We specialize in blogging and SEO, so not only do we think blogging's a good idea for your business, we know it is.
By 2020, it has been reported; customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. Whether that statistic gives you the creeps or not, it means that content is an increasingly useful way to connect with customers who are becoming more self-reliant, internet savvy and capable of performing their own research online and a blog is an excellent way to manage that content.
Already, research has shown that marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI than those who don't.
Blogging is a phenomenon that's evolving, but that is here to stay. A static website that is treated more as a business brochure may be an effective way to communicate with people who already know of your brand. Blogging, however, allows companies to attract individuals who didn't already know that their products or services existed, thus turning your website into a marketing machine. Each blog post becomes an opportunity to attract brand new customers.
Only Great Blog Content Will Win
If you read this far, you're probably new to blogging or maybe you've been blogging for a while and are thinking that it's not enough just to blog. Your blog posts just aren't working as well as they use to. You're probably from the generation of bloggers who started when you just had to blog for it to work. Now that there's more people blogging than ever you can't just write any old blog post, they need to be great blog posts.
There are still personal blogs and plenty of sites that provide short, witty snapshots in 200 words or fewer, but the landscape is changing to incorporate more considered, well-researched posts or writing that speaks of experience and expertise.
Successful bloggers are increasingly being termed influencers and rightly so. Once you reach this level, your blog content usually takes on a life of its own with little to no effort because of the strong following your content has established. Helping you reach this point is the ultimate goal of this guide.
Helping you be aware of all the elements and considerations of a single blog post will make you a better blogger. With practice, you'll hone your skills in each critical area so that you can get your blogging black belt.
As you can see, it is no longer enough to treat your website as a static business brochure. Maintaining a dynamic online presence gives you the opportunity to attract visitors - potential customers - through content that is useful, current and shows that you're a real professional.
Just think about it…
... Imagine that you are comparing two websites before making a purchase. The sites are identical in almost every way. Both businesses have been around for years, and both offer incredible after-sales service and the products are identical. One has taken more of a brochure approach to their website while the other has in-depth content all about the product and relevant, related articles that are written with you in mind.
On which website do you make your purchase?
Yeah, you and everyone else.
Blogging Can Work For Any Business
It's not just creative companies that can create content that will attract customers; virtually all businesses can benefit from blogging. Even businesses that may not come to mind when you think about blogging, such as electricians, dry cleaners or moving companies, can benefit from creating a blog to educate, inform, connect and engage with its clients.
Nearly half of marketers surveyed have said that blogging is their primary content strategy. And one of the best things about a blog is that it can be particularly cost-effective relative to the cost of utilizing other channels, such as traditional advertising.
When helpdesk software company GrooveHQ analyzed the cost vs. the benefits of their blogging, they learned that people who subscribed to their blog then converted into trial users 50% more often than non-subscribers. With this in mind, each subscriber could be said to be worth $0.97 to GrooveHQ, compared to non-subscribers who they valued at $0.27 each. By attracting and engaging their target audience, GrooveHQ converted visitors into trial users and profitable customers.
Is it any wonder then that 84% of marketers aim to increase or maintain their spend on content marketing?
Businesses that Blog Rank Better
We know that the goal of every search engine is to connect their users to the best answers to their queries. The top results returned are typically websites with current, quality and relevant information. Google agrees that blogging regularly and blogging well increases traffic and improves search engine rankings and you won't find an SEO consultant that won't recommend blogging.
Blogs are considered a top trusted source of information online and for this reason consumers are more confident about a company after they’ve read custom content on their site.
Help Google (and other search engines) provide their users with quality solutions to their problems and Google, as well as other search engines, will reward you with better visibility in relevant searches.
For example, when someone goes online to find an electrician in their city, Google's top results will not only highlight competent, local electricians but, where possible, electricians who can demonstrate that they have earned respect from an online and real life community.
Companies that blog receive 97% more links to their website. These links, coming from other sites, blogs, and social media, signal to Google and other search engines that people value your site. A site that has more of these signals will rank above their competition.
Opportunity for More Digital Word of Mouth
In the bricks and mortar world, it's common for people to ask for recommendations, referrals and advice from their peers before purchasing a product or service. This works online too, largely via social networks.
GrooveHQ noted that people who engage with a blog spend more money and do so more readily than those who don't. They also found that blog readers love to share useful content with their peers.
The first step to maximizing the power of blogs in combination with social networks is to provide a system of word of mouth which your customers and clients can use to share your website.
For example, a plumber may find his or her post on how to avoid freezing pipes during the winter shared on various social networks, thus attracting the attention of new potential customers.
If you have an email newsletter, use it to link to your blog posts. By combining blogging efforts with email marketing, you create a natural bridge from email to your website.
Put Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Quality over quantity, we can't say this enough. It will make or break your blogging strategy. Hubspot, an inbound marketing leader, has learned that 9 out of 10 leads they generate each month come from blog posts written months or years earlier. One in ten of their posts was an evergreen, 'compounding' post that kept working for the company long after the content was published. A great argument for balancing the quantity of your output with its quality.
Although a blog is a powerful tool for business, it is possible to screw one completely up and turn people off. One reason this happens is that some bloggers attempt to make up for poor quality content by churning out increasing amounts of it. This won't work. Google snubs poor quality content creators, whose 'Panda Algorithm' fights spam, assesses the quality of sites and adjusts ranking accordingly. People also have evolved to spot spammy/low-quality content instantly.
Think of it this way: would you rather have one excellent blog post that grows traffic, boosts website engagement and increases conversions or 100 blog posts with high bounce rates that, combined, drive less traffic than the good one? If writing 100 low-quality blog posts just to increase your content on your site sounds like a waste of time and effort, that's because it is. Unfortunately, it's also extremely common.
Even in a world where Panda didn't exist, effective blogging has to add value for your customers truly to get that highly-sought connection to your business. You want readers of your blog to see your business as a resource for the best advice and information about the work you do. Don't dilute the good job you're doing by adding an inherently useful and engaging site with reams of bad content.
Demonstrate to your customers that you care about the work you do and that you want to provide excellent services or products to every client. Your blog should serve as a resource for your business as well as for your visitors. An informative blog can provide a business with a reference guide for useful information that acts as an FAQ, say for sales teams or customer service staff. Sales can refer to the blog for information on the industry, products and services. They and customer service staff then have the opportunity to refer people to relevant blog pages for details.
Your business should be blogging to give something back to loyal clients who will recommend your services or products. Help demonstrate your credibility by making your blog posts easily shareable. And be sure to link your website and blog to social media so that you can take advantage of social marketing and the power of digital word of mouth.
Blog to help your business establish your brand, get significantly improved rankings on search engines, get new visitors, provide fuel for your marketers and ammo for your sales team. In short, whether you're an individual entrepreneur, or have a small business, you should be blogging to give yourself a competitive advantage by generating more leads and converting more prospects into paying, return customers.