26 Reasons Why Blogging For Business Is No Longer Optional
Blogging is the heart and soul of your inbound marketing, social media marketing, and overall content marketing. Blogging for business is a must for any company.
The other day I was talking with a prospective client. He had just paid $3,500 for a new great looking website and was really excited about the website. The client was also concerned that nobody would see it. He was right. Yes, the website looked great, but there was nothing driving traffic to the new site. So, we had a long conversation about how blogging for business would give his new website purpose.
These are the 26 reasons we talked about the client starting a blog for his business.
Let new customers find you.
When was the last time you had a question? I bet you hit the old internet to find your answer. Your customers are no different. They are looking for answers to their questions. Every new blog post gives your company the opportunity to answer these questions and be found by prospective customers.
Help explain your products or services.
Do you have a product that is hard to explain? Even if you are an air conditioning repair company, you have services that your customer had questions about. When the AC is out you are needed. This is an easy sell. How about your pre-summer AC checks and maintenance packages? A blog can help you explain these products to your customers.
Increase traffic to your website.
Okay, we have a website. We would like to see some traffic, right? Blogging for business is like giving your website an at-bat and a chance to hit a home run. The more quality content you produce, the more opportunities you have to be found by your customers and clients. Start giving your website more at-bats with more blog posts.
Become an industry leader.
Is your business the leader in the industry? Are you the best at what you do? Sure you are. Your blog is going to back this claim up. Think about it, if you write a book you are pretty much the guru in the room. Or at least seen as the guru. Blogging is very similar, you are able to share your expertise with the world. Blogging for business gives you the opportunity to show the world you are the leader in your industry.
Think of it this way. You are reading this blog post. I hope you think I am a blogging expert. If not, I have not done my job.
Build relationships with your customers.
Let’s face it, people are always thinking they are going to get ripped off. Blogging for business will show your potential customer that you are legit and start to build a relationship. Providing valuable information and helping them answer a question will help you build trust. Give away free advice and they will come knocking next time they need your service.
Identify new revenue streams.
I love to find new revenue streams and I bet you do as well. Building a blog for your business will give you the opportunity to ask your customers and clients questions. Use their responses to help build our new products or services.
For example. When I started my first marketing agency I was focused on inbound marketing services only. The more I blogged about my business the more I found out that I should also be consulting marketing teams on inbound marketing methodology. Cha Ching, new revenue stream.
You are falling behind.
This is pretty straightforward. Your competition is already blogging for their business and finding new customers. Don’t fall behind any further.
Tell your brand story.
Does your company have a story? There is a reason you got into the business. For example, I was laid off from a high-paying marketing job and needed a way to feed the family and pay bills. I decided that I was not going back to corporate America and went out and found some clients. The rest is history. Your blog gives you a chance to connect with people through your brand story.
I am sure you have been told to spend boatloads of money on trade shows, pay per click campaigns, social media ads, or direct mail. These are all still great ways to get new business, but blogging is one of the only free ways to promote your business. Yes, there is time involved in creating a great blog post, but it cost me $0 to write this post and you are now aware of the CoBound brand.
Focus on your business.
Blogging for your business is a great way to learn more about you as a business person and learn about your business. The more you blog, the more you need to think about how each topic benefits your business. Blogging for business will have you thinking about your business differently.
Blogging creates free PR.
Does your business have a PR strategy? No, that is okay. Your blog is a great way for the press to find you and if you are willing (highly recommend) put your on camera. Your blog is a great way to get found and at least start the old PR machine.
Build links to your website.
Creating high-quality content allows you to be found on the internet. When you are found on the internet you have the chance of someone linking about to your article or website. The more links to your website, the more traffic. The more traffic to more customers.
Learn about your competition.
When was the last time you took a hard look at the competition? You analyzed the marketing tactics they are using to generate demand? If you are like most companies, potbelly never. When you start blogging for business, you are going to come across your competition as you do research. This is going to inform you of new competitors and also give you some insight into what your competition is doing.
Provide valuable information to your customers.
I am a huge believer that marketing should add value to the end consumer. Blogging for business is a great way to give your customer tips and tricks for free. I love giving away free advice because I know it will create a relationship and potentially create a new opportunity. Your blog should add value to the end user.
Share timely information with your customers.
Use your blog to let your customers know about an upcoming product release or let them know you are hosting an event. Your blog is a great way for your company to share important information with your customer base. It is also a great way to find new customers that are looking for something new.
Blogging for business is fun.
