You’d be forgiven for wondering, “What exactly is a business blog, and why would a business have one?”
A blog is an online platform where individuals, organizations, and businesses can share their thoughts, insights, and expertise on any given topic.
As for why businesses have them, the answer is simple: businesses blog to become visible to both customers and search engines.
Continue reading to find out more about the benefits of blogging for your business, and why you should get started immediately.
Don’t be mistaken—a blog isn’t just someone’s personal online diary.
Although that was once the case, the medium has evolved into what’s estimated to be a $300 billion industry by 2019.
Moreover, a 2017 survey by Content Marketing Institute found that 75% of business-to-customers (B2C) marketers use blogs in their marketing strategy.
To understand why blogging for your business is important, think of it like this:
You’re in a room filled with people trying to get everyone else’s attention by shouting everything they know. Your blog is the the microphone and speaker you use to shout louder than everyone else — if what you’re saying is interesting, you’ll get and keep people’s attention.
And your business will benefit immensely from it.
Business blogs can cover a wide variety of content, including employer blogs, how-to guides, white papers, industry trends, and top tips..
Despite the diversity of bloggable subjects, they all share the following characteristics:
- They are non-static, or in other words, updated regularly with new content.
- They allow bloggers and commenters to interact together.
- They present information in an informal but engaging way.
- They can make dull topics interesting.
- They tend to be integrated with social media platforms.
But maybe you’re wondering, “What exactly does blogging have to do with my business?”
Why Blogging is Important for Your Business
Two words: lead generation.
By drawing users in with relevant and high-quality content, blogs act as sales funnels. Moreover, they enhance the visibility of your business, brand, and expertise.
And blogs aren’t just a passing fad either—409 million people view 21 billion pages each month on Wordpress-hosted blogs alone. Capturing even 0.1% of that monthly readership would reap massive rewards for any business.
For a better understanding of what a successful business blog looks like, check out these fantastic examples:
- Glassdoor - Glassdoor’s blog is chock-full of content about hiring, recruiting, workplace etiquette, and more—helping it to draw in readership from any company looking for HR tips.
- Small Business Trends - You can find all sorts of topics relevant to small business owners and entrepreneurs here. That even includes reviews of products and technology.
- REI - Blogging isn’t just for online companies. Even brands like REI can use them to their advantage by creating content that’s targeted for their customer base.
See any commonalities across these business blogs?
They all provide informative, well-written content that engages readers. And in return, these blogs benefit their companies in a host of ways.
Keep reading to find out how.
5 Benefits of Blogging for Your Business
1. Blogging generates leads at lower costs.
Done right, you can convert your blog’s readership into clients more cost-effectively than channels like paid advertising. In fact, businesses that blog tend to increase their leads by 67% per month.
Content volume matters, too: studies indicate that the greater the amount of blog articles published, the greater the lead generation.
Lower cost per lead
It can be nerve-wracking to make a big initial investment in content marketing to create leads, but studies show that within the first five months, your cost per lead will decrease by 80%.
Inbound marketing strategies—tactics that pull customers in, like blogging—simply have a better return on investment than outbound ones, which push products onto customers, like banner ads. That’s because:
- They’re less expensive. Inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound leads like cold calling.
- They’re more effective. Outbound leads such as direct mail and print advertising have a close rate of 1.7%, while inbound leads from search engine optimization have a close rate of 14.6%.
Blogging and other content marketing strategies are so effective that they are being attributed to the death of the “cold call,” as potential clients find this type of marketing approach more informative, and less invasive. So if you haven’t started blogging already, you should seriously consider it.
But how exactly does blogging lead to lower costs and higher lead counts? Part of the answer can be found in search engine optimization (SEO) from blogging.
2. SEO-friendly blog posts drive relevant users to your website.
SEO is the practice of gaining relevant traffic to your blog by making your website’s pages visible to users of search engines like Google or Bing. By driving relevant users to your blog via SEO, you can convert them into leads and clients.
If users find the information relevant, you can rank higher on search engine results pages, also known as SERPs. For instance, if you're running a dog chew toy business, you'll want to create blog content about dog chew toys. That might include:
- Why chew toys are good for dogs
- How chew toys help dog teeth
- Types of chew toy materials that should be avoided
- Why your dog doesn't like to play with your chew toy, and how to fix it
Eventually, users searching for keywords related to dog chew toy terms may end up finding your website—and purchasing your product.
You can ensure that you’re providing relevant content by following the steps outlined in our complete guide to making awesome content.
