The question keeps coming up:

  • We’re a local, community-focused organization, do we need a blog or is blogging so three years ago?
  • We can blog directly on LinkedIn now! Shouldn’t we just blog there where the potential reach is greater?
  • Contributed content has become a focal point in our media relations plan. That means we can kill our blog right?

No. No. No.

The answer is no. To all of these things.

The rise in content awareness and content options is great. I am a champion of content (usually). I love that businesses are seeing diversity, not only in the types of content they create but where they’re able to house that content.

But in my opinion, your blog is still the cornerstone of your content marketing efforts. Everything still leads there.

Here’s why.

Your blog is your home base.

Your blog is your home. It’s the living, breathing content asset that is 100 percent yours. It lives on your domain. It will do whatever you tell it and no one will ever come and take it away or change its ToS and tell you what you can or cannot post.

Invest in it. Because that’s rare in today’s shiny, always-changing social media world.

When you lease your content presence instead of owning it, you rest your business’ security on the whims of third-party motivations. What if LinkedIn suddenly went away? What if Twitted crashed and never came back? What if Google bought Facebook and then shut it down in cruel, cruel revenge?

If that was the only place your content lived, well, you’d be in trouble.

Instead of using social media to rent a presence, use your blog to create a centralized location for those social accounts to direct users toward.

Should all of your social media engagement point back to your blog or things you own? Of course not. But it should point there regularly. You should be using your social conversations to drive people back to your website. If you’re not doing that, well, you may have missed the social media point.

Your blog skulks out content themes.

Earlier this year I spoke about the importance of using content themes to craft strategically-engaging content. Well, your blog is a vital component of that.

Your blog is your testing group to pinpoint “sticky” topics or the stuff your audience really wants to read about. It allows you to find the content and topics they’ll share on social, fight about in your comments, rally behind and bookmark as their favorite piece of ever-green content ever. These themes or topics are also pretty important to Google in helping the search engine understand what your site is about and the value you bring to users. If you’re not testing these things on your blog, where else will you test them?

Nowhere? Bad plan.

Your blog establishes agency expertise

You want to connect with people on the Web. You want to show them that you know your stuff, that you’re passionate about your industry and that you’re the Go To person on a particular topic. Are you going to do that in 140 characters on Twitter? On Google+ where the early adopter nerds hang out? Or maybe in the comments of a blog much cooler than your non-existent one.

You can do all of that. And you will limit your own success.

Your blog gives you the opportunity to build expertise by covering topics from all angles, by expanding enough to make your cause, by sharing examples and by giving you the room you need to share your insight and your experience.

Your blog is agency resource center.

There’s nothing better than a blog that’s been around for three, five, hell, ten years. It’s a resource goldmine!

Any time a customer has a question, you know you’ve already written four blog posts on the topic (because you identified that theme as being important and kept on it!). Now, instead of typing out a long, confusing email that you’ll probably screw up, you can send your archive of blog content. Not only does this answer the specific question asked, but it shows the depth of your knowledge and your understanding of the topic. It shows you’ve been around awhile, you’re established and that this isn’t your first rodeo.

Your internal team can also use the agency blog as their own educational tool – looking up topics as needed, expanding their knowledge and finding the business-approved answer all on their own.

Your blog packs search power.

This should go without saying, right?

I’ll say it anyway. Consistent blogging will increase your power in the search engines.

It will allow you to:

  • Build additional keyword rankings.
  • Build third-party links to your website.
  • Build internal links to your website.
  • Build an engaged, active community.
  • Generate social signals.
  • Drive traffic.
  • Make friends who will send you links, traffic and leads in the future.

Your blog will make your brand and your website incredibly more sexy to the search engines and the people with credit cards.

Your blog is your best link asset.

Oh, you want people to link to you? Then give them something to link to. Like the content that exists on your blog. Otherwise, shut up.

Your blog is a lead generation magnet.

Guess what? We get leads from people who read our blog. Whether they found the blog via search, clicked through via Twitter or they’re a loyal subscriber (subscribe!), they read the information, they trust the information and they call us when they think we can help. My favorite thing that our blog does (aside from the constantly pretty headers) is that it makes us less of a stranger to you. You get to know us, you understand our culture and process, you vet out that we know what we’re talking about and we become familiar faces. That continues to be the coolest thing in the world to me.

Are blogs dying in importance? I don’t think so. With so many available channels and so much content fragmentation, I’d saying having a blog that you own, that you control and filled with your experiences is more important for businesses than ever. Use channels like LinkedIn and contributed content to introduce yourself to a new audience, but you need somewhere to eventually lead them. That place is your company blog. If you don’t have the passion to write it yourself, partner with an agency who can help. Or fake it til you make it. But don’t let your brand be silent.