Okay, I might be the only one out there, but I really enjoy blogging for business. I am not a writer at heart, but I have learned the tricks of the trade and writing has become a way to relieve the stress of the business. I really enjoy writing and blogging for my business. You can too.
Gives your company a content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is the act of creating and sharing content (such as video, blogs, and social media) to promote your brand or company. Content marketing is intended to raise awareness and spark interest in your products or services. Blogging for business is the backbone of a content marketing strategy.
Gives your company a search engine optimization strategy.
Search engine optimization is the act of being found on Google, Bing, and Yahoo through organic search, not pay per click campaigns. Search engine optimization is important for any business because over 90% of transactions start with a Google. Every blog post you create gives your site a new indexed page in the search engines. Again, this gives you more at-bats (l love baseball by the way).
Part of a lead nurturing strategy.
I am still surprised at how many companies, including marketing agencies, do not have a lead nurturing mechanism in place. Most customers are not ready to buy from you on the first introduction, but through marketing automation, you are able to continue to nurture leads and keep top of mind for when they are ready to buy. Blogging for business is one entry point into your lead nurturing campaigns.
Helps identify your customer wants.
Do you know what your customer is really looking for? Well, your blog will give you a pretty good indication of what they care about. The posts that have high interaction and engagement are the topics that your customers care about. This will also help you create new topics to blog about.
Build consumer confidence.
A blog on your website will build the confidence of your customers. As a marketing agency, I sit down with t a prospect and answer questions about the process, results, and tactics we are going to take. Through blogging and content, I am able to answer some of these questions before we even sit down. This helps the client build confidence in my services.
Helps your company innovate.
This goes hand in hand with competitive analysis. If you know what your competition is doing, you can create and innovate new products or services.
Part of your social media strategy.
Social media marketing is becoming more and more important to your business. Blogging for business helps fuel your social media with fresh new content. For example, this blog post will be broken up into 26 different social media post and shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Blogging for business is a great way to start engaging your customers on social media.
Expand your network.
Blogging for business can also help you find new connections in your community that can help grow your business. Team up with other like-minded bloggers and share content and guest post on their blog. This will help you build your hub of new power partners.
Helps you develop new skills.
Okay, writing might not be your strong suit. Storytelling might be your thing. Blogging for business can help you develop new skills you did not even know you wanted. From search engine optimization to writing, to photography blogging will give the platform to start learning something new.
Segment your customer base.
Customer segmentation is a strategy of creating micro groups of customers that have similar interests, demographics, or needs. If your business sells multiple products or has multiple target markets your blog will help you create valuable content for that individual group.
The first client I ever landed through inbound marketing was created from a blog post that was tailored to accountants. Within 3 days of publishing that blog post, the new lead was on the hook. Market segmentation can and will work for your business, let your blog be the guide.
Benefits of Blogging for Business
You have heard that blogging for business has hundreds of benefits, but you are still wondering if it is worth the effort. I do not have time to create a blog. I do not know how to create a blog. My industry is boring and no one wants to read about it. These are all excuses that I have heard from business owners. I will say that blogging is worth your time and it should be part of your marketing strategy if it is not already. Let’s examine 5 benefits of blogging for business.
Drive Targeted Traffic To Your Website
Raise your hand if you want more web traffic. If you did not raise your hand you are a liar. So we can all agree that more traffic is better than no traffic. Studies have shown that blogging can drive 55% more traffic to your website.
Let’s think about how people find a website.
- The visitor can enter your URL into their browser.
- You can pay for traffic through a search engine.
- You can earn traffic through organic search.
I am sure that we can both agree that we want to earn traffic. Earned traffic is free and drives targeted visitors. Blogging for business will help you earn traffic. Think about it this way, every time you post a new blog you give the search engine another opportunity to index your site and get seen organically (yes, it is possible to get free web traffic).
Business blogging is a great way to drive more traffic to your site so that alone should be enough reason to start your blog today.
Real world example: The first inbound marketing client I ever received was from a blog post optimized for the keyword “inbound marketing for accountants”. I bet you can guess that the business was not a plumber. That’s right, it was an accounting firm. This is how targeted you need to get with your blogging. Write for your customer persona, not the overall theme “inbound marketing”.
Lead Generation: Turn Your Traffic Into Leads
If you have a website you want it to generate leads. That is why you invested in the shiny marketing toy, right?
So how does blogging for business help generate leads for your business?
