If your business doesn’t have a blog, you may be wondering why your business needs a blog. Maybe it seems like a waste of time — or worse, a total waste of resources. But there are good reasons why more than 600 million blogs circulate online throughout the world.
Let’s start with the basics: What is a blog? Once known as “web logs,” blogs were initially a way people logged their activity on the web.
Today, these self-published articles remain free to read and cover a wide range of topics. Some are still strictly personal, but now, this content marketing practice has evolved into an online platform for growing a business.
Small- and medium-sized businesses use blogs as part of their marketing practice. Blogs are tools that strengthen relationships with potential and current customers.
After all, business is all about relationships. For your business to thrive, you must find ways to connect with and engage your target audience. That’s just one reason why your business needs a blog. Here are five more:
5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog
1. Blogs help you become an expert.
It’s sometimes hard to remember a time, decades ago, when business owners and executives had to rely on newspapers or possibly their own printouts to share information with potential and current customers. If your business engaged in media relations, perhaps a reporter would call you to ask about certain current events. That was how someone rose to the status of “expert.”
Today, anyone can be an expert — if they put in the effort. All you need is a website to publish whatever you’d like about your products or services, your industry, or more. The more blogs on your website about engaging, educational, or entertaining topics that people want to read, the more people will hold your business in high esteem.
One of the main benefits of having a blog on your website is the ability to proactively answer common questions. Imagine how impressed potential customers would be if they called with a question, and you could direct them to a page on your website that goes in-depth to help them. You can get back to whatever you were working on, and they could learn more.
Chances are, you’ll gain (or keep) them as a customer, too.
2. Blogs organically bring visitors to your website.
Blogging for small businesses takes time, which is one reason why most small- and medium-sized companies don’t have one. They also take strategy. While publishing articles for free will help you take control of your message to customers, the execution needs to be a little more focused to be effective. The best blogs are part of a search engine optimization, or SEO, campaign to drive traffic to your website.
Whether you have an online business or run a brick-and-mortar location, your website should serve as the epicenter of your marketing work. Customers can learn more about your products or services, identify the values your company holds, and read testimonials from satisfied customers on your site. Then, they can get in touch to do business.
The more visitors to your website, the better — and that’s why your business needs a blog.
Google and other search engines are notoriously secretive about their algorithms for determining what websites rank higher on searches, but marketing professionals all agree on the value of the following blog benefits:
Your website is more likely to get noticed if you provide information that people want to know. You may have a lot to say about certain topics, but other bloggers will never link to your website unless you have blogs on topics that interest them. Backlinks — when another site links to yours — are powerful ways to gain awareness in the digital landscape.
Let’s say you’re a plumber, and a nearby homeowner has a burst pipe in her kitchen. She may look for your services by typing the phrase “plumber near me” into a search engine like Google. Or perhaps it’s “24-hour plumber Atlanta.” Those phrases are known as keywords, and the search engine can direct her to your website if you happen to have those phrases in your site’s blog.
A common reason why many business owners don’t start a blog is because it feels overwhelming. After all, you’re a business owner, not a writer. Even good writers might not have the time it takes to create a high-quality blog and build a business. Clear, edited writing takes time, and it’s vital if you want a blog to drive traffic to your website.
You can partner with a professional writer to share your ideas and weave keywords into your blogs so nothing sounds too clunky.
3. Blogs help turn potential customers into paying customers.
It’s nice to be respected as an expert, and it’s even better that people want to log on to your website. But that’s not paying the bills. As a business executive, you’re likely looking at the bottom line. The question “Do I need a blog for my business?” has an emphasis on the word business.
Blogs are just one tool in content marketing plans, and the return on investment can't be simply or easily measured. Most blogs are direct sales tools. Instead, blogs are used in a variety of formats to improve customer service and make new relationships through a more strategic content marketing plan. These lead generation plans can include:
Direct email marketing remains one of the most effective tools for connecting with your previous and current clients. E-newsletters must be consistent, and it can be a challenge to brainstorm what to send. Here’s another reason why your business needs a blog: When you email your customers the right content, they’ll appreciate it. They may even share what you’ve sent with their contacts — even further expanding your reach.
Blog posts can be repurposed into part of a strategy known as a sales funnel. This sophisticated lead generation method has five different stages, and the first is simply awareness. That is, no person will become a loyal customer if they don’t even know your company exists. Blogs can certainly play an important role in gaining awareness.
