: supporting business growth.
Besides the aforementioned benefits of brand blogging (driving long-term business results, establishing authority, etc.), many businesses will use their blog to test out marketing campaigns and communicate important PR information like company-focused initiatives, event information, or product releases.
Personal blogging isn’t necessarily as purpose driven. Yes, there are bloggers out there deriving value from their personal blogs. But many blogs did not start out to purposely support business growth.
Over time, with consistent content creation relevant to their audience, some personal bloggers have been able to generate income through their blog. Though for many personal bloggers, their blog is simply a space to express their ideas and opinions on relevant subject matter.
3. The audience it engages with
As a personal blog doesn’t have targeted goals to meet, it can shift its content direction indulgently. A personal blogger can write about diet tips one week and travel plans another. Most personal blogs are general interest sites, allowing bloggers to cover a broad range of topics that interest them and their audience.
There’s not as much wiggle room when it comes to brand blogging.
Marriott on the Move, for example, is the blog of Bill Marriott, Jr., the Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International. While the approach of his blog blurs the line between personal and brand blogging, the topics his blog covers are underpinned by the core values and purpose of his company.
Fans of TechCrunch are often those enthusiastic about the technology, startup, mobile, and internet space. These topics revolve around breaking news in technology, emerging products, and tech-related business news.
These two brand blogs would rarely deviate from the subject matter their audiences have come to expect. TechCrunch wouldn’t write about food or travel until it pertains to relevant technology. Bill Marriott, Jr. wouldn’t blog about technology unless it involves the hospitality industry.
4. Its consistency in delivering content
A personal blog is afforded more freedom and flexibility on content creation. A personal blogger can decide when to publish content. If they are compelled to write, or not to write, they have the freedom to do so.
Marketers running a brand blog on the other hand, not so much.
Like any other online marketing technique, blog content creation has key performance indicators (KPIs) or specific goals that must be met periodically. Blog content creation must have an actionable content marketing strategy that is consistent to deliver results.
It’s not enough for marketers to simply write. Content must be researched before being published. And, their content must be constantly measured to understand its impact on business growth.
Blogging consistently on industry-related topics establishes authority and builds brand reputation. Consistent brand blogging demonstrates industry expertise, which is essential to gaining credibility within the brand’s targeted audience.
Finding the sweet spot
So how does a business differentiate between a personal and a brand blog? The answer lies in its organized approach.
The success of any brand blog is purposely built. Ultimately, businesses must derive value from their blog. The blog must attract readers, build a community, and eventually lead to subscriptions, enticing readers to make a purchase.
Various monetization strategies exist to enable businesses to achieve this goal. The type of content published should be consistent and reflect the goals of your business. From a branding and marketing standpoint, blogging gives your business more control over how it tells its corporate story.