A question I get frequently asked is whether or not blogging is still “worth it” as a marketing activity.

Because, let’s face it: blogging requires a lot of time and effort, and there are a lot of other marketing strategies that seem to get faster, bigger results. It’s easy to be swayed by the newest, shiniest object in a marketing toolbox when blogging seems kinda old, rusty, and dinged up.

But is it still a useful tool in the age of Facebook Live, Instagram stories and Snapchat?

What is your goal?

I know y’all are going to start smacking me for saying this all the time, but the answer is it depends on your goal.

If you need to drive traffic to a launch or a sale in a short period of time, say under 6 months to a year, blogging is not going to be your best bet — at least, not blogging on its own.

If you need fast results, there are other strategies that will get you to a particular ROI faster.

But I still think that blogging is often (maybe not always) a pillar even in a content strategy that requires faster results; for example, driving traffic to a blog post via paid ads and then retargeting that traffic with an offer often has a better conversion rate for a lower price.

On the flip side, relying just on blogging to support a sales goal rarely works. People sometimes seem to think that blogging is like the Field of Dreams: if I write it, they will come.

But this is FALSE. (Mostly.)

I often hear from clients that they’ve been blogging regularly for a while and aren’t seeing any ROI from it. So I ask them, what are you doing to promote your blog?

And they kinda stare at me blankly.

The truth is, the likelihood that people will just magically find your blog posts without you doing any kind of promotion is slim to none.

If you need traffic and leads in a short period of time to support a launch or sales cycle, you need to do more than just blog. Some things I’ve recommended to people lately that drive traffic more quickly include:

  • Host a challenge on Facebook and encourage participants to invite friends
  • Host a contest on Instagram or Facebook with a sharable hashtag
  • Produce a series of “mini webinars” on Facebook live to take advantage of the algorithm to reach more people
  • Pitch a bunch of podcast interviews
  • Pitch a bunch of guest posts and featured articles
  • Do webinars with partners who already reach the audience you want to reach

And those are just a few ideas. The point is, if you need traffic quickly, you need to go out and get it (not wait for it to come to you).

So, to repeat: If you need eyeballs right now (or, say in the next 6 months), blogging is probably not your best marketing strategy on its own.

I said to a Strategy Session client last week, at that point, your success with blogging depends less on the actual post and more on your promotional strategy.

Blogging is a long game

However, over time, blogging just on its own is still an incredible strategy to drive massive traffic and eyeballs to your website.

I’ve been blogging on this website for about 4 years. When I looked at my analytics last week, fully 67% of the visitors to my website are from organic sources (ie: Google). Not social media, not my email newsletters, not bigwigs sharing a link, not people directly typing in my URL — 67% is from people finding me in search results.

And I’ve actually started seeing quality leads from that for my high-end offers. It’s still lower than my referral rate, but it’s becoming significant.

But that’s after four years of blogging once a week, every week (more or less).

And this is not just me: I’ve been working with one of my clients for two years now, and between the two of us, we’ve written a blog post for her website every single week over the past two years.

That has translated into an average of 20,000 visitors per month for her from organic search traffic, and 5,000 leads per month. She’s translated this into more than 750 paying clients in her program every month. And this is all organic traffic — she only runs two paid promotions each year.

Let me say that again: She’s getting 5,000 leads per month. FROM BLOGGING.

The only caveat here is that this takes time. You do not build up to this kind of traffic overnight. It can take, literally, years. SEO work can help speed this up, but even with pro SEO, it takes time.

It also requires a good lead magnet and follow-up email strategy to turn those visitors into customers. Remember: driving traffic isn’t the only metric you have to consider; you also need to know what happens to that traffic after the first click that gets them to your site.

Blogging is only one part of the big picture

This is why I’ve stopped talking about my work as “blogging strategy” and started talking about “content strategy” — because if you’re only blogging, you’re missing out on a world of opportunities and probably not seeing the kind of ROI you want.

If, however, you combine blogging with other mediums and channels, you’re likely to see a much better return both in the short term and in the long term than if you were to use just one or the other separately.

I’ll close this with an example from a Strategy Session I did last week: My client was surprised that I was asking her to do a series of Facebook Live videos to promote her course, which will launch in about 5 weeks, instead of writing blog posts.

“Personally,” she said to me, “I’d much rather read a post than watch a video any day.”

“Me too,” I replied, “but in this case my recommendation is all about the channel, not the medium.”

In her case, she has a very small email list and low traffic to her website, so we needed to get outside her existing audience and engage new people. To do that, I want her to take advantage of the natural boost the Facebook algorithm gives to live video, the ability for her community to share the video and get more exposure, and the ability to use that video to create Facebook ads.

The recommendation actually had NOTHING to do with a preference for using video over text to convey her message (and I suggested she could get the videos transcribed and post both to her blog as well); it had everything with the channel’s ability to reach more people than her blog could easily reach alone.

So just to repeat myself again and sound like a broken record: The strategy is dependent on the goal. Blogging is still a valuable marketing activity, but it has to be matched to your goals.