Now that you are generating traffic to your website, it is time to do something with it. That’s right, generate leads for your business. You are answering your potential customer’s questions with each blog post and starting to build a relationship. Now that you are starting to develop a relationship, it is time to get the lead.
Every blog post you write should have a call-to-action. Tell your visitors what you want them to do next. A call-to-action could be to download a free ebook, whitepapers, free trial, or it could even be as easy as sign up for your newsletter. Not every person that visits your blog is going to become a qualified lead and that is okay. To get a higher conversion rate, relate your call-to-action to your blog post. If you are talking about social media, your call-to-action should be about more info on social media.
Your blog is a lead generating machine that never slows down and never takes a day off, unlike your salesman.
Establish Yourself As An Industry Expert
Customers want to buy from people that they trust. Blogging is a way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and build trust. So answer questions that your customers have and start to add value to your targeted audience.
When people are searching the web for answers and they come across your blog post that answers their questions, you automatically start to build trust and establish credibility. By answering your customers’ questions, you are able to have a 24-hour customer service team that is always reaching your customer, no matter the time of day, when your customer wants your help.
Blogging Must Be Part Of Your Social Media Plan
Part of your social media plan should be to drive traffic back to your website and generate leads. So your blog is vital to your social media plan. As you schedule your social media campaigns, you should be sharing blog posts that are relevant to the campaign.
For example; If you own a swimming pool company and you have a “safety” campaign that you are promoting on Facebook it would be wise to create an article about pool fences or swimming lessons that you can share on Facebook while the campaign is running. This will drive traffic back to your site.
Your business blog must be part of your social media marketing plan. Social media is a great way to promote your blog and generate relationships with potential customers. Give your audience a reason to share your content with great blogging.
Develop Relationships With Your Audience
Your blog is driving traffic to your website, you are generating leads, you are seen as an expert in your industry, and you have included your blog in your social media plan. It is now time to start creating relationships with your visitors.
The best way to build a relationship with your visitors is to ask a question at the end of the blog post and give your visitors a chance to respond. Make sure to enable comments on your blog and answer questions that people are asking in the comments. This will help to build rapport and trust with your visitors.
Your blog is a great way to establish the first contact with your potential customers and start to build a lasting relationship.
Build Strategic Partnerships That Drive Results
The importance of your network is more than just a thing that salespeople say. It is not what you know, it is who you know. Through blogging, I have found and connected with other marketers and business owners. Some of these connections have become friends and strategic partners. These strategic partners have been very fruitful for my business because of referrals and mentoring.
Your blog is not just to attract direct customers, yes that is a great thing, but it also attracts like-minded individuals. These individuals can help grow your business more than any other marketing channel. Use your blog to build your strategic network.
Build Your Email List
I saved the best for last. The bigger your email list, the more opportunity you have to increase your revenue. Email marketing continues to outperform any other marketing tactic. Studies show that email, even today, has a 3800% return on investment. Email marketing is affordable, effective, and easy to execute. I will warn you that many marketers will overuse their list. I cringe when I hear words like eBlast, batch & blast, or newsletter because it shows there is no strategy behind your email (sorry for the tangent).
Blogging for your business is the best way to build your email list and increase your revenue. Make sure that the sidebar of your blog includes a way to sign up for the email list and include a clear call to action with your post. Every blog post should have a purpose. Use your blog to increase your email list.
Provide Value To Your Existing Customer Base
Once you get a customer your job as a marketer is not done. In fact, it is just the beginning. Customer marketing is the process of on-boarding, cross-selling, or up-selling to your existing customer base. The ability to market to your existing customer base starts with your blog. Your blog can be a great resource for updates to your products or services.
Using your blog to delight your customers and keep them engaged with your brand is a great use of your business blog.
Increase Your Position on Search Engines
Okay, increasing your position in search engines is easier said than done. However, if your efforts in SEO are focused on answering your customer’s questions, you will increase your visibility on the Google (yes, I keep refereeing to Google as a noun, get over it). You may not rank #1 for “marketing agency”, but you might rank for “benefits of blogging for my business”. The point is your blog is going to increase your position on Google and get your business found online. Your blog is the backbone of your SEO strategy and increasing organic search.
Blogging For Business Best Practices
Your business blog is important. So how do you get the most out of it? Here are 5 best practices for blogging.
You are excited to get started blogging for business and you are convinced that it is the right thing to do for your business. You produce 3 articles a week for the first month. The reality is that you are going to get busy and blogging three times a week could start to wear you down. The goal is to post on a consistent basis. When I first got started, the goal was to produce one blog post per week and publish it on Monday. We have ramped up from that time, but we knew that we had to produce something every Monday for consistency.
