It Takes So Much Time... And Is So Worth It
Just in case you haven't noticed, Hollywood Branded blogs. A lot. We've made it the backbone to our inbound marketing strategy, and have been blogging since 2012. When we first started, we simply used our Wordpress website platform and wrote a single blog a week. Now we write anywhere from 3 to 5 blogs each week, and use more advanced software that allows us incredible insight into the online user interaction.
And it's made a fantastic change for our company. We went from always selling our agency benefits and who we are on every single phone call, to rarely having to go over more than a gloss of who we are and what we do for brands - as they already know when they pick up the phone and give us a call. It's an absolute game changer. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares 7 reasons why we blog, and the sales results we get - and why we believe all brands should be blogging despite the time it takes.
1. Why We Blog: SEO
There are very few keywords relevant to our agency that we write about, where we don't pop up on the first page of Google at this point. But we are always looking for more! And that's the biggie of what blogging has done for Hollywood Branded. It's allowed us to be found easily on Google when people search for either short or long tail keywords.
What are those? Well a 'short' keyword is going to be one or two words that are pretty basic about your business. And it's really hard to stand out there because even as a specialist agency that is all about product placement, celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing and event activations - those specific words have been written about thousands of times. And often by individuals not in an agency business, but by writers of big named magazines like Forbes or newspapers like the Wall Street Journal. When those big media outlets write, they have tremendous clout, others link to those articles in their own blogs and articles, and Google sees them as highly relevant and pops them up onto first page rankings.
So that means it's easy to get lost in the world of the internet. And if you are lost, then you are losing business too because your future clients can't find the important information you are trying to share.
But writing blogs and using 'long tail' keywords, where a few words are strung together to make a mini sentence, in such a way that people might actually search for them, like "get your brand on talk shows" is the strategy that really works. We typically stay in the first to fourth ranking on this page, and right now as I write this are in position 3 (highlighted in the image below.) Other long tail keywords that might be relevant for us to write about that people search for are given by Google as suggestions on the lower right - and our team can use those for future blog article ideas to structure an article around if we write on a similar topic.
By the way - our videos and infographics also end up ranking on first pages on Google based on what meta tag data we reference them as. But that content conversation will be held for another day - they are both 'musts' in my opinion for any brand. But can be a little more to bite off than the blog to start.
2. Why We Blog: Expertise
Another of the golden reasons we write is to establish an expertise position online. And boy do we have it! We don't know any other agency in our space who is quite as prolific on sharing what we know and how to do it. And it's a different type of stance to take, and one that our competitors don't always embrace. Why? Well we are giving away the farm. In many of our blog posts we tell brand marketers exactly what they need to do within the space of influencer and entertainment marketing to be successful. Step by step in fact. And further support it with infographics, insight videos and more.
But it's very different telling someone how to do something. And then having them go out, develop the systems and processes (and in our case the MASSIVE relationships) to actually do it. Plus we have over 20 years of knowing what NOT to do from some pretty intense learning experiences. So we know how to do the things we do inside and out. Rinse and repeat. Brands not so much. So it takes the 'scary' out of sharing away.
And sure, a brand can ABSOLUTELY use the information we provide and do it on their own. And when they are ready to up the ante and do something bigger and more outside their comfort zone - our proven process of getting it done, and having taught them to start, will hopefully still be in their memory when they look online for help.
3. Why We Blog: Continued Touches To Future Clients
I can't tell you how many times I've gotten an email out of the blue from someone who said "I was just in a meeting where we talked about (influencer marketing / product placement / celebrities...)" and your blog that I get each week reminded me that I should reach out to you. Or someone thanks my team for not being perpetual stalkers, and says we give them enough information through our blog and email newsletters to keep us top of mind for when the conversation becomes more relevant.
It's a lot better than having a sales team doing endless follow up calls, and helps makes those deals that you thought might be dead, come back alive down the line. And we are here for the long haul - whether we have a conversation with someone this month and start a program, or the program starts a year down the line.
4. Why We Blog: PR Exposure
With over twenty years of experience in this field, I'm often reached out to by media outlets to weigh in on different branded entertainment and celebrity stories. The blog has allowed me to be even more positioned as a thought leader, on a global level. We can provide turnkey and easy content bytes for writers to use, as we have already thought through and developed solid answers to many of the most asked questions. I write many of the blogs on Hollywood Branded - with a specific focus on the How-To-Accomplish type of content. And by writing so frequently - it's sped up my own ability to speedily be able to respond to a last minute request by media. From blog writing, my brain's just trained to better think on the spot.
And by the way - once you get that amazing PR... you can share a link to that article and provide some more insight to what the reporter may have not included... in your blog!
5. Why We Blog: Team Development
I admit that I require everyone in the agency to write, as if you can't tell, I think it's a great way to develop a point of view, as well as helps focus additional education through research needed to be able to compose a solid blog. Our team learns to be able to better storytell through the written word, which then translates into client and inner office communication as well. It also helps to keep everyone's eyes open to new trends that we should know about before our clients - and to dig in and find out if they are worthwhile trend, or software subscription or new sales strategy - or not.
6. Why We Blog: Content To Repurpose
While writing blogs in order to create content was not the original purpose of why we wrote... it's become the backbone to our entire content marketing strategy. Our How-To blogs are repurposed as the inspiration for our agency infographics, e-books and even my podcast. We take snippets from them and use them for our social media - and of course we use all of our social media platforms to drive awareness back to our blogs as well.
