You’d be forgiven for wondering, “What exactly is a business blog, and what’s the point?”
The answer is simple: successful businesses blog to become visible to both customers and search engines, and the point is that it makes their businesses boom.
Continue reading below to find out more about the benefits of blogging for your business, and why you should get started immediately.
What is a blog and why do they matter?
A blog is an online platform where individuals, organizations, and businesses can share their thoughts, insights, and expertise on any given topic. So if you’ve been thinking of blogging purely as someone’s online personal diary, that’s not the case anymore.
The medium has evolved into what’s estimated to be a $300 billion industry by 2019, and that’s because content marketing has become an integral part of a business’s success. How integral? A 2017 survey by Content Marketing Institute found that 75% of business-to-customers (B2C) marketers use blogs in their marketing strategy and 51% agree that blogs are critical for content marketing success.
Here’s how to think about why making a blog for your business is important:
Imagine that 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 everyone’s attention.
And your business will benefit immensely from it.
Business blogs can include a wide variety of content, such as employer blogs, how-to guides, white papers, trends in industries, top tips, and so much more.
Despite the diversity of bloggable subjects, they all share the following characteristics:
- They are frequently updated (non-static).
- They allow bloggers and commenters to interact together.
- They give readers information in an informal, yet engaging way.
- They can make dull topics interesting.
- They tend to be integrated with social media platforms.
At this point, you might be wondering, “Ok, but what does blogging have to do with my business?”
Why blogging matters to your business success
When you blog the right way, you can convert your readership into clients or customers by generating higher demand generation through your content. The bottom line for business blogs is that they are a cost-effective tool to create visibility for your business, brand, and expertise.
And it isn’t just a passing fad either — there are 409 million people viewing 21 billion pages each month on WordPress hosted blogs alone. Capturing even 0.1% of that monthly readership would reap massive rewards that your business cannot ignore.
For a better understanding of what a successful business blog looks like, check out these fantastic websites:
- Hubspot – This marketing blog has detailed and insightful marketing content that you’ve probably already read through for helpful tips on subjects ranging from search engine optimization (SEO) to top top trends in marketing design.
- Glassdoor – The employer’s blog offers personalized and professional posts on a range of topics from, how to assess interviews to cool new ways to recruit that are outside the norm!
- Google Blog – From explaining how to connect better with your Google customers to fads on Google in 2017 (Meme, Myself and I), Google has resources you should check out.
- Small Business Trends – This blog offers some nifty tips, tools, and trends to help small business owners succeed.
These blogs are professionally written, but the content is light, engaging, and most importantly, insightful.
Why are these businesses spending time and effort on their company blogs?
- They drive relevant traffic to their websites
- They differentiate their businesses from the competition
- They provide content for their social media channels
- They establish expert status in their niches
And your businesses needs to achieve these goals, too.
4 benefits of blogging for business
For a smaller investment than you might think, a blog can bring in a sizable return. Here’s how:
1. Blogging leads to more sign-ups and clients at lower costs
Blogging — when done right — will increase your customer and client base. Businesses that blog tend to increase their leads by 67% per month. Content volume matters too: studies indicate that publishing larger volumes of blog articles can increase your lead generation even more.
Salesforce documented their successful experience with blogging when they increased inbound leads by 100%, and attributed this to the growth in organic SEO from their blogging strategy.
Lower cost per lead
It can be nerve-wracking to make a big initial investment into content marketing to create leads, but studies show that within the first five months, your cost per lead will decrease by 80%, giving you plenty of room to make a solid return on investment.
Search Engine Journal found that inbound marketing strategies – such as blogging – simply have a better return on investment than outbound ones 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 will 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.
As Volume Nine outlines, there are three primary reasons why blogging is a requirement for good for SEO:
- Blogging consistently over time will increase your blog’s relevancy to search engines, raising your short and long-tail keyword rankings
- Blogging helps you build authority with popular bloggers and influencers, helping you land reputable backlinks
But what does all this SEO jargon mean for your business?
Blog Relevance & Keyword Ranking
By employing SEO best practices and keyword targeting throughout your website, articles, and blog content, search engines will offer your webpages as relevant results to users for the related keywords they are searching.
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. For example:
- 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.
Site Authority & Backlinks
Blogging more often will lead to potentially more backlinks — links that other websites send to yours when they reference, cite, or recommend you.
Backlinks are critical to increasing your rankings for your business’s important keywords in Google, helping to put your content in front of relevant users interested in your content and services.
With 81% of shoppers performing online research before making big purchases, ranking high on SERPs through SEO optimization is a must for business success.
Bluehost explains in great detail why SEO can help grow your business and how.
But what does it mean for your blog articles to be “SEO optimized?”
- It’s keyword targeted – Focused keywords and phrases for niche search queries are more effective at generating organic traffic and revenue.
- It 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.
- It’s crawlable – Search engines send out bots that scour the internet to discover new and update website pages to be added to the index. Google’s is famously called “Googlebot,” and there are a number of basic technical rules your website needs to follow in order for it to crawl your website. If your website isn’t crawlable, you will never rank for any keywords, and you’ll get no visibility through SEO.
3. Blogging gives you a voice to differentiate yourself
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 how consumers perceive brands’ images in a way that is unrelated to their products or services.
From Dunkin’ Donuts to Gillette, many case studies showcase just how effective a brand voice can be to set you apart from the competition.
Emotional relationships with customers through branding efforts will result in higher brand equity. With strong brand equity, it’s easier to acquire and retain customers.
You might think brand equity is an intangible asset, but Kissmetrics explains the three factors that determine brand equity.
- Knowledge metrics: Popularity of your brand.
- Preference: Customers align with your company over competitors.
- Financial considerations: Analyzing market share, growth rates, pricing, revenue generation, and potential revenue.
But how do you attain strong brand equity? Your blog, of course!
Brand voice is about creating an authentic personality that people can relate to with emotion. Whether it’s sassy, witty, absurd, or all serious business, you’ll want to turn the mundane into something engaging with a strong hook.
An example of a quirky brand voice is the UK smoothie and juice maker, innocent drinks. They add humor to their message, all the while still keeping the product relevant.
Their brand voice enhances the product and gives it 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.
Blogging starts dialogues with your customers
Dialogues with your customers provide valuable insight into who they are, and what they think about your brand, and your blog is the perfect medium to host conversations with them.
Mark Grow outlines the benefits of two-way conversations with customers as being able to:
- Understand changes in customer needs
- Understand customers expectations
- Understand why customers are unsatisfied
- Understand what upsell and cross-sell opportunities exist
Conversations are about learning from your customers, and helping them learn more about you. This two-way stream of information and collaboration gives your business a human quality that customers tend to find appealing.
Your customers are also your audience
You should think of your customers as your audience that wants to be consistently entertained. Without a clear style and direction for your product and services, audiences will not pay attention. While you might have an innovative product, you’ll lose out on new or returning customers if your product has no character.
Sprout Social found that 51.3% of social media users follow brands because they’re entertaining, while only 42.2% follow because of offered incentives. If your company doesn’t have a brand edge — be it humor, social issues, reliability, or professionalism — you won’t stand out against your competition.
After you’ve developed a brand voice on your blog, it becomes much easier to have conversations elsewhere on social media, opening up a new front for you to engage with your target customers and turn them into buyers.
4. 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.
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.
Kissmetrics explains that your social media posts should direct traffic to either:
- Lead collection landing pages, or
- Blog posts with sign-up options for mailing lists.
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 is supposed to be — a library of engaging content that reels in new customers in, 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.