Start With An Outline
One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen when companies start blogging is that they just jump into it and write about whatever they want. The problem is that the article starts to become confusing and you lose your reader. So before you start to write your articles, get out your notebook with a pen or pencil (yes these things still exist) write an outline for your article. Start with your title and draft your outline. This will help you organize your thoughts and create something that your readers will love.
Links are very important when it comes to getting seen in search. Do yourself a favor and link your new articles with old articles that are about similar topics or help explain a point in your post in more detail. One of the things I do is create a series of posts and link these 3-5 posts together. Imagine you own a Financial Investment Firm and you are writing about how to save money by refinancing your home mortgage, you could create four posts in a series.
- What Is A Refinance
- Why A Refinance Is Right For You
- Refinance Basics
- How To Get Started With Your Refinance
All four of these articles would link back and forth to the appropriate part of each post, adding more value to the reader and increase your ranking on Google (let’s be honest that is the only search engine that matters).
We are trying to be as consistent as possible with our blogging and writing daily will help you meet these goals. Set aside half an hour to an hour per day and dedicate that time to write. During this time, you can plan, edit and post your blog. If you get more than one post done per week, then you can schedule that post for the next week. If you are consistently getting more than one post done, then you can start posting on Monday and Thursday. The goal here is to get in the habit of writing. The time of day is up to you, but make it the same time every day so that it becomes a habit. Get up an hour early and write or write when the kids go to bed. Either way, it starts to form a habit.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So make sure to include images to enhance the reader’s experience on your blog. Make sure that the images you are using are related to your article and help explain the points you are trying to make. This is why infographics are so popular.
Video marketing has exploded in popularity in the past couple of years. So if you are using video marketing, make sure to include the videos you are creating to help explain your points. Product demos are a great way to enhance your blogging efforts.
As you get started blogging, make sure to get more out of your efforts with these best practices. Blogging is important to your business and marketing, so make sure every post you create gets the highest ROI.
Search Engine Optimization Basics For Blogging
By now you know blogging is kind of a big deal. Blogging for business generates 55% more traffic to your company’s website. We also know that generating more traffic generates more leads. In fact, blogging has shown to increase leads by as much as 77%. The trick to generating more traffic is to use search engine optimization basics for blogging to maximize your traffic. This will help your blog get seen by more readers and more customers. If you are new to blogging, or just want to get more traffic out of every blog post, here are the basics you need to know about search engine optimization as it relates to blogging.
A Keyword is an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document. Your keyword is very important to your search engine optimization strategy because this word tells the search engines what your blog post is about. Over time you can increase the keywords your blog covers because each post should cover another keyword.
Only focus on one primary keyword per post. This will help you focus on your main goal for that post and make it easier to get your message across to your readers. In Addition, try to find the appropriate keywords for your customer persona or target market. Find out what your customers are searching for and create your blog around these keywords.
A great title, The 5 Best Cats Videos On The Internet, could generate a lot of buzz on social media, but might not rank well in search because there is tons of content about cat videos. When you begin to blog for your business, make sure that you have your keyword in the title to tell the search engine exactly what you are blogging about. So if your keyword is Best Cat Videos, then you are on the right track (I just hope your customer base finds it as entertaining as you do).
A meta description is an HTML and XHTML element that describes your page to search engines. This is the description that you see under the title of each search result. Make sure to include your keyword in the meta description to tell the search engine exactly what your blog post is about.
Okay, now onto the actual post. Make sure to use your keyword here too. There have been updates to search algorithms that are looking for articles that are “stuffing” their articles with keywords to increase rankings. So, use your keyword around 5 times and you will be fine. Just don’t overdo it. Remember, we are writing for human beings, not robots. So try to sneak your keyword into your content a couple of times.
Image Alt Text
This is one of the items I believe many bloggers miss. The Alt text (alternative text) is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell Web site viewers the nature or content of an image. Basically, you are telling the reader or search engine what the picture is (example: Best cat videos, watch a cat get scared by a tiny puppy). So make sure to use your keyword in here too. I have found that using variations of the keyword for the alt tag help increase rankings.
WordPress Plug-In To Save The Day – Yoast
Okay, I know this might be a little overwhelming, but I want you to get the very most out of your blog. You are spending tons of time on it and you deserve every web hit. If you are using WordPress for blogging, then I highly recommend installing Yoast. Yoast gives you a nice checklist to make sure you are getting your keywords in all the right places on your blog post. It makes search engine optimization easy.
