When you think of blogging, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
The LiveJournal you had in high school? The place where you get all your dinner recipes? The page your friend used to keep everyone updated while they backpacked across Europe?
All of those things are blogs, but blogging can be so much more than that. What we’re talking about today is business blogging.
That’s right. I said it. Business blogging. Your summer camp—even if you’re a non-profit—is a business. And if you’re not using blogging as a part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a lot.
A lot of what, Kendray?
Well, for starters...
Qualified leads (AKA parents with dollars, who would like to spend those dollars sending their kid to summer camp)
Active job seekers (AKA the unicorn male counselor who also happens to be a lifeguard)
Camp alumni who want to engage with an important part of their childhood (AKA potential donors)
If your camp doesn’t need any of those things, feel free to stop reading. But for everyone else, I’m about to drop some major knowledge on you:
Having the best camp in the world doesn’t matter if no one knows you exist. You have to get yourself out there, and blogging is one of the best ways to help get your camp out in front of prospective families, staff members, and donors.
Content is King (but don’t take my word for it)
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King”. That phrase has become a mantra for online marketers and still holds true over 20 years later. Content marketing isn’t a new concept, but as consumers spend more and more time online, content marketing becomes more and more valuable. Creating and publishing high-quality content—including blog posts—is key to staying relevant and competitive.
There’s a good reason why more and more businesses are making blogging a cornerstone of their marketing strategy—it works. Let’s look at some of the numbers:
On average, companies with blogs receive 67% more leads per month.
Companies that blog get twice as much traffic from their email marketing than those that don’t.
47% of buyers consume three to five pieces of content before making a purchase decision.
94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.
Using images in your blog posts gets them 94% more views.
70-80% of search engine users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic results.
Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their site
Featuring a blog gives you a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines
So what can we extrapolate from all of those numbers?
Blogging will help you connect more effectively with your audience. Writing relevant, useful content will help you connect with a wider audience through the power of social sharing. And blogging will bring more traffic to your website, giving you more opportunities to fill your camp, find great staff, and get donors interested in your program.
In short: blogging is definitely worth your time.
Okay, but what can blogging actually DO for my summer camp?
So much! But right now we’ll focus on three things I think are the most important: blogging increases online visibility, improves your website’s SEO, and positions your camp as a leader in your niche.
One of the big things blogging does for you is it increases your online visibility. That’s exactly what it sounds like—regularly updating your blog helps your website be found and seen on the internet. This could mean your summer camp ranks more highly on search engines, your social media pages get more engagement, and so on.
Regularly updating your blog with high-quality, relevant content will also help improve your website’s SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Each time you create a new post on your camp’s blog, you’re adding to the number of indexable pages on your website. Not only does having more indexed pages create more opportunities for your website to show up and rank higher on search engines, it also serves as a cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and should be checked frequently for new content.
Another piece of the SEO puzzle is dwell time, or the time that people spend on your website once they land on it. Someone who comes to your website from a blog post that shows up in the search results is more likely to stick around for a while and read the whole thing than someone who lands on a page with less information. That time is a factor that search engines pay attention and impart value to.
Blogging also provides opportunities for internal linking—meaning linking to other pages on your website like other blog posts, your registration page, FAQ, and so on—and inbound linking—meaning other websites linking to posts on your blog. Both of these improve your site’s credibility with search engines, leading to higher rankings.
Not only does blogging drive traffic to your website, it also gives you the opportunity to turn that traffic into leads. Every blog post is an opportunity for you to draw visitors into your funnel. Depending on who you’re writing for, that could look like a lot of different things. If you’re writing a post targeting parents, that could be an opt-in for your email list; if you’re writing for potential staff, it might be an opportunity for them to sign up to receive more information about working at camp; for donors, it could be getting on the waitlist to receive a notification when you start selling tickets for your big annual fundraiser. Whatever it is, there should be a call-to-action in every post so you can convert those visitors into leads.
Finally, having a blog filled with up-to-date, high-value content helps establish your camp as an authority. When it comes right down to it, whether you’re a day camp or an overnight camp, run one week sessions or the whole summer, you’re asking parents to choose you to care for their child. That requires a lot of trust. One of the ways you can foster that trust is by setting yourself, and your camp, up as a leader in your niche. By providing valuable information, insight, and yes, even entertainment, you gain authority that gives you an edge over other camps in your space.
Blogging is one of the keys to getting your website in front of the right people. Who doesn’t want that? The question is… what should you blog about? Keep an eye out for the next installment in the Summer Camp Marketing 101 series, where I’ll discuss where to find inspiration for highly relevant, valuable blog content.
Does blogging sound like something you want to add to your marketing plan but not something you want to add to your plate? Click on the WORK WITH ME button at the top of the page or send a message to hello [at] kendrayelizabeth [dot] com!