A reminder for myself about the importance of blogging for business.
If it helps you start (or restart) your blog then its worth the time it takes me to write this.
I have been blogging since 2012. I started with a personal blog on blogpost and then moved on to my business blog embedded on my WordPress website. The reason why I started both was because I wanted to share what I knew about websites and SEO. I read blogs to learn from others so it made sense to pass on some of my experience as well.
Before I get onto the most important sections of this article about the benefits to your business of running a blog let me give a brief introduction into what a blog is and how it fits in to the online world.
What is a blog?
As with many things in the digital world there is some vagueness about when blogging started and who published the first blog post (I did do a Google but I didn’t get a definitive answer). We can see from the research though that the first blogs emerged in the 1990s.
You might know that “blog” is a shortened form of “weblog”. The Online Etymology Dictionary says that the term emerged between 1993 and 1998 and was used to refer to an online journal. I first turned on a computer in 1982 I think and at that point blogs certainly didn’t exist. Fast forward to 1996 when I started uni and I remember dialing into some web logs – probably something to do with my course at the time.
The earliest blogs were written by people who had something to say and had discovered that the internet provided the vehicle to get their ideas seen and understood by more people. Prior to the invention of the internet you would find blog-like content in paper-based formats like newspapers, magazines and journals. Blogs were also used in this period as a way to start discussions online about a particular topic.
I like to explain blog posts as articles that you would find in industry-specific publications or perhaps as articles in publications that your target audience would look at.
What is business blogging?
A business blog can be used as an effective marketing tool for any type of business, but it’s especially useful for small and medium sized businesses because anyone can blog for free – all you need it time.
I think a business blog is a great opportunity to communicate your business personality; to explain about your values and to help people too.
Would you include anything personal in your posts?
Yes, by all means if you think it is relevant. They do say, that it doesn’t matter whether you run a multi-national conglomerate or run a micro business, that people buy from people after all.
Where do you publish a business blog?
You can have a standalone business blog site that only contains your articles. Or you can integrate a blog into your website. The articles are structured typically by date and time and you can very much think of them like newspaper articles. The major benefit of a a blog being in a digital format though is that your articles don’t get used to wrap tomorrow’s fish and chips.
What’s the difference between a website and a blog?
A website can just be a collection of digital pages. Or it can be a website that has an integrated blog with individual articles (like this one you are reading now). A blog can be a standalone platform as well.
A website has pages. A blog has posts, or articles. Pages are not organised by time and contain static and stable information about your organisation.
Posts on the other hand, as I’ve said, are time-based. I’m sure that I have posts on my website written 8 years ago that are not wholly accurate now. I do, now and then (not as often as I should), go and update these posts but even if I left them as they are, they were appropriate/correct/relevant at the time of writing. This scenario is completely acceptable in the blogging world as it also shows your history in the sector. For example, I have a post about “the best SEO plugin“. But since that post was published things have changed and I use something else now – and I will one day write a post about that plugin and why I’ve changed allegiance.
The Benefits of Blogging for Business
One question many business people ask is whether blogging is worth it. I obviously think so or I wouldn’t be writing this would I?
The benefits of blogging for business are multi-layered.
Here are the main reasons I recommend blogging to everyone:
Publishing posts on my blog helps my clients
I am writing this article (or post) today because a new client wanted to know what a blog was and how one would help their business. I could have written this post a long time ago when I was researching the keywords I should use on my own website. But it was the question from a client that encouraged me to site down in front of the PC and write it.
When this post is finished and published on my website I will send the link to my client. This is another type of customer service I think.
Some other posts I’ve specifically published to help a particular client with their website, marketing or SEO are:
Writing helps me think about my business
I find the actual process of producing a post like this helps me develop ideas and document my thinking. Whether you “write” using a keyboard or you’ve got into voice dictation, I find that writing helps organise and improve my thinking process. For example, I’m writing some posts about my business values; writing these posts is helping me to critically analyse what I actually think or feel about something. I’ve just written a short post about fear-based marketing for instance. And although I knew instinctively that I don’t want to use fear in my marketing, the process of writing also raised the possibility that this type of strategy may be used for good – think of adverts reminding us to go to the doctors for a check-up for example. Sitting down to write this particular post made me think about the boundaries in fear-based marketing.
If you’re one of those people who prefer to outsource your business writing to a copywriter, the process, although different, still triggers critical thinking I’ve found from speaking with clients and business writers.
Publishing posts on my blog grows my business
Every post that I publish shares something about my business. It could be some technical knowledge; a practical post explaining how to do something; a strategic approach to website marketing or SEO; or something about how I conduct business.
Share your knowledge on your blog and build your online presence
How does anyone assess whether you are a credible company to do business with? They could meet you of course. They could ask around among their contacts. They will look at your website and they might check out your online reviews.
