Why Your Business Needs A Blog
Shockingly enough, a lot of businesses fail to see the importance of having an active, relevant and useful business blog. Many believe it’s a waste of resources and time. Others think it’s alright to just have any ol’ blog that gets updated once in a blue moon with information that no one is really interested in.
Who reads this stuff anyway, right?
In fact, businesses who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts says, a report written by HubSpot. Having no blog at all, or having an inactive blog (which is even worse) can be doing some serious damage to your business. Or at the very least, it can be stopping you from growing your brand and letting it reach its full potential.
Running a successful business blog is not just a fun activity done by those who are bored. Rather, it’s an effective marketing tool that can create brand awareness, help you grow your business, and increase your conversion rate. Blogging is a serious matter, and it should be taken as such.
So here are four positive points an active and professional blogging provides that are crucial for any successful business, small or big.
4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Blog:
1. Most effective fuel for your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound Marketing is all about turning your prospects into happy paying customers by providing useful and relevant content. This can be achieved by using a few different types of content, such as e-books, case studies, and even videos. However, it is widely agreed that a successful business blog is the most effective tool in the toolbox.
According to research done by Hubspot, B2B marketers that use business blogging get 67% more leads than those that don’t. This is because blog posts are more in-depth and easy to consume than any other form of content. When done right, blogging stands in perfect balance between formal (such as whitepapers and case studies) and informal (such as social media posts and newsletters). And such a balanced way of presenting information makes blog posts a perfect stimulus to share on your business social media accounts. Not only that, but it also provides a great foundation for subscription CTAs, as well as a wonderful way to encourage audience participation by starting a discussion.
2. Great tool for building Thought Leadership
Running an informative and relevant business blog communicates your knowledge of the industry as a brand. What’s more, it places you – the CEO – as an industry expert. And who do people trust more than experts? Nobody.
As Jann Schwarz explains in his article about the real value of Thought Leadership, 83% of buyers admit that Thought Leadership builds trust in organizations. According to the customers themselves, industry knowledge clearly shows credibility, expertise, and quality. And that, once more emphasize the importance of running a relevant, helpful and active blog. It is simply the best way to build influential Thought Leadership with your name and your brand’s name at the top.
3. A good boost for your site’s SEO
Publishing regular blog articles about topics that are relevant to what your business provides is a great way to give your SEO a good boost. What this does is increase the ranking of your website on search engines and makes it easier for your prospects to find it. In other words, it attracts them. And that is a part of the first stage of an effective Inbound Marketing Funnel.
Having your website appear on first pages of Google or any other search engine gives you credibility too. The way most prospects see it is “if the search engine thinks you are a good fit for what I am looking for, then I do too.”
Therefore, climbing up those search engine ranks to appear at the top is crucial. And that can only be done by producing quality blog posts that will provide useful information to your potential customers.
4. A steady bridge between you and your target audience
By following your blog’s analytics you can discover lots of useful information. Such as, who your target audience is, what they look for and what they love about your brand. For example, by using Google Analytics you can see what kind of people visit your site. This allows you to get a clearer image of who your target audience is. And by seeing which blog article attracts most traffic and has the lowest bounce rate, you can clearly see what interests your visitors.
You can take this information and use it to adapt your brand’s personality and voice. As well as the kind of content you provide for your readers. By doing so, you will slowly create a strong bond with your prospects that will persuade them to become your happily paying customers and advocates for your brand.
A short guide to running a blog
Now that we discussed the importance of having a blog, we can talk about how to run it so it brings the desired effects. Because publishing a few blog posts a week with no useful information and relevance to your brand will only do you damage.
So here are two elements that will help you get business blogging right. Learn and practice them both, and you will soon be reaping the fruits of successful Inbound Marketing.
Element One: Content Strategy
Although Content Strategy focuses on planning, researching and organizing all of the content, for the sake of this guide we will only focus on business blogging. We will use its steps to determine what kind of topics your blog will cover and what the ultimate goal of your blog will be.
Step One: Determine your goals
Every good Content Strategy should start by defining what the final goal of your blog is or will be. What is it that you want to achieve by business blogging? Of course, as we discussed above, there is more than one good outcome when running an active and relevant blog. But only when you decide on your ultimate final goal will you be able to truly focus on your topics.
So think about your biggest priority. Is it building Thought Leadership? Traffic? ROI? What do you want your audience to take away from your articles?
Step Two: Define your target audience
If you already have a blog of some sort, or an active social media account for your business, you can look at your audience demographics to figure out what your target customer is. If you do not have any such information accessible to you, you must then create a buyer persona.
This step is absolutely crucial in order to understand what kind of content will be most effective and valuable for your readers. After all, how can you truly connect with someone if you don’t even know who you are talking to?
Step Three: Come up with topics
Keeping the two above elements in mind, brainstorm possible content ideas. Begin by researching your competition and see what they write about. Is their target audience the same as yours? Even if it’s not, you may get an idea of the general direction you want to go with your blog.
Then, use Google to determine what topics and keywords people search for. What questions do they have? Is there any information gaps that you could fill in with useful and relevant articles?
Brainstorm, research, and make a list of likely titles for your articles. Once that is done, it’s time to move onto the next stage of the guide.
Element Two: Blog Editorial Calendar
An Editorial Calendar for your business blog will work as a clear plan of action that you will follow to-a-T. It is there to help you stay organized and get the most optimal results. Therefore it is very important that once it’s set, you stay on top of it.
Step One: Choose a platform
The three free main platforms that are considered to be the best are Google Calendar, Google Sheets, and Microsoft Excel. All of them allow you to organize your Editorial Calendar, as well as share it with your editors, writers, and other colleagues that are taking part. So check them out, and decide which one suits your needs the most.
Step Two: Set a publishing schedule
At this point, you should decide how often your articles will be published. Will it be three articles a week? Four a month? Whatever you decide, keep one article a week as an absolute minimum. Anything less than that and your blog pretty much counts as inactive.
But it’s also important to remember that quality should always go above quantity. It’s no good releasing an article a day if they will be poorly written. Find a sweet spot that works for you and your brand.
Step Three: Sort out your topics
Remember that list of potential topics you brainstormed when creating your Content Strategy? Well, it is time to take another look at it and decide what stays and what goes.
Once that is done, sort your articles out by themes. Set a theme for each month, and only publish articles that cover that theme. This way your blog will not be messy, and you will be sure to cover each theme thoroughly. Then, strategically place them into your calendar and follow it at all times!
P.S. To make it easier, HubSpot has created three different Editorial Calendar templates that are free to download and use. Check them out as they can be really useful when creating your own Editorial Calendar for the very first time.
A business blog is nothing less than a marketing strategy
A blog is a tool that is worth investing in if you plan to stay in the game for a long time. It may not bring you instant results, but it is proved again and again that it works better than anything else in terms of building credibility, growing traffic and conversion rate, as well as spreading brand awareness. The only downside to business blogging the waiting game. But you know what they say – good things come to those who wait!