10 Oct What a Blog Can Do for Your Small Business
What does your small business do? No matter its nature, if you haven’t already, you should consider what a blog can do for it! Contrary to popular belief, blogs aren’t just for larger enterprises or big brands. In fact, adding a blog to your website can set your business apart from competitors, and help it attract and retain customers. And while you may be aware of the search engine optimization (SEO) benefits of a blog, there are many other competitive advantages a blog can provide!
But first, just in case you’re not aware of the SEO benefits of a blog, here they are in the proverbial nutshell, from our blog post – “Why Your Website Needs a Blog” – which covers this topic in greater detail.
Basically, Google rewards websites that add content on a regular basis with better visibility. Unless you have an e-commerce site with a constantly changing inventory, your business probably has little reason to update its home page or add web pages. A blog with posts published on a weekly basis lets Google know your website is a living, dynamic entity worthy of notice – giving it more reasons to index your website more often.
Moreover, Google searches user queries based on natural language or questions users enter, rather than single keywords. So if your site has a blog post titled, “How You Can Identify a Quality Widget,” and someone asks Google how to identify a quality widget, your website has a better chance of ranking high in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a well-known fact that 75% of users don’t scroll beyond the first page of search results, so that’s where you should aim to be!
Having said all of that, here are some non-SEO plusses of blogging for your small business!
Your Target Audience Gets to Know You Better
Assuming that most of your business is local, your website only relates the basic facts. A blog gives you the opportunity to tell more of your story, and let people in on what you’re doing. For example, if you own a café, you can write about how you choose your coffee beans. If ethical sourcing is key to your core values, people to whom this is also important will be more likely to become your customers. In addition, providing some background on the farms and organizations that bring these beans to the table will make for an interesting and informative backstory.
According to business writer Jennifer Post in her article for business.com, “People want to know who you are, how you operate your business, what your values are and what your business adds to the industry. It’s difficult to do all of that on a website landing page, but a blog allows you to develop a personality for your brand to help, entertain and inspire others, and to put relationships before sales. A blog familiarizes people with your business, and people trust businesses they get to know well.”
This also applies to B2B businesses. Case studies and white papers have their place, but tend to be dry. Those in charge of buying for the business you want to sell to would appreciate reading an account with a human touch. Your blog can tell the story-behind-the-story. Trade shows provide plenty of opportunities to offer on-the-scene reports and even interviews with prominent industry people, who usually make themselves available at such events.
You Can Form a Better Connection with Your Community
While this is closely related to the above reason, a blog can help you establish your business as a trustworthy, solid member of both your business community and larger community. If you’re involved with a charitable organization, blogging about its fundraising events – and your role in them – will raise your profile among members of your target market. Also, take the opportunity to blog about the positive things the organization does – like operating a food pantry, supporting the local animal shelter, etc.
You Can Expand Upon Your Sales Points and Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
As previously mentioned, your website copy can do only so much in convincing visitors that what you offer is superior to your competitors. The marketing strategy of informing customers about this is known as your USP. Returning to the example of ethically sourced coffee beans, this information would perhaps be covered in one paragraph on the café’s home page, but can be expanded upon in a blog post. Or if you create artisan jewelry, you can go in depth about the inspiration for your designs, how you select gemstones, etc.
You Can Establish Your Business as a Trusted Authority
If your business offers a service – such as lawn care – a blog can provide timely, helpful information on topics that can help people take better care of their property. In the case of a lawn care service, blog posts on how often to fertilize, how to improve curb appeal, how to plan a dog-friendly yard, etc., are of great interest to homeowners. This applies to medical and dental practices, as well – such as the importance of regular check-ups, the right way to floss, or how to recognize signs of tooth decay.
Blogging Can Give You Content for Social Media Posts and Newsletters
If your business has social media accounts – as it should – and/or a newsletter, your blog posts can be a great source of content! Promote your latest blog post (with link to said post) on your social media accounts. Beyond that, pick up on a theme in your social media posts to promote, with the blog post link. For example, if your business sells windows and doors, use your blog post about the advantages of a storm door as a social post topic. Here in Florida, a natural would be, “Hurricane season is coming! Find out how a storm door can protect your home!”
If you have a newsletter and find that coming up with topics is a challenge, leading with your latest blog post makes your job that much easier! Summarize your post in one brief paragraph and provide a link to it so readers will visit your website – which is the purpose of a newsletter.
Challenges of Having a Blog
Having read all of the above, you may now see the value of adding a blog to your website. However, blogging takes time. When done well, an owner-written post provides a personal touch and an insider’s perspective. Those who are successful also post on a regular schedule, which is important for both building reader loyalty and SEO.
Still, there are real 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 SEO practices previously mentioned. 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! We learn all about your business and marketing goals in order to write blog posts (and social media posts) that speak in your brand voice and convey your unique messaging. We do what we do best so you can focus on your business and do what you do best! Just contact us to learn more and get started!