Blogging for Business
Authorizing a business blog for your organization is a commitment, yes. Blogs need to be fed fresh content on a consistent basis. Today more than ever, business blogging is essential to business growth for a litany of reasons, not the least of which is online consumer behavior.
No one grows a business in a vacuum. Growth is dependent upon your target audience, your competitors’ strategies for connecting with target audiences, and your business’s visibility on search engines. Let’s start with your target audience, and follow up right behind them with your competitors.
Today’s consumers, by and large, conduct online searches before they shop
Understanding why business blogging is not just a passing trend boils down to facts and logic. Between 85 and 98 percent (depending on which analytics you read) of consumers, even those who plan to purchase the thing they need in person at a brick-and-mortar, first search the internet for businesses that carry what they need.
Consumers are comparison price shopping, sure, but they’re also checking out the websites of businesses to find what appears to be most able to solve a problem or fulfill a need for them. Many visitors happen across a blog in the online search process, which draws them to the business’s website in the first place. If a blog is engaging and informative, they’re going to get a good feeling about that business. They’re going to stick around and check out the website, and if the website content is informative, current, and answers some of their questions without having to pick up the phone, the chances of them becoming a customer just spiked.
Of course, you have some competitors. Many other businesses offer the same products and services you offer, although every business has qualities that other businesses don’t. It’s important for your company’s growth to find ways to exploit your business’s unique qualities in order to stand out among the competition.
Standing out from your competition is crucial to success. While most people seem to grasp the logic, in theory, a surprising number of businesses go about the implementation all wrong.
For instance, a huge number of businesses claim to specialize in “all kinds of” (fill in the blank: hairstyles, hand tools, training videos, etc.). Some may actually be able to handle any request because they’re so experienced in their field they know how to figure it out, but that’s hardly the definition of a specialist.
More to the point, they should be advertising the thing they do that no one else does. There are plenty of talented hair stylists who charge $45 for a haircut, but a handful of skilled coiffeurs specialize in catering to people in the limelight as well as business executives, socialites, attorneys and others who place a very high value on their appearance.
These successful stylists set themselves apart by catering to a single specialty audience, and they’re getting $600 – $800-a-pop for a haircut. This 2006 article in Forbes examined what customers get for $800—one stylist compares a perfect haircut to getting a cosmetic service such as Botox, which can cost $600 per treatment. And, like other enhancements, a good haircut can make a person look younger and thinner, and even highlight–or distract from–certain facial features, the article states.
You don’t need to be an $800 per cut stylist to get people clamoring. One of my clients is a fast-growing home and property insurer who keeps adding new insurance products to his company’s roster that people need and want here in Florida (golf cart insurance, for instance) but can’t get elsewhere, at least not affordably. My client and his staff are constantly innovating, finding new products and services they can offer at affordable rates. Some of these specialized products meet unique needs that Floridians have while adding perks like allowing policyholders to include their elderly parents’ property on their policies at no additional cost. It’s a great perk that policyholders appreciate. This company specializes in human compassion, and it is growing non-stop.
Small business owners should look within to decide what they do that no one else does to set their companies apart from the competition, and business blogging is an important tool for making that happen.
High-quality, SEO-rich content is king. Mediocre or poor content produced actually hurt your business
Blogging is a great (and inexpensive) way for businesses to get a promotional push that doesn’t cost a fortune. In today’s digital world, traditional promotional strategies simply don’t work for many, while blogging offers the best bang for your promotional buck. In order to blog successfully though, your content really does need to be high quality—engaging, informative, and relevant.
A successful blog is able to both educate and inform potential customers and appeal to them in a way that distinguishes you from the competition, even if they’re large companies. A creative and enlightening blog is written for the customer, not the business owner. But the business owner is the one who benefits when the customers feel their needs are understood.
If people find your blog posts to be interesting, informative and written with their perspectives in mind, your business will quickly earn their trust, respect, and loyalty. They can share your blogs on their social media pages, which means others will read them and take notice. Potential customers are more likely to do business with you than your competitors simply from the impression your blog made.
Blogging is demonstrably proven to help businesses grow
I realize that you’ve probably heard from at least one content writer that blogging helps raise a business’s brand awareness (it does) by showcasing your organization’s expertise (that’s just the half of it), but you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Studies on the impact of business blogging for generating new customers, retaining current customers, and the ROI of it all are everywhere.
For instance, a study out of Demand Gen Report found that 47 percent of buyers view 3-5 pieces of online content before engaging with a sales rep. Another study out of Hubspot found that businesses that blog experience 126 percent higher lead growth than businesses that don’t blog.