In order to get your blog started, you have to have a blogging platform. There are tons of different platforms that your business can get started using. You may have built your website on one of these platforms. If it is not there is no need to worry. You can always have your web developer set up a blog for your company without completely redoing your site (if they can’t, contact us today).
WordPress is the top dog because of third-party plug-ins that are available to help make things easier and integrate with other applications. There are plug-ins for SEO, email marketing, membership sites, or pretty much whatever you are looking for.
Another reason WordPress is top dog is that you can create a website and blog from scratch in a weekend. There are millions of themes you can install. Themes are a great way to get started. Just make sure that the theme you choose is responsive and mobile-ready.
Drupal is similar to WordPress in the fact that it is an open source platform that allows third-party developers to create extensions and themes. It is known for being more secure than WordPress but lacks the ease of use of WordPress. Drupal also lacks the market for plug-ins, so it can require a bit more development time.
Many government websites are developed on Drupal because of the enterprise level of security it provides out of the box. However, you can buy additional plug-ins that give WordPress this level of security.
Are you a do it yourself kind of company? SquareSpace is a drag and drop website creation platform that is simple to master. It will help you produce a great looking, mobile friendly, website and blog that your business can use to generate leads. It is an all-in-one platform that anyone can use (even your grandma). SquareSpace is the perfect option for the small business that is looking to save money by not paying for a developer.
The downside of SquareSpace is that you are limited to what they provide you. It is limited in custom development. There are no plug-ins and you have to choose from one of their themes, but that might be fine for you and your company. Also, you can get on the web in a day.
Blogger is a free option. Blogger is owned by Google, so you do not own the platform like the other platforms that are self-hosted (WordPress and Drupal). So Blogger could shut down at any time leaving you with nothing. Blogger also has limited themes to choose from.
Blogger is not a solution for the business blogger because you want to own your content and be able to customize to your needs.
Weebly is similar to SquareSpace. It is a drag and drop website creation tool that includes a blogging platform. Just like SquareSpace, there are limited options when it comes to themes and plug-ins. It is super simple, making it an option for the startup or small business who are looking to save a little money on development.
If you own a business you are most likely going to use a platform like WordPress or Drupal because of the custom functions you can add to it. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, your business blog will deliver the results you are looking for.
5 Best Business Blogs
There are thousands of great business blogs that help answer questions you have about almost any topic. Here are 5 of the best business blogs that I read every day.
HubSpot is the grand-daddy of inbound marketing and blogging is an essential part of inbound marketing. The HubSpot blogs about more than just inbound marketing, they include sales, web design, general marketing topics, and a blog in Spanish and German. If you are looking to grow your business, their blog will help answer your questions.
U.S. Small Business Administration
The SBA is the leader in resources for small business. The SBA can help you find financing, give tips on leadership or anything related to your small business. The content on the SBA blog is produced to help the small business succeed in all aspects from getting started to building your business. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to the SBA blog today!
Harvard Business Review
If you have been in business for any time you know that Harvard Business Review produces some of the best studies on a wide range of topics. From leadership, marketing, management, strategy, or work-life balance, HBR has you covered. HBR covers topics geared for the larger companies, but any size business can learn a great deal from Harvard Business Review.
Duct Tape Marketing
Duct Tape Marketing is another great marketing blog that covers inbound marketing, social media marketing, lead generation, and so many more topics. The owner John Jantsch is a highly recognized speaker and author, his blog is a great resource and his podcast is just as informative.
Okay, the MOZ blog can be a bit more technical. It is all about search engine optimization. I know to leave SEO to the experts, but in reality, if you are going to be blogging you need to get the basics of SEO down and Moz will help you.
Disclaimer. All of the blogs are using their blog to generate leads, but this is the same reason you are blogging. So learn from them, copy them, and apply their tactics to your business. They have built their business by creating a great business blog, so can you.
Blogging For Business Conclusion
After the client created and started updating their blog traffic increased by 71% over 5 months. The new website finally started to pay off for them. Blogging for business has become a part of their overall marketing plan and continue to drive new visitors, leads, and customers. The results from blogging have helped the client start looking for a second location.
Blogging for your business is very beneficial and no longer optional for your business. If you are not blogging or blog infrequently, it is time to get started today. According to HubSpot, Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts. There are going to be some bumps in the road, but the more you do it, the better you become. Blogging is a small business marketing tactics that can reward your business over time.