Publishing quality, relevant content is arguably the best form of inbound marketing a brand can engage in. And yet, the numbers don’t totally reflect that. In 2017, 66 percent of marketers reported using blogs in their social media content. But that means that 34 percent of marketers are still not aware of the power of blogging.
The Power of Blogging
It’s 2018 — but some brands are still missing out on the benefits of publishing content regularly. What benefits, I hear you ask? Well consider this stat, B2B marketers that engage in blogging get 67 percent more leads than B2B marketers who don’t blog. That increase in leads alone is a good enough reason to start blogging today. Aaron Wolpoff, the Senior Inbound Marketing Strategist at San Diego, Calif.-based 41Orange, concurs, “Blogging is incredibly powerful because, unlike reviews or social media, it is content that the brand creates, distributes and owns. A blog provides an ongoing opportunity to engage your customers, provide value with your subject matter expertise, and drive relevant traffic to your website,” Wolpoff began.
According to Wolpoff, blogging is a long-term proposition that requires ongoing care and attention. However, brands that do it correctly will have a strong competitive advantage.
Jason Hall, Founder and CEO of Destin, FL.-based FiveChannels, also got behind the concept of blogging as the most effective forms of marketing, “Blogging is one of the most current, and effective, marketing strategies around right now. Providing your audience with a steady flow of compelling and engaging content has become a linchpin of any successful marketing strategy,” Hall said.
For those interested in creating a blog for their business or want to switch to a more robust platform, there are a myriad of different solutions to choose from. To help narrow the list of choices, we’ve compiled a list of blogging platforms that make the process a piece of cake. The list below has been compiled with help from lists found on Capterra, SproutSocial and CreativeBloq.
Related Article: Medium vs. WordPress: Battle of the Blogging Platforms
WordPress is one of the most mature blogging solutions (although today, it’s a fully-fledged content management system) on the market — which is reflected in the fact that it’s also the most popular solution, powering over 30 percent of the entire known web. Yes, you read that correctly.
In 2004, WordPress was blogging-focused, and although it has outgrown that label, it retains all the features that make it a powerful, yet approachable blogging platform. Such features include media management, post management, user permissions, content versioning and the availability of thousands of themes and plugins to help bolster functionality and design.
WordPress comes in two flavors; hosted and self-hosted. To use the hosted version of WordPress, you’ll pay a small fee in exchange for hosting, support and freedom from ads, although you do lose some of your ability to customize your WordPress site. With self-hosted WordPress, you simply download the open source files, host it wherever you like, and do with it what you will.
Medium emerged as a WordPress alternative back in 2011. Like WordPress, it gives bloggers and marketers an easy and inexpensive route into publishing. However, Medium doesn’t require any technical setup or web hosting, making it even more accessible. Instead, Medium works more like a social network, pairing a user friendly blogging user interface with a baked-in community, allowing Medium users to trend within the Medium ecosystem, as well as outside it.
Features include publisher profiles, built-in analytics, mobile image grids, inline code writing, and the potential for anybody to get on to the Medium homepage and go viral inside the platform, as well as outside it.
Related Article: Ghost vs. WordPress: A Purist Blogger's Dilemma
After two years as the Deputy Head of Design for WordPress, John O’Nolan launched Ghost in 2013 as an open source platform that aimed to return to WordPress-like roots as a publishing platform. Today, Ghost remains a niche player compared to WordPress, but it remains true to its mission to make publishing a straightforward affair.
Features include a markdown editor, team collaboration, content scheduling, native apps, total control over your code as well as a JSON API.
Launched in 1999 and purchased by Google in 2003, Blogger is a no-thrills blogging solution. You can choose a template, customize it to an extent, gain a following on the platform, and embed images and videos.
However, as a free service, Blogger has a bunch of limitations, like only being able to publish 100 blog posts on one subdomain.
Tumblr isn’t just about publishing articles, which makes it worth considering if your brand has a lot of visual content to push. With Tumblr, you can publish articles, photos, GIFs, links, quips, quotes, audio snippets, videos, art and pretty much anything else.
It’s more akin to a social network than a blogging platform, but Tumblr is a powerful platform for getting messages across in a lot of different ways — particularly if you’re a B2C brand.
6. Your Existing CMS
If your existing CMS is the sole reason that you’re looking for a third-party blogging platform (a slow, finicky publishing process can indeed ruin the fluidity of your blogging strategy), then feel free to ignore this point. However, if you’re using a WCMS that doesn’t make publishing feel like a chore, its worth testing out the features and capabilities you already have in your possession before drafting in another platform to add to your tech stack.