26 Jun Why Does Your Business Need a Blog?
Last year, we published a blog post about why your business needs a blog. There are some topics that are worth returning to on a regular basis – such as SEO – and this is high on the list. Owners of small-to-medium-size businesses may think of a blog as something nice to have, if they had time for it. But in today’s especially competitive environment, a blog is a necessity that’s integral to your company’s inbound marketing efforts. Companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than companies that don’t.
If you didn’t get on board before, here are the reasons your business still needs a blog. And if you do have a blog, but think it could be more robust, we’ll provide some optimization tips!
Blogging Builds Your Website’s Presence
Google loves fresh website content and rewards it! As content marketer Corey Wainwright observes in her article for HubSpot, “Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search … it’s also one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface.”
So as you can see, blogging solves the dilemma that most business websites face. Google wants signals that your website is actively adding content, but as Wainwright asks, “How often can you really update your About Us page, you know?” Blog content gets crawled and indexed more quickly than static pages, giving your website – and your business – vital signs of life that will help drive traffic.
The key is to blog on a regular, consistent basis. Blogging once a month is the minimum, with many businesses posting twice monthly or weekly. Depending upon the nature of your business, publishing one high-quality, informative blog post per month would be better than weekly posts of lower quality.
Speaking of driving traffic to your website, you may wonder why this is important, since visitors are presumably already on your website to read your blog. There’s a two-part answer.
Part one – Readers of your blog post will learn about your products or services, and are more likely to click on the link to the webpage that you’ve included to learn more – and perhaps take action, such as schedule an appointment, download a free piece of marketing collateral (brochure, whitepaper, etc.) or make a purchase. A bonus benefit is that by going to another page on your website, visitors increase their dwell time – which is another of Google’s page ranking factors.
Part two – When you blog, you can use your social media posts to promote your newest blog post – as well as recycle those social posts every so often to get the attention of new readers. In this way, you’ll drive your social media followers to your blog – and thereby, your website. Also, as Wainwright points out, “Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest – which helps expose your business to a new audience that you may not know yet.”
A Blog Shows Off Your Industry Knowledge
As Wainwright notes, blogging builds and reinforces your authority as an industry expert. But this isn’t just about being Mr. or Ms. Smarty Pants. Readers – that is, potential customers – should find your information useful.
“The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a particularly handy tool for Sales and Service professionals.”
A remarkable example is that of Marcus Sheridan, a.k.a. “The Sales Lion.” Running a fiberglass swimming pool company, Sheridan and his two partners were facing ruin during the 2008 economic crisis. So he taught himself the principles of inbound marketing and started a blog based on a simple premise – anticipating and answering people’s questions about fiberglass pools. Not only did he save his business, Sheridan became a marketing phenomenon, renowned as one of the most sought-after keynote speakers in the world. His book, “They Ask, You Answer,” was ranked by Forbes as one of “11 Marketing Books Every CMO Should Read.”
The moral of the story: Sheridan not only knew his industry, he knew what people wanted to know about the practical aspects of fiberglass pools in order to make an informed buying decision. As a result, he was able to generate leads through his website and convert those leads into customers.
Another benefit of Sheridan’s tactic is that he was (and still is) able to educate potential clients about his products and services through his blog. Wouldn’t it be great for your prospects to have a good working knowledge about what you offer and how your business operates even before your first meeting or first order? One purpose of our humble blog is to make you better informed about digital marketing services and how they’re executed so that we’ll be able to have a more productive meeting should you decide to give us a call.
Blogging is More of a Science Than an Art
One hallmark of science is that studies into a particular area of research need to produce reproducible results. On this part, blogging can be said to be a science. For example, did you blog briefly, then gave up on it because you weren’t seeing an immediate increase in leads? You quit too soon! Writing for Social Media Today, social media strategist Katrina Padron observes the following:
“Don’t panic if the first day, or even month, after posting, your blog doesn’t have impressive traffic. Over time, you’re building a library of content which will strengthen your position in search results because you’re using keywords and tags and building your SEO. So sometimes months or years later a blog post will see an impressive spike in traffic because it’s suddenly a hot topic, or a steady increase because of normal search behavior.”
Back to science, it’s a fact that compounding blog posts – that is, building a library of them over time – generates 38% of your blog’s traffic!
A successful blog also requires research – not only into subject matter, but those all-important keywords. Your blog posts need to incorporate them for the same reason as your website itself – to show up in searches. Therefore, blogging provides an ideal opportunity to boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) quality. Writing for Forbes, Mike Kappel questions the use of having a blog that nobody reads because it lacks the keywords that people type into search engines.
“For example, how to tie a tie is something people search. If you owned a clothing store, you could write an article titled ‘Learn How to Tie a Tie in 5 Easy Steps.’ Incorporate keywords into your article title and lace them throughout your blog posts. That way, your articles have a better chance of ranking on search engines and people can find them. Plus, keyword research might also give you ideas about what to write.”
Incidentally, our blog post – “How to Come Up With Great Blog Post Ideas” – can help generate some inspiration in that department!
To Blog Yourself or Not to Blog Yourself – That is the Question
You may by now be asking yourself if you should write your own blog posts. In addition to Marcus Sheridan, we’ve read posts by other business owners that are effective. When done well, an owner-written post provides a personal touch and an insider’s perspective. Readers feel that they’ve learned not only something about that person’s business, but that person as an individual. As such, this approach offers a powerful way to engage with members of your target audience. Those who are successful also post on a regular schedule, which is important for both building reader loyalty and SEO. Google rewards fresh content, after all!
Still, there are strong disadvantages to writing blog posts on your own. First, you’re a business owner – which means you’re busy overseeing all the moving parts of your enterprise. Second, you’re not a professional writer. We understand. Grappling with finding the right words can be time-consuming and frustrating. If the writing experience isn’t pleasant, you may start with good intentions, but end up abandoning the effort – or designating it to an employee who may also not be a good wordsmith.
However, even if your chosen employee is a talented writer, a blog post needs to incorporate the marketing principles and SEO practices previously covered. In short, a marketing background helps. Some business owners are naturals at marketing and promotion – which accounts for the successful self-written blogs we’ve encountered – while others are better at doing what they do best. Only you know which category applies to you.
If you do decide to leave blog writing to the pros, our content writing team at Virtual Stacks Systems is ready to take action! Just contact us! We look forward to learning about your marketing goals and helping you achieve them. Give your business the extra competitive edge it needs in these challenging times!