In a scene from the movie Capote, Truman Capote sits backstage with William Shawn, his friend and editor at the New York Times. It is immediately after the first public reading from his yet-to-be released book, In Cold Blood. The two are engaged in a conversation about the next steps to market the book:
Capote: “Now what do we do?”
Shawn: “We do nothing. We sit back and let the people do all the work for us.”
Shawn knew the key to effectively marketing the book was to get people talking about it. By publishing several excerpts and arranging the reading, Shawn merely got the ball rolling. The reading was such a success that those in attendance went home and shared the experience with their friends and family. Then they went to work, and it became the topic of coffee breaks (there were no water coolers at the time). The most respected literati of the day were invited to the event, and it immediately became the focal point of their future columns. This was the word-of-mouth machine at work.
What can Truman Capote’s experience teach us about marketing? Fifty years ago word of mouth marketing was the most effective channel around. And while there are far more distribution channels available to market your message now, the most powerful means from half a century ago remains the most effective today. The major difference lies in the reach.
Thanks to the Internet, word-of-mouth has the ability to reach the masses. Think of the last great book you read. How many people did you tell about it? Online, anybody has the ability to deliver their opinion and potentially influence thousands to millions with a blog. And many people find blogs the same way they find much of the information they seek online — through search.
How to Leverage a Blog for SEO Benefit
In order to perform well in search engines, a website needs to have a substantial number of credible sites linking into it. Well, the jury is no longer out on whether blogs are considered credible. While the relevance of the subject matter of many blogs can be debated, they are viewed as legitimate websites by the search engines. Blogs tend to have the following characteristics that bode well for search engine performance — their content, links, and titles are rich in keyword phrases, and they often have a substantial amount of inbound links — the key ingredients for any website’s SEO success.
However, bear in mind that a blog strategy should not be undertaken solely for SEO purposes, but rather to supplement your existing SEO efforts, and because it makes business sense and will benefit your prospects and customers. While there are numerous strategies that can be employed to take advantage of the SEO benefits of blogs, let’s examine the pros and cons associated with the most popular three: