At the recent Affiliate Summit West conference, Brafton reported that targeted content was a pervasive topic of discussion. Experts seem to agree that one of the best ways to make a site visible to search engines, reach an social audience and convert site visitors is through a corporate blog.
In a session angled as an "SEO clinic," Rae Hoffman-Dolan, CEO of Sugarrae SEO Firm, told attendees, "You need unique, custom content." She explained that this was essential to search engine optimization and that, quite simply, even widely-discussed content needs to have original context to make it appealing to desirable web visitors.
Michael Gray, president of Atlas Web, agreed. "Get a blog on the site and post original content," he said. He encouraged businesses to feature their blog headlines prominently on their homepages, and Hoffman-Dolan said she's seen too many sites lose potential traffic because they relegate their blogs to the footers of their websites.
In addition to boosting SEO, experts at the conference say blogs are paramount to driving social traffic to sites. Marcus Nelson, director of social media for Salesforce.com, told attendees that a blog may be the most important social tool marketers can develop.
This theory was supported by Kris Krug, social guru and online communication expert. Krug suggested a good blog was the start to a social strategy because it is a space to create something shareable. In fact, the overall buzz at Affiliate Summit West suggests that social content (and/or content delivered via social media) is key to branding.
The experts at ASW11 remind marketers that it's important to invest time and resources into blogs in order to ensure they maximize web and social traffic. Generating quality content that is relevant to an audience is an investment, but Michael Streko, cofounder of KnownEm, reminds marketers there is a fine line between keyword stuffing, which makes a blog seem spammy, and effectively optimizing blog content so it can be found and shared.
Gray also suggested marketers think outside the box about the types of content they offer readers. Today's consumers expect more than press releases from a corporate blog – they expect information that is relevant to them. "Write articles about crazy things related to your industry," he said. He notes that some businesses are afraid to link to other sites, but he encourages brands to point web visitors to valuable resources.
Marketers are well-advised to invest in unique content development this year. As Brafton recently reported, CMOs say engaging content is the leading factor to blog success.