Blogging to Attract New Visitors, Not to Gain Subscribers
New Media Campaigns recently spoke with members of the local chapter of the Legal Marketing Association during their monthly meeting. While the entire conversation centered on social media and online marketing efforts, one point stood out above the rest when it came to blogging.
An LMA member voiced their hesitation to start a blog across their firm because they were afraid disparate voices and practices would hurt visitors’ willingness to subscribe. This question led to a spirited discussion around what the goals of an organization's blog should be and how to best realize those goals. Ultimately, we argued that the immediate goal of a company blog should be engaging new clients and building subscribers should be secondary due to the following reasons.
The True Goal of Blogging: Bring New People In
This kind of hesitation is common as most people instantly think “subscribers” when they hear about blogging as a strategy. However, the decision to blog or not to blog shouldn’t initially be framed by trying to optimize for the number of subscribers. The goal is to bring in new people to your site and organization. Subscribers may follow but even if you're not gaining actual subscribers, you’ll still be bringing in new leads and prospects to your site and that should be the primary goal of any company’s blog.
Take our company for example. Across our two blogs (HiFi and NMC), the total number of subscribers totals around 1,000 people. However, those blogs get more than 500,000 visits per year from non-subscribers due to people looking for good content and finding our blog.
Additionally, our actual conversions to project requests and actual deals are almost exclusively by non-subscribers. People find our content, enjoy it, look at our work, and then get in contact with us. It’s very rare for a subscription to enter that chain of events, and that’s why we focus on creating content to draw in new people rather than to simply satisfy subscribers who represent a minority of our readers.
Don’t get me wrong, subscribers are very valuable in adding vibrancy to the discussion on your blog and in having advocates that will frequently share your posts. But that’s just an added bonus and not the driving focus for companies blogging -- attracting and converting leads.
A Changing Landscape for Online Reading
While having a significant number of subscribers can be a great thing, the online reading landscape is changing, RSS use is declining and social media use is spiking, allowing plenty of other ways people can see your blog beyond subscribing.
With more people using Twitter and other social media, they’re much more likely to follow you than subscribe. And by pushing your posts on social media, you create a convenient way for your followers to share your posts with their network, increasing your organization’s reach.
Win by Creating Useful Content
Our goal is to create useful content, and not just for our subscribers, but for anyone out there interested in the topic. If you get subscribers, that’s a bonus. Useful content draws people in, and excites people to initiate a conversation and engage with your organization. By creating interesting, fresh content that is meant to engage a broad audience rather than just a few subscribers, you'll grow the overall pie of prospects/readers and hopefully the slice of engaged ones, too.
So, when deciding whether or not to blog, don't frame the decision by whether or not people will subscribe to your content but whether or not anyone out there will want to find and read any of your articles, and the answer to that question is almost always yes.