During COVID-19, my blog on fine chocolate Foodensity skyrocketed. Most of my long-form articles (the blog posts with over 2,000 words) are now well-positioned on page one of Google for the following keywords:
“white chocolate” (over One Billion search results)
“vanilla in chocolate” (over 370 Million search results)
“blonde chocolate” (over 180 Million search results)
“chocolate branding” (over 30 Million search results)
“chocolate flavor trends”( over 15 Million search results)
“lecithin in chocolate” (over 11 Million search results)
“cadmium in chocolate” (over One Million search results)
These articles’ positioning contends the Internet space with my competitors in the same niche and generalist multimillion-visit websites, like food magazines and news blogs.
But such results weren’t thrown at me from the sky. I executed a clear and precise long-term blogging and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, started several months before the COVID-19 event. Just to give an outline of the history of my blogging efforts:
- Successfully completed the Google Digital Marketing course with flying colors in July 2019.
- Set out a Google My Business page for the blog, credited with 5-star reviews by loyal fans.
- Watched eye-opening video tips from Neil Patel, one of the most authoritative digital marketing experts.
- Looked for the most valuable keywords through Ubersuggest to get content broadest reach.
- Designed engaging pictures and infographics through Canva and Inkscape to visually expose a topic.
- Installed RankMath, a free SEO tool for WordPress, comprehensive of the Google-friendly Schema Markup feature.
As an added bonus, my Food Science and Technology background helped me look through the content I researched on a specific subject with critical thinking and placement in context, serving the reader with a popular topic they wouldn’t find presented in the same guise elsewhere. In hindsight, I recognize how high education still possesses an intangible but huge value, especially in an era where we are overwhelmed with tons of information and influencers from all walks of life.
Beyond the history of these goals through blogging, long-term benefits gradually started manifesting from nonblog channels, like social media. For example, I shared only content I would post on my blog as well. Content that should be informative, inspirational, or engaging for my reader. The decision to turn to quality over quantity even on social media had the positive effect of brands noticing my voice with more of my personality.
The second advantage of curating content for blogs over social media is that a blog remains a brand’s property with broader control over time. Social media channels work quite the opposite.
Social media platforms, which are not ‘owned’ by their users, have the primary goal of gaining profits through ads as soon as more and more people come in the same platform for its popularity and start competing for the same share of attention with other users. That means that over months and, typically, 3-5 years, marketing channels like social media become saturated with content, with the consequence of dropping the organic reach of quality content over time, ultimately pushing users to spend more money for ads to get eyeballs on their posts.
So, why we fail to associate digital marketing mostly with social media and less with blogging?
Because posting on social media is more immediate and less resource-demanding. Posting on social media provides a temporary gratification of attention on one’s feed or page, but the truth is another. All of the content published on social media stays on social media, subject to the beck and call of an algorithm that mostly favors buzz over quality. The result of posting content only on social media is to avoid indexing quality content on search engines, which is where potential customers and clients could find small food brands near them or with specific characteristics and values through keywords.
Blogging, instead, requires a different extent of efforts, planning, and focus. And it takes persistence and time, two resources that only a few marketers are willing to invest in to get lasting results over time that won’t fade off because a social media algorithm has changed overnight and pushed down the organic reach of quality content.
Furthermore, the food industry stood out over wealthier industries, such as travel and leisure, reaching nearly 60% of conversions (website visitors becoming first-time buyers). Probably because, since the first lockdowns of March, people are still seeking comfort and escapism at home by buying certain food items and preparing healthier meals to make up for the sense of insecurity caused by restrictive social measures.
At the same time, sales in the food industry are not easier if brands never understood how to build competitive advantage on consumer trust before COVID-19. LinkedIn recently explained that customer sales cycles are occurring longer in post-COVID outbreak times as decisions are slower and harder to evaluate the next purchase.
The interest in buying is refrained by an increased level of scrutiny toward a specific business or brand because decisions are based on trust and authority more than ever in a prolonged financial and existential insecurity scenario like the current one. And trust and authority take time to be perceived and scrutinized by less impulse-inclined customers before delivering their choice in a marketplace crammed with all sorts of proposition.
Working on an effective digital marketing strategy and online presence through blogging seems now more crucial than ever to communicate trust, relevance, and authority for any brand, company, or persona. The offline will likely depend on the online on an even deeper level in a yet defining ‘new normal’ after COVID-19.
If you are a small or specialty food brand, are you leveraging blogging to communicate your values and build trust during COVID-19?
(And, if you need actionable support with blogging advice proven to work, just drop me a message and I will be happy to help you!)