- 77 percent of internet users read blogs (source)
- 60 percent of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority (source)
- On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages (source)
- On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without (source)
- Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads,
which makes it a prime contender for outsourcing to a professional. (source)
Naturally, you want visitors to your website to take certain actions. Maybe you want them to buy a product or service, sign up for something, or fill out a form A business blog should have content for all stages of the funnel. The top-of-the-funnel content should raise awareness of your brand and boost lead generation.
Middle-of-the-funnel content will begin the groundwork for target customers to consider your product or service. The final stage of the funnel is completing an action—such as purchasing a product.
When a visitor completes an action, that is conversion. The visitor converts from browser status to taking an action you want them to take.
Keep in mind, your funnel isn’t limited only to getting people to sign up or make a purchase. Funnels can be places throughout your website to see how visitors move through a specific website flow, which is extremely helpful in developing new marketing strategies and optimizing the visitor’s experience on your site.
A blog provides an interactive channel of communication with customers
While a good website is an excellent tool for current and potential customers seeking information, it’s limited to providing it unilaterally. A business blog creates opportunities for two-way interaction with target customers. A business blog helps build relationships with customers that they want and expect.
A business blog also provides an opportunity to present content to target audiences in a more casual and personal way than traditional corporate approaches to communicating brand messages to readers, which can seem stiff and staged—a real turn-off for customers. Blogs empower readers to share their perspective and experiences with the company in the comments section, and business owners can learn a lot from them. Consumers respond quite positively when they feel their voices are heard
A blog can improve your SEO
Finally, your business needs a blog to remain visible in search engine rankings. If you’re not visible on search engines, your potential customers will be scooped up by competitors who are actively feeding fresh, relevant, optimized content into the search engine machine. They’re visible.
In addition to content development and writing, search engine optimization (SEO) is a perpetual and critical process that requires a number of actions and operations all working in concert to bulk up your online presence to fighting weight, and improve the rank at which your business appears in search results when consumers and others enter relevant keywords into their browsers.
Search engines reward those who produce fresh, pertinent content on a consistent basis and utilize appropriate keywords that meet the needs of online searchers. That’s right, the search engines are dictating the rules of visibility, and there’s no getting around it. Business blogging, done right, can not only help you grow your business exponentially, but you’re also rewarded for making it easy for people to find you.
The number of people using internet search engines increases yearly, and the statistics are mind-blowing. In 2016, for instance, the daily count of internet searches was 6,586,013,574 searches a day worldwide. That’s more than 6 ½ billion searches per day! (source)
Just in case you’re still not convinced that your business needs a blog, here is some more food for thought:
Blog Posts Provide Social Media Content
Social media management is demanding, and many organizations struggle to come up with ideas for new posts continuously. I have too many ideas for my clients’ social media and blog content. I find new blog and post ideas every by osmosis because I have been doing this for so long. It helps that I am always reading and researching trends and markets in their industries and related industries because I actually enjoy the knowledge banking, and it’s an absolute must if one wants to perform this job optimally.
Another benefit small businesses glean from blogging–one blog post can be parceled into several social media posts. Audiences appreciate these bite-sized information tidbits that can be digested quickly and easily on social media. A new statistic here, an inspiring quote there, an interesting factoid or graphic is gobbled up by readers who in turn pass them on to others through their social network. The Information contained within a blog can be repurposed in many ways, into several, easily consumed social media posts.
These quick and enjoyable morsels of content help keep your online visibility consistent too.
A Business Blog Can Grow Your Email List
Email marketing is a great tool in an overall marketing strategy, but it isn’t always easy to get people to sign up for your emails via pop-ups on your website or calls to action. Most of us are already buried in email every day. But people who want to read your blog when new articles are published will happily sign up to receive it, and your email list will continue to grow as long as you’re delivering quality content.
Lead generation. It’s what a business blog is all about
Today’s blogging platforms come optimized to trigger actions from visitors that are important to a business. Calls-to-action are strategically placed to get people to download a free guidebook or request a free quote or consultation. Your business blog benefits your business by creating innumerable opportunities to introduce offers and generate leads.
Blogging is a lot of work and requires a number of skills. Most important, it takes up a lot of time, which is something most business owners and executives don’t have. Hence, it’s an ideal task to outsource to a professional business blogger. As I said, the ROI in outsourcing your blog is huge. The ROI of not having the time to do it well or often, and not outsourcing it to a proven professional is, well, nil.
Business blogging is becoming more and more essential to growing and maintaining an online presence, generating essential leads, and growing your business. Logic and statistical data demonstrate that businesses have everything to gain by blogging, and everything to lose by not.