But what does it mean for your blog articles to be “SEO friendly”? There’s a lot that goes into SEO, but boiled down, it means your blog content:
- Is keyword-targeted - Focused keywords and phrases for niche search queries are more effective at generating organic traffic and revenue.
- Satisfies user intent - The intent behind keywords and why people search words and phrases is essential for connecting your content with the right people who want to engage with your business.
- Is crawlable - Search engines send out bots that scour the internet to discover new and update website pages to be added to the index. If your website isn't crawlable, you’ll never rank for any keywords, and you'll get no visibility through SEO.
3. Blogging helps to shape your business brand.
Blogging differentiates you from competitors by creating a platform for your brand to develop a strong and consistent voice. Having a brand voice aids in creating brand equity, which refers to how consumers perceive a brand beyond its products or services.
From Dunkin’ Donuts to Gillette, many case studies show just how effective a brand voice can be to set you apart from the competition. With strong brand equity, it’s easier to acquire and retain customers.
That means creating an authentic personality that’s memorable or that people can relate to. Whether it’s sassy, witty, absurd, or all serious business, you'll want to turn the mundane into something engaging.
For an example of how a blog can shape your brand equity, take a look at 1912 Pike, Starbucks’ official blog.
We all know that Starbucks sells coffee, but that’s not the only subject 1912 Pike covers. It also posts socially minded content, e.g., articles like “How Starbucks is making a difference in coffee communities” and “Thanks to your support Starbucks baristas are earning college degrees.”
Content of this nature establishes Starbucks as a force for good rather than just another billion-dollar corporation. As a result, readers of 1912 Pike might feel more compelled to buy from Starbucks and think of it in positive terms.
In other words, Starbucks’ blog enhances its brand equity and gives the business a quality that you can’t pay for—character. And with character comes the added benefit of being able to have authentic conversations with customers.
4. Blogging starts dialogues with your customers.
Dialogues with your customers provide valuable insight into who they are and what they think about your brand. Specifically, interacting with your customers will allow you to:
- Understand changes in customer needs
- Understand customers expectations
- Understand why customers are unsatisfied
- Understand what upsell and cross-sell opportunities exist
And where else is better than a blog to get a conversation started?
Here’s how to engage in dialogue with prospective customers:
- Ask questions of your readers in your blog posts.
- Enable comments and reply to them—both the positive and negative ones.
- Write clearly. You can’t get a conversation started if you’re confusing readers, so explain acronyms and avoid technical jargon.
- Get some emotion in there. Robotic writing is far less engaging than more lively, personalized writing.
<div class="tip">The key to developing a good relationship with your customers is to deeply understand them—that means their values, needs, and concerns. Our marketing persona guide (and template) can help you figure out who that customer is.</div>
In addition to your blog, you can initiate conversations with your readers on social media, which serves as another front for you to engage with your target customers and turn them into buyers.
5. Blogging provides content to feed your social media channels.
After putting all that effort into crafting great content, the fact is that it can take months before you'll see a bump in SEO traffic. That's why you should simultaneously be repurposing your content for other traffic channels, namely from social media.
Unless you have exceptional talent for creating viral content, creating a steady flow of traffic from social media will also be a long-term project. You'll need to become well-known to other brands and influencers that may be initially skeptical of you as an authority. And you'll need to be diligent about creating and maintaining your community of followers and fans.
Leveraging your content with a solid social media strategy is an excellent way to create further brand awareness for your services and products, and to connect your business with new followers and potential clients. Facebook alone influences 54% of consumers’ online and offline purchasing.
Using Facebook, Twitter, or other social media networks, you can easily direct users to:
- Lead collection landing pages, or
- Blog posts with sign-up options for mailing lists.
Just be sure to make your social media content engaging—otherwise, who’s going to click?
With excellent blog content, you'll not only be welcoming new buyers, but also cultivating fans.
Many businesses fail to see their blog content as anything other than a business expense and not what it should be — a library of engaging content that reels in new customers, keeps current customers interested, and cultivates future customers.
How can I get started, or scale up my blogging efforts?
If you want to take advantage of blogging for your business, you have the following options, each of which has its own pros and cons:
- Write your own content
- Hire an in-house writer
- Commission content from freelancers or agencies.
At Compose.ly, we recognize that not every business has time, expertise, or a budget to commission content in-house, or write their own content. That's why many small and medium-sized enterprises outsource their content writing to third-party providers to save money, and also maintaining content quality.
If that sounds like an ideal solution for your business, we'd love for you to give us a try—we can help you find affordable writers to fit your needs for any projects you may have.
This post was originally published in February 2018.