The Business Case For Blogging
You’ve heard it a million times: your website should have a blog.
But why? You’re probably imagining a lot of work going into something no one will read anyway, right?
While it’s true that a blog can represent a significant investment of time (or money, if you hire a writer), in this article we’re going to suggest that all businesses—from small one-person shops to major corporations—can benefit from having a blog on their website.
Cultivate a New Customer Base
Do you have enough customers or clients? Chances are, you’d like to bring in more business. A blog offers you a great opportunity to find—and keep—your customers.
First of all, blogs offer a great way for people to find your website. By writing about topics relevant to your business, your blog posts will start showing up in search engine results, bringing more people to your website. Solid content is also a signal that your site is relevant and reliable, which will boost your overall site ranking.
How does this work? Blog posts are naturally loaded with keywords. When your blog’s words and phrases match what people frequently type in Google, that proves your site is relevant to their search and your ranking increases. This is called organic SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) and it’s a great way to bring people to your site.
Good blog posts also get shared on social media and on other websites. If you can create original and useful information, there’s a higher likelihood that others will want to share your content, driving more traffic to your site through social media and backlinks (links on other websites).
Seal the Deal
Once you have potential customers or clients reviewing your website, a blog allows you to display your company’s values and personality, as well as your commitment to the field and your expertise.
Keep in mind that as an entrepreneur, your company should reflect your own values, or you risk coming off as inauthentic). That means, if you write about things that matter to you, your blog will give your potential customers insight into your business.
Imagine you’re looking for a new chiropractor on the web. You want the basic information on office hours, location, and the services provided. But you might also want to know about the doctor’s philosophy—do they offer alternative healing modalities such as acupuncture or herbal medicine? Do they provide nutrition or exercise information? If you find a doctor who blogs about the things most interesting to you, you’re more likely to choose them over someone with a generic website presence.
By providing this kind of information for your own business, you can stand out from the competition. Even more than that, by writing about things relevant to your business, you can enhance your credibility and establish yourself as an expert, which will reassure your potential clients that they’re in good hands.
Blogs are also a great way of bringing new customers into your orbit and getting them to like you. People buy from people they like, know and trust. Blogs take people down that path.
Blogs help keep your business in the front of their mind. Each time you post on your blog you have a new opportunity to make another contact with your customers, reminding them about what you offer. The best customers are repeat customers, after all. You don’t want them to forget about you after their first purchase or appointment.
Don’t expect this to happen automatically, though. Here are some good practices to consider to keep your customers coming back:
- Add a subscription option to your blog so people can get automatic updates each time you post something new.
- Post your articles to social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. Depending on the type of your business, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media platforms may be effective as well. And don’t just post occasionally, social media rewards consistency and reliability. It’s even effective to repost older content, getting an entirely new set of eyeballs on recycled content.
- Provide an opt-in newsletter to your customers, where you send them special offers and updates. You can also include links to your blog in each newsletter.
What Should You Write About?
So you’re convinced that a blog is a good idea, but what do you write about? This answer will vary considerably between industries, but it’s always good to start with what you care about and where your expertise lies.
You can write about anything that gives your readers a clear idea of who you are and why your company is a good fit for them.
Keep your ideal customer in mind. Think about their desires, needs, and pain points. Are they struggling to solve a health problem or seeking to learn a new skill? Are they looking for tips on home decorating or pet care? Once you’ve figured this out, ask yourself what you can provide that’s unique to your business and personality.
Some content ideas you might consider:
- Industry trends and challenges
- Partnerships with nonprofits within your community
- Your position on regulations or changes in your industry
- Mentorship or training of youth or new professionals
- “How-to” or “do it yourself” tips
- Best practices (how to get the most out of your products or services)
- Give away professional advice or sneak previews of upcoming products.
Don’t be afraid of offering your opinions. Trying to appeal to everyone will mean you appeal to no one. Rants and raves can sometimes be a plus, depending on the audience and your overall brand personality.
When you’re considering what to include on your blog, keep in mind that your content can take a lot of different forms. A doctor could provide short videos (also known as vlogs) about health and diet. An author could provide a preview of a new book or a cover reveal, as well as information about upcoming in-person events. A website developer might talk about security and privacy issues, while a pet store could post photos of an adoption event they hosted in partnership with a rescue group.
What Makes Good Content
Saying blogs are useful is one thing. Without good content, however, it won’t be a good return on your time or financial investment to include a blog.
The first step is identifying your primary goal for having the blog.
If discoverability and search engine ranking make up your #1 reason for blogging, you’ll benefit from regular updates, with at least one, and ideally 2-5, blog posts per week.
However, if your #1 goal is introducing yourself to your customers and building engagement, then it might be better to focus on evergreen content that people can browse at any time.
Other Blogging Best Practices
In addition to the ideas above, here are a few other suggestions for ways to make your blog useful, relevant, and engaging.
- Aim for at least 500 words. Longer content is more likely to get shared and will perform better on search engines. (Exceptions would be video/image-heavy content).
- Always spell check everything. If you blog regularly, consider investing in a Grammarly account to check your grammar and spelling.
- Video posts (vlogs) are fantastic. Always include a little text describing what the video is about (or a transcript if you want to get fancy). All of these extra words will help search engines index this content.
- Make sure your content is original. If you hire a freelance writer to help with the blogging, it’s worth checking to make sure they aren’t copying the work from another website. Try googling unique phrases to verify, or use a Grammarly Premium account to check.
- Posts should be authoritative, but should also be interesting and engaging. Keep your ideal customer in mind, and try to find ways to share information in a way that they will value. Younger audiences might enjoy fun language and multimedia, while busy professionals will appreciate content that gets right to the point.
- Monitor your blog’s performance. The best way to do this is to install Google Analytics and watch how your different posts perform over time. Are certain topics more popular? Do you get more traffic on certain days? Also, monitor your social media stats for the same reasons. Over time you may want to refine what you’re posting to get the biggest impact.
- Encourage comments—and reply to them! Interaction is a great way to build an audience and keep them coming back. Don’t fear negative comments, either—often they will give you an opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.
- Always include images. Images will significantly improve the chances people will read your content. If you don’t create the images yourself, make sure you have the legal right to use them. It’s a good idea to invest in a subscription to a stock image provider.
- Include “soft” call to action options (e.g., a link to a product or service they can purchase, ‘sign up for an appointment’, ‘subscribe to my newsletter,’ or even, ‘let us know what you think’). Give your customers something to do each time they visit your blog.
By following these tips for content, you should be able to generate blog posts that will both engage your customers and build solid SEO to increase your website’s visibility.
Let Us Know What Works for You
If you already have a blog, we’d love to hear from you! What strategies have worked out the best for you? What kinds of challenges have you encountered?