Last Friday night I popped over to the very glamorous Park Plaza hotel in Westminster for the 2016 UK Blog Awards. Basked in the spring sun as it dipped behind Big Ben, I came for a nice evening of networking with prolific and innovative bloggers from across the country, ushered suitably along by champagne and canapés.
Little did I know we were going to win. We won!
Southerly is company winner of a UK Blog Award, in the PR, Media, Marketing and Communications category. This is officially an award-winning marketing blog.
UK Blog Awards 2016
First of all, the thank yous. A lot of our readership got behind us and voted for us to reach the finals, getting through, I’m told, a total of 2,000 entries and 79,000 public votes. That is, quite frankly, astounding so a heartfelt thank you to everyone that helped us along the way, we are indebted to you.
Following being shortlisted, we were scrutinised by a panel of industry experts on our blog’s attributes, according to the rigorous parameters of design, style, content, marketing and usability. That we comprehensively met and indeed won the award off the back of these criteria is an enormous compliment and a reflection of the enduring hard work the team here at Southerly puts in to bring the latest news and views from the world of communications. I must express a huge well done and my gratitude to my amazing colleagues.
This is officially an award-winning marketing blog
Prior to the ceremony, interestingly, I was interviewed on camera by a roaming press team. The interviewer asked me a question that I answered somewhat haphazardly in the heat of the moment, but which certainly gave me pause for thought afterwards.
She asked: “Why is blogging important?”
My answer? “It gives us all a voice.”
Now, this is a very valid answer. I’m certainly not going to mark myself down on that one. And I didn’t just drop the mic and walk off after that; I assure you I took the time to qualify what I was talking about. But as she left I began thinking about it a little deeper. I had to consider what that really means from a business perspective.
Your brand voice is incredibly important. It shows everyone, from clients and customers to prospective employees who you are and what you’re all about. By saying something interesting and useful you develop authority and credibility, which are valuable aspects of your brand identity and image.
Ultimately it shows the company’s human side and, on the whole, people like and trust people more than faceless organisations. Trust is everything for a brand in the digital race and blogs build trust. If a reader trusts you, they want to hear more from you. And if they want to keep hearing from you, it stands to reason that they might want to download your white papers and studies, or better yet, convert into a customer. According to HubSpot, businesses that blog experience a 13-fold increase in return on investment for their marketing efforts.
A blog helps drive traffic to your website, for example. Great blog content means people want to link-build with you because you’re saying something that they’re keen to repeat or take on board. Again, you’re building trust in the human element of your business. You have an opinion – an emotional connection to the subject – which you can express in an engaging way.
Blogs also drive SEO: website pages that are constantly updated with your well-expressed opinions and research are exactly what the search engines want to see. It means you’re making active efforts to remain relevant and always looking to provide fresh value to your readers. It shows you’re anything but a static website that never updates.
Giving a voice to your brand is incredibly important, and that’s why we will continue blogging on a regular basis and sharing our thoughts and opinions with those who want to read them. Long live the humble blog.