How Can a Blog Help Your Business?
When marketing a business, it’s hard to know where to place your resources and where to draw the line. Competition brings pressure from all angles. Raising brand awareness, researching your target audience and developing new ways to attract potential customers are all essential tasks. There's the also daunting task of engaging with existing and previous customers. So, how can a blog help your business? Probably in more ways than you think.
The benefits of writing a blog for your business
The benefits of blogging for business are widely underestimated. A blog bursting with quality content can nurture relationships with existing customers AND direct new visitors to your site. Here’s why:
1. It gives your business personality
Knowing your customer and writing with them in mind is a powerful way to engage them long term. And by being consistent in your tone and the types of content that you share, you can distinguish your business from your competitors.
2. Increases brand awareness
The goal is to give your brand as much exposure as possible. When you share useful and interesting content, you raise your visibility. And for the right reasons. Customers who didn't even know they wanted your products and services will begin to notice you.
3. Blogging helps to drive traffic to your site (and keep it there!)
A high-quality blog is about the customer, not your business. It should address the audience's needs by offering solutions or inspiration. Sure, your audience will be interested in the odd update from your company, but even these should be benefits-focused. In essence, effective blog content will interest and entertain even those readers who have stumbled across the post.
4. It builds a community around your business
Nothing encourages business growth quite like understanding your customer. And there’s no better way to get to know your customers than to witness them communicating with each other. A blog presents opportunities for your readership to leave comments and reviews, and this helps to generate discussion. Much can be learnt from these exchanges. Customers are more inclined to offer constructive feedback using less formal channels, such as comment sections.
5. Informative blog posts build trust and credibility
Regular blog posts are an opportunity to display your knowledge and experience. This is especially useful if you can gain a reputation as an “industry expert”. But perhaps more importantly, they let your audience know that you’re passionate about your product.
The nuts & bolts of writing a business blog
So, we’ve covered many of the benefits of creating a business blog (there are countless more). Now it’s time to address the reason that you’ve read this far - creating a blog seems overwhelming. But, with structured planning and time investment, blogging can contribute to the growth of your business in a meaningful way.
As with any marketing tactic, blogging success hinges on several key factors:
1. Strategy and planning
Before committing yourself to running a blog, ask yourself (and your team) a few questions and answer them honestly:
What resources (staff, time, budget) do we have available? Will we create and implement our own strategy or outsource the work?
Do we have enough social media presence to optimise exposure? If not, do we have the resources to develop and implement a social media strategy?
What are our targets in relation to conversion rates, views, leads, shares and timeframes?
Who are we targeting?
What will we blog about? What content is our target audience looking for at each stage of the buying cycle? What are our areas of expertise?
How often will we post?
2. Researching and creating high-quality content
The internet is saturated with content. To cut through the noise, your posts need to be accurate, readable, accessible, current and relevant. In other words, they must be of high quality. This requires thorough research, a deep understanding of the subject matter and a flair for writing.
3. The need for regular blogging
As the saying goes, you have to be in it to win it. The more quality posts you can contribute, the more posts indexed by Google. Over time, this will build your visibility and authority. The more material you have in the public domain, the more likely a potential customer will visit your website to answer their search query. Regular blogging also gives those that have discovered your site more reason to return to it.
4. Optimising for search engines
Search engine optimisation (SEO) will likely be the most time-consuming area of research and planning. If you want your posts to rank well, SEO should be a core part of your blogging strategy, not an afterthought. This is a whole subject in itself, but you can learn the basics here:
5. Promoting posts via social media
A published blog, if written well, will eventually build a following in its own right. However, proactive sharing on social media will gain you quicker, measurable results. It's well-documented that for optimal exposure, you should spend 20% of your time creating posts and 80% of your time promoting them. That includes:
Sharing new and old content across social media channels.
Engaging with people that comment on, share and ask questions about your content.
Building backlink opportunities.
Repurposing your content - email campaigns, downloads, e-books, videos, etc.
Your social media promotion strategy requires as much time and attention as your blogging strategy. The two should run in parallel and be reviewed in relation to each other.
6. Monitoring and adjusting
Successful strategies are dynamic. It's only through continual monitoring and adjustment that you will achieve optimal results.
Here are some of the core factors to monitor and analyse to inform your blogging strategy:
Social media engagement
How each post is ranking for keywords
Use your findings to:
Develop new content.
Improve existing content.
Strengthen your promotional strategy.
Why search engine optimisation is the crux of successful business blogging
While a well-written blog post provides value to the reader, a well-designed SEO strategy is vital in making sure that your blog appears on their screen in the first place. Paid adverts on search engine results pages help direct new visitors quickly, but it's the first 5 organic listings that get the most clicks. In fact, less than 30% of searchers click on paid search results.
And if you think it's impossible to rank in the top five organic listings, think again. It won't happen overnight. It may take six months or more before your blog post climbs the ranks, but with a savvy strategy, you can rank on page one of Google.
Putting together an SEO strategy requires a finely tuned approach to research. Keyword research, for instance, needs to be undertaken fresh with every new post as trends dictate constant changes in Google search phrases. You'll need to review the keywords that you target in existing posts. Are they still popular, or do you need to refocus your search term? Are you ranking well, or do you need to develop your post? And don't forget, the frequency of keywords throughout a post will make or break its success in Google rankings. There is much to learn, but it’s worth it!
An opportunity to widen your net
The steps involved in creating an effective blog and SEO strategy can be invaluable in ways that you might not expect. The process forces you to examine your business and your place in the market. It can give you a fresh perspective on the products or services that you offer, how you offer them and to whom. Ultimately, it allows you to take stock and have more control over where your business is going.