Business blogging has become an essential part of every successful online marketing strategy. It’s as essential to marketing a business at the Yellow Pages once was. If your business website doesn’t have a blog, you may be losing out on sales. And if you’re still using the Yellow Pages as the primary means for generating business, we need to have a serious talk…
What is Business Blogging?
Let’s start from the beginning. The dictionary definition is simply “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” What you’re reading right now is a blog post.
Blogging for business is a marketing tactic that uses blogging to get your business more online visibility. A business blog is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to promote your business. Done correctly, it can increase traffic to your website, thereby increasing sales. Not only that, an effective business blog will help you connect with customers, strengthen your brand, establish you as an authority in your industry and even reach entirely new markets.
Many of the small businesses we work with are reluctant to start blogging. Excuses we often hear include:
- “I don’t have the time to write a blog!”
- “What would I even write about?”
- “Our customers don’t read blogs.”
- “Who would want to hear what I’ve got to say?”
Blogging for business isn’t necessarily designed to lead a customer directly to a purchase, but it does make up an integral part of the sales funnel. But there are many other benefits:
The Benefits of Business Blogging
As with all your online marketing efforts, the effectiveness of business blogging is measurable, replicable and scalable.
Increases search engine traffic
Whenever you write a new blog post, you’re sending a number of signals to the search engines. The search engines’ entire business models are based around delivering the most relevant results whenever someone does a search. Whilst the search engines’ algorithms are closely guarded secrets, we know that they loving seeing fresh new content and a website that is being regularly updated. Not only that, whenever you write a blog post, you naturally use language that will help you rank for long-tail search queries. It’s a simple equation – the more you write, the more organic search traffic will be delivered to your website.
Builds authority in your industry
There is a lot of reluctance for small business to blog, for the reasons listed above. Maybe there’s even a bit of tall-poppy syndrome in there as well? But at the end of the day, that means there are fewer competitors in the blogging space than there are in other marketing channels. Your customers will notice that. If you are willing to take the time to write regular blog posts, you start to build a reputation as an expert in your industry. And that authority translates into trust. Trust improves conversions, and ultimately will increase leads and sales.
Humanises your brand
Again, this helps build a level of trust with potential customers. When someone arrives at your website for the first time, subconsciously they are looking for a reason not to do business with you. When looking for a new product or service provider, everyone wants to make the “right choice”. Blogs, by their very nature, are informal and conversational, so reading one should feel like the customer has just been having a chat with you. It’s not a high pressure sales situation, so they are more likely to be receptive to your message.
Helps generate links and likes
Once you’ve started to establish yourself as an expert in your field, you’re going to naturally start generating some interest. What you will find is your blog post is going to start being shared on social media and other blogs will reference it in their posts by linking to it. Links to your website are valuable from an SEO perspective – each link is like a vote of confidence for the content on that page. And “social signals” are another indicator to the search engines that the content has been well received.
Facilitates valuable discussion
Social media is one way to start a discussion, but having people comment on your post is gold. Blogging gives you the opportunity to have a two-way conversation with your potential customers. It lets them know that you’re open to comments, feedback and even criticisms. You can use this conversation to ask further questions, gain new insights into your customers’ needs and structure your content and marketing initiatives based on what you’ve learned.
Tips for Successful Business Blogging
Ok, so I’ve convinced you – you’re going to give this business blogging thing a go? Great! Here are some tips for successful business blogging.
Write for your customers
Ideally, your blog should aim to either solve a problem for your customers or provide fresh insights into your industry. Keep in mind that your blog, like your website, is not for you – it’s for your customers, so write for them. Blogs are informal and conversational, but if your customers are typically knowledgeable about your niche, write with that in mind. Conversational doesn’t mean dumbing down.
Create valuable content
Never write for the sake of writing. “Oh I haven’t written a blog post in awhile – I should churn one out!” Whenever you write a blog post, it should add value to your website. Plan what you’re going to write about and set goals. Try and write at least one blog post every month. The longer the post, the better, but it should be an absolute minimum of 300 words. Also, don’t think about using specific keywords for the search engines – just write about the topic and you will naturally use the appropriate keywords.
Develop your blogging style
You might not think this about yourself, but everyone has a style of writing. The more you write, the better you’re going to get at it, and the more naturally your style will evolve. Let your blog reflect the human face of your company. Give it some personality and try to keep the sales pitch to a minimum.
Comments are blogging gold, but you might find when you’re first starting out, the only comments you get are spam. If you’re using WordPress (you should be!) just install the Akismet plugin to clear up the spam and focus on writing. Comments will come eventually. Think about it – how many posts do you read a day and never leave a comment? Are you going to comment on this post? As you write, your readership will grow. Encourage your readers to comment, and interact with them.
Measure your blog’s performance
If you haven’t done so already, make sure you have Google Analytics installed to measure your website’s performance. It’s totally free and literally takes minutes to install. Over time, as you write more posts, you will get a clearer picture of how people are finding your blog and, more importantly, which of your posts are the most popular. It helps you determine the kind of content your readers like.
There are many benefits to having a business blog. If you don’t have one already and would like some help to set one up, just get in touch with the team here at SBIM. If you already have a business blog, we’d love to hear how it’s been working out for you – leave a comment below and don’t forget to link to it so we can have a read.
With these tips, you should well on your way to using business blogging to promote your business.