You have a company website, you have your Facebook page and you are probably on Twitter tweeting like crazy, but now someone has suggested that you should start a blog.
You may be thinking ‘Why do I need another online platform?’
Blogging is a great way for a business to take advantage of increasing web traffic and build brand awareness online.
Websites are now losing impact as web users look for up-to-date content rather than just a static information page. A blog contains material much more specific and customer focused than your website often written by your public relations team or sales staff. In effect a blog is like a newsletter, but with more frequent updates inviting customers to interact and comment. This creates a more personal and human side to your business. It shows that behind your ‘shop window website’ there is a human somewhere giving advice, the latest news, developments and opinions about your business.
This helps to develop a closer relationship with your customers (and potential customers) and will give you more of a brand identity.
Where do I start?
It all may seem a little daunting at first but it’s quite simple…
Write about what you know!
Firstly, don’t use a blog as a personal tool for self-promotion or sales. This isn’t an effective way to engage with your readers, which is the whole point of a blog. Keep your content interesting and relevant to your area of business and don’t be afraid to show your personality. Update as frequently as you can; obviously most of us don’t have the time to write posts every day, but it’s a good idea to write at least one decent post a week. Your posts don’t have to be huge scribes of information though. There is no set length and word count you are aiming for, but regular informative posts will help establish your position as a source of knowledge within your industry by sharing your expertise on a broad range of subjects. This will in turn encourage readers to return to your blog instead of exploring elsewhere where similar topics are easily accessible.
According to a survey by HubSpot.com, businesses are now in the minority if they don’t blog. From 2009 to 2011 the percentage of businesses with a blog grew from 48% to 65%.
Increasingly, companies are recognizing the value of their blogs. 85% of businesses rated their company blogs as “useful,” “important” or “critical.” A very significant 27% rated their company blog as “critical” to their business.
Therefore, companies are allocating more resources to their social media initiatives. The average budget spent on company blogs and social media increased from 9% in 2009 to 17% in 2011.
What Blogging Can Do For You?
Blogs are still just another piece of your marketing strategy (becoming an increasingly important piece) and should be added to your website, newsletters, e-mail signatures, letterheads & business cards.
Many companies rely on the use of the ‘traditional’ social media platforms such as Facebook & Twitter for their digital marketing strategy as blogging would seem too much effort. However, integrating and sharing content created on your blog effectively harnesses the power of your social following whilst increasing the likelihood that your message and brand gains a wider audience. After all one of the primary reasons to use social media is to drive traffic to your business.
7 benefits to blogging
- It’s an Inexpensive online marketing campaign
- To provide news of current events, offers and promotions.
- Building better customer experience relationships
- You gain feedback and new ideas from readers blog comments
- You provide a more personal experience to your followers
- You can reach out to a new audience
- Increased customer loyalty
And the biggest benefit….
It increases you search engine rankings (SEO)
According to Hubspot business blogging leads to around 55% more website visitors. Search engines, such as Google, have a tendency to ‘like’ websites that are frequently updated with original content. To put it another way, a blog is a one of the most powerful ways of keeping the content on your website fresh. Also, every new blog post creates new opportunities for your site to be ranked in searches, which will hopefully lead to more people visiting it. A good way to encourage this is by giving each blog post a simple, relevant title that reflects a popular search term for your industry.
Your traffic can increase when people link to your blog. Someone who finds your post useful might choose to share it somewhere, for example on Twitter, or even their own blog, which could then lead to several more people visiting your post and sharing it themselves. You also have the option of posting links across your own social networks, encouraging the people who have already shown an interest in your business by choosing to ‘follow’ or ‘Like’ you, to visit the blog too.
Remember, the more pages a visitor reads on your website, the closer they are to making a buying decision with your company, so you need to integrate your blog’s content into every aspect of your sales & digital marketing approach.
Everyone loves a winner, and you can be known as the local industry expert when you dominate online search results. Grab the attention of your customers when they are online, and a well written business blog will do exactly that.
Who should be blogging on your business blog?
It’s easy to pick your marketing department or top sales personnel and give them access to the blog. In most cases, they might be the perfect people, but they aren’t always the best choice when it comes to accomplishing your goals for the blog. Go back to your discussion about your strategy for the blog and the topics that you want people to think about when they think of your company or your products. Who in your company has expertise in those areas? Do you have someone with great ideas? Are there any employees passionate about those topics? If so, recruit those people to contribute to your blogs. Someone passionate and smart, but outside of management probably has more time to spend on the blog and might just come up with some innovative and interesting personal ideas.
By now, you’ve realised that blogging has many benefits and should run in conjunction with your other social media campaigns leading your audience to your on-site content.
Remember to establish yourself as the industry expert by staying active in a particular field or topic, express your thoughts and opinions, help people if you are asked questions and above all… Have fun & be creative with your writing.
Businesses that make the mistake of not blogging or being up to date with content creation are making a mistake — but it’s a mistake you will want your competitors to continue making. With less competition, a well written blog becomes even more clear, providing even more benefits to those businesses willing to make the time investment.