Q: I'm aware that blogging isn't a new phenomena. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if my grandmother was hipper than I and wrote her own blog. The fact of the matter is, as a small business owner, I'm curious. Is blogging really worth the time and effort?
A: A RESOUNDING YES!
Blogging on a consistent basis is a relatively easy (see post about business blogging tips for beginners), inexpensive way to to improve your inbound marketing efforts, increase website traffic and attract more prospective clients.
In fact, Hubspot's State of Inbound 2014-2015 report highlights that marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
Below I'll review 4 of the most important benefits of business blogging:
- Developing relationships with potential clients and current customers. It's important that your clients build rapport and trust with your brand. Nowadays, any blog platform worth it's reputation gives readers the ability to write comments on any blog article. These commenters could be potential sales leads or they might just be refuting your opinion; regardless, your website and blog will soon be the epicenter for industry-relevant dialogue. By reviewing and responding to comments, you can build trust with your audience and gain valuable insight into what your customers are looking for or topics of interest.
- Establishing your business as an industry thought leader. Each blog that you post is an opportunity to share your thought leadership, personal integrity, humor and professional expertise. Before you know it, you'll become a "go-to" resource for helpful content, which could ultimately lead to higher conversion rates! This is especially important for the "David's" looking to compete with the behemoth "Goliath's" in their respected industries.
- Boosting search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines love fresh content. When you blog consistently, you give Google (and Bing and Yahoo!) new content to index and create opportunities to plug in those all-important long-tail keywords to help boost visibility. (Side Note: long-tail keywords refers to highly-specialized, low-traffic search terms that represent a sizable chunk of all search queries. For example, you pen a blog about your reaction to a TED talk that relates to your industry. This might not get too many natural search hits, but soon your blog will rank very highly when people search "TED talk + speaker + city" and I bet those visitors would be very interested in your reactions.)
- Building a community that connects to your brand. I've said this many times, and I'll repeat it here: People want to do business with other humans; not robots. And blogging allows your visitors to see a personal side of your business. Prospects will get a better understanding of your organization's culture, your people and your vision--blogging is humanizing.
Now, at this point, you're likely thinking, "yes, Lady these are some fantastic benefits, but I still have some apprehensions." Let's review the two most common excuses:
- I don't have time to blog. I bet you already write content in other formats, but just aren't considering how easy it might be to repurpose it into blog articles. Do you create white papers or send email newsletters? Blogging is better. Why? Because your readers can actively join the debate and engage your brand via expertly positioned call-to-actions (CTAs). Within your blog, they can navigate easily to older posts and again, provides that lasting benefit of an optimized web page (remember benefit #3 above?). Plus, quality blog platforms allow for multiple authors. So, if your organization has multiple thought leaders, it takes the pressure off any one individual.
- I don't want to share all my business secrets. In today's consumer-centric world, they've got access to thousands of opinions about your brand and likely millions of articles, commentaries or product reviews...and this can severely impact the buying decision. And that idea that you can control exactly how your brand is perceived is very antiquated. The truth is, your best option is to engage with your potential clients in an honest and transparent dialogue. Trust me, your customers and clients will reward you!
Now, go forth and blog!
Got specific questions about blogging? Please leave a comment below and we'll get back to you. Throughout the month of September, we'll be focusing on "Back to Blogging" basics and related topics.