Blogging also supports the next stage of the process, which is research. When potential customers decide they’re in the market for something, they’ll search online to educate themselves. If your blog is filled with valuable information that they appreciate, that will impact their decision on where to spend their money.
4. Blogs make social media content planning easier.
One tenet of marketing is to go to where the people are. Today, people spend hours of every day on social media. Every robust digital marketing plan should include activity on at least one platform. Along with posting industry news, updates on products, community information, employee features, and other topics that interest your customers, you should also post your blogs.
Blogs are most successful when they are regularly published. This makes social media content planning easier, too. If you publish a new blog every Wednesday, you know that day is covered for your social media plan, too. You can simply post a link to your website with a short description encouraging people to click. Add an alluring photo to get even more noticed.
5. Blogs allow your customers to offer feedback for improvement.
Few customers call to give feedback about something they’ve seen on a billboard for a business. People are unlikely to call to discuss their thoughts about a radio ad. Blogs are different. While they may seem like one-way communication, the best blog topics will provide a launching board for your customers to discuss their pain points. Listen closely and you may discover new ways to find solutions.
Ask your customers about topics they’d like to see covered and provide well-researched blogs on those themes. If you are inspired to provide new services or products based on ideas from this feedback, make sure to thank the person. There are many ways to help your customers feel appreciated, and a blog can be yet another tool to make that happen.
Tips for Creating Effective Blogs
Now that you have a better understanding of why your business needs a blog, here are some marketing best practices to ensure your blog is of the highest quality possible.
To reiterate, blogs should be published on a regular basis. Choose how frequently you can realistically offer a new blog on your website, based on your budget and ability to delegate. Then stick to that schedule. It may be weekly, biweekly, or monthly; the more frequently the blog is published, the faster you’ll see results.
Once you have a schedule, meet with your team to brainstorm topics. Have enough topics for at least one or two quarters. It’s important to work the plan since all kinds of crises can derail the best intentions.
Think of your customer first
Before you begin brainstorming, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience. Think beyond simple demographics like age, gender, and geographic location. Determine what your potential customers care about and what interests them. If you’re not sure, survey your current already-loyal customers.
Then, make sure everything you publish on your blog will interest your target audience. You don’t need to write for a general audience; the more focused you are within a niche, the more your customers will benefit.
Work with a professional writing team
Take it from a professional writer herself: Everyone needs an editor! Working with an agency specializing in content writing services will allow you to move forward in your blogging plans without creating too much additional work for yourself or your team. Plus, you’ll know that your blog will be written clearly, well-researched, and in the appropriate tone for your audience.
Some agencies can help you identify the best keywords and work with you on a marketing strategy that will meet your goals. If you’re not sure where to go, do what your potential customers would do: gain awareness online, research by browsing blogs, and reach out with additional questions.
Best Blog: Marketing Examples for Inspiration
Want another reason why your business needs a blog? Everyone else is doing it! Here are a few business blog examples to inspire you to start one of your own. With these blog marketing examples, you can see how effective it is to focus on a refined niche and write directly to your target audience.
Whole Foods is an upscale grocery store chain, but their Whole Foods Magazine blog isn’t just a list of the week’s specials. While customers can see discount offers, they’re also able to browse through extensive recipes that focus on seasonal options. Customers can learn the differences in types of apples or how to cook dried beans. They can learn tips for staying healthy, getting kids to eat vegetables, and meal planning.
Unless you’re in the insurance industry, it’s unlikely you know the basics about premiums, deductibles, limits, quotes, scams, and liability. The Allstate blog is filled with articles that explain in laymen’s terms what their customers often ask about. By having a blog that discusses all the finer points of the industry, current and potentially future Allstate customers can quickly get their questions answered. It suggests good customer service.
Kabbage by American Express
Focused on providing financial services for small- and medium-sized businesses, Kabbage by American Express doesn’t use its blog to sell the benefits of loans. Instead, the blog includes information on all kinds of other questions, including invoicing, business checking accounts, ideas for retail sales, self-employment issues, and more.
Get Inspired To Start a Blog Today
As a first step to starting your blog, read as many blogs as you can within your industry or on any topic that interests you. Take notes on what you like and don’t like about the tone, subjects, and layout of each blog. This research will make it easier when you’re ready to begin planning content creation and starting the writing process.