We've taken some of this content and turned it into email marketing campaigns, as well as slideshare decks. And all of our blogs are shared through our e-newsletter on a weekly basis.
We are now in the midst of launching our Influencer Marketing School which takes our How-To's, and repositions them as classes based around specific subject matter. And I'm just finishing up editing my first book, that would not have been as easily accomplished if it were not for the massive amounts of content I had already written, which I could pull from to build out chapter upon chapter.
And everything we produce at the agency in terms of e-books, videos, infographics and research studies, we then have blogs written to support that content as well. It truly is a never ending cycle of content that builds and gets more defined (and helpful!) with each new piece created.
7. Why We Blog: Phone Calls And Email Inquiries (Sales!)
We don't have an extremely active outbound sales strategy. Through the years I've learned that endless cold calls are just that. Endless. And not very productive. We have focused entirely on inbound marketing, as that has been what's proven to make our phones ring, and our inboxes fill up with requests for more information.
All of our blogs have what is called Call to Actions embedded in them - with offers to download content or watch video, all exchanged by payment of a name and email address of the reader. That's our spiderweb, but we're a very friendly spider. We don't stalk, and we wait for those who have interest to come to us with questions All the while we continue to share content that based on the articles they have read and the content they have downloaded, we believe will be helpful in solving their questions and own research. We provide solutions. Instead of cold salesy emails that are interuptive.
And that's why we use Hubspot now as our sales and marketing software. It's CRM that is built to help us keep track of and communicate with those individuals who have shown interest in our influencer and entertainment marketing programs. And we get a whole lot of other insight into what people are interested in as well. Without having to be daily experts at software programs like SEMRush or Google Analytics (although we have a team who uses those too).
The Software We Use
As I mentioned, when we first started, we were simply using our Wordpress platform to blog on. And in fact had our blog in three languages - English, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. But the layout of the blog just wasn't that pretty. And it was really hard to see detail about user interaction, even with a deep dive to Google Analytics which were linked to the blog. And Calls to Actions complete with Landing Pages? We needed a Masters in website design to build that out. But oh have times changed.
When I realized that Wordpress wasn't actually a great solution or ideal, I ended up doing massive homework (aka endless research into the unknown), did trial upon trial and decided to purchase the Hubspot software that was starting to generate conversations and traction. Other software platforms were good. But Hubspot had components - like blogging and CRM usage, that I knew the learning curve would be infinitely shorter. And that even our interns would be able to use it.
What It's Done For Us
The software was a big commitment as at the time their pricing structure and offerings were really better for larger companies with bigger lists, but we committed, and over the years have watched our email list grow and interactions skyrocket. It's still a high financial commitment, but the power inbound marketing software has brought to our agency makes it a must-have, not a nice to have.
In fact, each year we have seen a TRIPLING in our blog traffic, where we now easily average over 100,000 blog views per year. Which means we are very excited for this next year, and each year therafter. We build upon older articles to help keep them relevant and make them even stronger as Google continues to revise their own search engine strategies and how they position the content agencies like ours write. But here is the thing - studies are stating that 76% of your blog views come from OLD content. Which means you need to be blogging for some time before you are necessarily going to see skyrocketing views. And you are going to need to tweak that content along the way to keep it relevant.
Six years later, blogging is now an absolutely integral part of how our agency does business on a day to day basis. And we've made it integral for many of our clients as well by helping them understand the process, get a software system set up that they can actually keep to, and even assist in writing and creating the research studies, video and infographic content that will keep their views growing, and phones ringing.
Our Blog Goal
All of our content marketing has one goal: To teach, solve problems and provide information that no one else does. And we do it in great abundance. In our case, we want to provide someone with the knowledge on how they are going to be spending their marketing dollars, and that they know our agency guarantee stands true: that by working with us they will save more and get more out of the campaign (that they would never know to ask for), with us than without us.
Really, blogging is just brand-owned content. And while I certainly believe every brand, whether targeting consumers or businesses, should have an active voice, what really matters is that the brand has any voice. So if your brand isn't ready to start blogging and creating content, think about ways you can leverage 3rd party voices - like influencers and other content creators, and find ways to create brilliant product placement programs where your brand becomes interwoven into their social posts, TV shows, music lyrics or feature films.
And if you ever want a look behind the scenes on how we use Hubspot - just drop me a line. I love the software and am happy to walk you through the system. We take all the classes (there are A LOT!) to try to understand how best to use all the bells and whistles, with a big emphasis on making our new business development team's day easier, and are a Hubspot Partner which brings some extra (free) bells and whistles to those we introduce the program to as well.
So check out some of our other agency blogs that talk about best marketing practices for product placement and brand integration partnerships:
- 4 Common Myths About Product Placement Debunked
- 10 Surprising Reasons Why Brands Do Product Placement
- 8 Ways To Use Product Placement Assets To Amplify Your Brand Into Sales
- 3 Important Steps In Planning Product Placement Strategy
- Thinking Product Placement Cost Is High (It Isn't!)
To learn more about influencer marketing, check out these five blogs we've written that dive more deeply into how you can successfully create an influencer marketing campaign:
- 3 Insights To Create Affordable Influencer Marketing Campaigns
- 3 Things Brands Need To Understand About FTC Guidelines On Influencers
- 3 Tips To Make Your Brand Appealing To Top Social Media Influencers
- 5 Signs Your Brand Should Invest in Influencer Marketing
- 8 Step Guide On How Much To Spend On Social Influencer Marketing
- Why An Influencer Isn't Responding To Your Inquiries