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Why Defense Contractors Can't Afford Not to Have a Blog

Defense contractors who blog can profit from all the benefits it provides, including increased awareness and more effective business development.

In the movie Zero Dark Thirty, which dramatized the operation that found and killed Osama bin Laden, one of my favorite scenes was short and probably overlooked by many.

Defense Contractor Blogging Photo: Columbia Pictures

In the scene, a CIA officer was asking the National Security Advisor for support to launch the risky operation to try and kill or capture bin Laden. The National Security Advisor was skeptical, reminding the CIA officer "...I was in the room when your old boss pitched WMD Iraq...at least there you guys brought photographs."

The CIA officer responded, "You know, you're right, I agree with everything you just said. What I meant was, a man in your position, how do you evaluate the risk of not doing something..."

This scene reminded me of the notion that not making a decision IS a decision.  We've all seen indecisiveness in the business world - it's a very human trait. It was a problem for Hamlet, too.

Indecisiveness can also play a role in marketing. There is no shortage of reasons why some defense contractors are keeping their heads down these days: some blame defense spending cuts and a poor economy. However, these days another reason for marketing indecisiveness is because marketing has changed so much in the last few years. A lot of businesses simply don't know what to do or how to start.

Because of the Internet, there are many new, cost effective marketing tactics available to defense contractors that can be enormously beneficial. And, many of those new marketing tactics are even more effective than the older, more traditional forms of marketing. Which leads us to blogging.

Blogging is the most powerful and cost effective marketing tool for defense contractors.

So what exactly is a blog? The name is derived from web log, where articles are published on a regular basis. Here's how HubSpot defines it:

Blog - A collection of articles that provide helpful, valuable, educational, and remarkable content to your target audience. By providing this value, blogs can easily and effectively draw prospects to your website.

The benefits of blogging are numerous, but let's start with the numbers (according to HubSpot's State of Inbound Marketing Report):

More traffic:

Companies that blog get 55% more website traffic than those that don't blog.

More leads:

Companies that blog get 70% more leads than those that don't blog.

More customers:

57% of companies have acquired a customer through their blog.

Blogs affect purchasing decisions:

71% of companies said blogs affect their purchase decisions

But the benefits of blogging don't stop there. Another marketing benefit is the impact blogging has on search engine optimization (SEO).

Here's why: each and every post you write gets published as its own, individual, indexed page page on your website. If you think of indexable pages as lottery tickets for getting found online, then each page is a new opportunity to win more chances of the right people finding your site.

And there's proof to back that up: Businesses with 400-1,000 pages get six times more leads than sites with 50-100 pages.

When your blogging focuses on keywords related to the problem your company solves, the blogging helps you rank in search engines and get found by people looking for the solutions you provide.

Blogging can also help you cut down on the need to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. When people are searching on Google, they click on the organic results at least 70 percent of the time (vs. 30 percent for paid, sponsored listings). And people with higher levels of income and education tend to click on the paid results even less.

Your organic results, derived largely from blogging, continue to deliver results over time, almost like compound interest. PPC, on the other hand, only works as long as you're paying for it. It comes down to the classic "own versus rent" as it relates to your marketing dollars. Do you want to "own" your marketing assets (blogging) or rent them (advertising, direct mail, trade shows)?

Blogs help give you additional real estate for more business development opportunities. Each page of your site can include relevant calls to action with offers for premium content like whitepapers and ebooks, or complimentary analyses of some type relevant to your prospect.

Once a website visitor has clicked on a call to action and gone to a landing page to provide their contact information in return for what you're offering, you have just taken the business relationship to the next level. And that visitor becomes a lead to be further nurtured.

Blogging is also good for your company's reputation:

  • Blogging helps you become an industry leader through education
  • Your blog marks you as trustworthy, as a source of valuable information.
  • The expertise demonstrated in your blog makes people think your products and services are equally topnotch.

Finally, blogging is the first step in developing other, repurposed content such as webinars, videos, eBooks, whitepapers, speeches and even books.

What do you think? Please join the conversation below, and if this article was helpful, please share it with your network (you can use social media buttons below).

The Principal and Founder of Artillery, Douglas Burdett is a former artillery officer and Madison Avenue ad man. He also hosts The Marketing Book Podcast, where he interviews authors every week about the latest in modern marketing and sales.

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