However, the nature of routinely blogging means that you have your own platform to share as much knowledge as you want. And that post has the potential to be read by many more people than you know or who know of you. If you then run a targeted digital ad campaign that sends people to your post the number of people seeing how good you are in your professional field has the potential to reach into the thousands even with a low-ish ad spend (I’m talking around £10 per day – could be less or more than that amount depending on your sector).
You’ll build credibility for yourself each time you publish a post. It’s important to create content that is both interesting to read and helpful. The simple action of writing a post will support you efforts to be seen by more people as an expert. Potential customers will be more likely to believe you if they know who really you are and how you can help them
Blogging is an excellent way to get more traffic to your website
Traffic refers to how many people visit a website. Metrics for web traffic are referred to as “hits”, “sessions” or “visits”. More traffic is consider a sign that the business is building more of an audience online.
However, be aware that sometimes “less is more” when it comes to quality of traffic. There have been many occasions where we have seen the traffic numbers decrease in SEO campaigns I’ve run but the enquiries actually increase.
So, to get more traffic to your website write posts that your potential customers want to read. What are they searching for online? What are the common questions they ask you? What keywords do they put into Google and the other main search engines? Do some research on these questions and write posts that give people your answer.
In your research also find out why people would want to consume your blog posts compared to someone else’s. It could be that you have experience in a very particular specialist area. For instance, you could be in the construction industry but you provide scaffolding for rural projects. Or you might be a counsellor who specialises in supporting teenagers with attachment disorders. You might only serve a particular location; if that is the case, mention it in your posts. Be as specific as you can and those people will find you easier than if you cover broad topics only.
By adding posts to your website you increase the chances of the search engines showing your website to more people, thus increasing web traffic. This is sometimes referred to as organic traffic.
Business blogging is a great way to target prospective clients
If you’re looking to develop a relationship with a specific group of prospective clients, having a blog is a great way to start.
Your service or product-specific pages may only appeal to people who are ready to make a purchase. Whereas, a blog is a great way to reach out to people at various stages of their buying journey. It also helps convert them into customers later down the line. You could think of a blog as a stepping stone in the relationship building process before a prospect becomes a customer.
Business blogging increases your turnover
You’re developing relationships with your prospects as they read, watch or listen to your posts.
Blogging gives you the chance to be in the minds of your prospective clients when they are ready to buy. You can also use it as a way to build trust with them. If you have interesting content on your blog, some people will want to come back and visit over and over again.
If you’re looking for ways to make more money and increase your sales publish and distribute more blog posts.
Business blogging reinforces brand awareness
Your blog is a great way to share your company’s personality; get over the tone of your business and communicate your values. Of course, when you add in visual elements from your brand library (logo, avatar, colours, fonts for example) you give people a more rounded view of your company.
Building your brand awareness strengthens the personal connection with your prospects. When people relate with your brand, benefits follow. If “you” are your brand the same principle applies.
What content can you include in your business blog?
To answer this question I refer you to my other post “14 Convincing Content Marketing Examples“. You will notice in this post the wide array of content types such as visual content, easy to make videos and audio posts.
A single blog post gives you a month’s worth of content for social media
I know how difficult it is sometimes to fill your social media accounts with good quality, helpful content. The problem is solved when you publish a new blog post.
From this blog post I have enough content to use for several month’s worth of social media posts. I could re-write paragraphs and post them; I could take the headings from this post and make it into a slideshow; I could re-use it as a podcast episode; I could use it as the basis for a video interview with another expert or I could make the headings into memes. I’m sure there are many more ways of re-using or repurposing this article. You could get a multimedia (is this still a word?) company or freelancer to do some of this for you are well.
A blog post provides content to send to your mailing list
You write a blog post and let’s say you publish it at 9am on Monday morning. You then have something of value to email to your mailing list. You just have to write a short introduction to the post and give a reason or two that the subscribers would want to look at it. Some bloggers get into a routine of writing the mail as soon as they publish the post so that it doesn’t get forgotten. I’m not in this routine yet! Actually, I was at one point, and then something happened to throw me off track – sound familiar? We can all start again!
Other points worth remembering when you need motivation to blog for your business
- Blog posts attract inbound links from other blogs and this gets you noticed by more people.
- Blogs have proved to be one of the best marketing channels. Businesses that blog get around 55% more website visitors than other businesses that don’t (Source: Hubspot).
- Blog posts help improve your search engine optimisation and therefore increase your search engine rankings.
- You can link from a blog post to a product or service page on your website.
- You can ask readers to subscribe to your mailing list from a blog post.
- You can directly monetise your blog with links to affiliate products or services.
This post started out as a response to a question from a client. It is also a reminder for myself about the benefits of blogging. It’s taken me longer to write than I thought it would. It could have many more sections as well but I’m confident that I have covered the main advantages of blogging for my audience.
I am re-convinced that I should do this more often. And what’s even better is that I’ve enjoyed the blogging process as well.
Now you know why I’ve spent two days writing this post!
Also if I’m being honest, this is a long-ish post to try and make up for not writing one in quite awhile 😉
Write a blog post and send me the link if you want – I’d love to read what you are up to.