Have you ever wondered, "Should my business have a blog?", "Why are blogs so powerful?", or "Will a blog really help my website?" The truth of the matter is, blogs have become an integral part of the marketing landscape.
But I don't read blogs?! Actually, you're wrong. Here's why...
The term "blog" nowadays is more of a concept or structure rather than a thing in itself. Have you ever read the news online? Chances are if you have, you've just read a blog. Most of the news content online today models the core concept of blogging. Have you ever sought out advice for dealing with the challenge of asking for a raise? Or handling problematic colleague relationships? Yup. Those were blogs too. Whether they are called blogs, news websites, corporate forums, or many of the other supposedly distinctive names, consumers have grown to accept one underlying system of the communication of information online - that of the blog - a concept of structure abstract from reputation.
Should my website have a blog?
Building a blog into your company website is like eating a healthy balanced diet - there are numerous benefits. Just as a proper diet promotes a wide range of healthy side-affects for your body (healthy weight, metabolism, brain function, memory, etc), blogging promotes a wide range of healthy side-affects for your website and for the marketing of your business. Like anything that is good for you, there will always be a percentage of the marketing world that decides not to adopt the practice. This means that for those who do manage to incorporate a blog into their marketing, the effects are just that much greater. There are 4 powerful reasons why your business should have a blog.
1. Blogging Creates Content
One of the largest hurdles a company has to face in marketing is creating a brand story. You cannot show up to marketing with nothing to say, because your customers expect you to tell them your brand story. Your brand story is central to all of your marketing efforts because the brand story is what your customers need to engage with to believe in your brand and to make your brand a part of their daily lives.
Blogging in its very nature requires you to create content. This very process in itself empowers you to consider a few key important concepts. What can my business offer others? You'll likely find that your business employs many subject-matter experts that have knowledge others are looking for! What do my customers need to know about my business? Blogging forces you to consider what the message needs to be in order for customers to adopt your business. What does my company do that makes it remarkable? Businesses that are simply unremarkable fail to capture the attention of consumers, so why should consumers care to become customers of your business? Why is your business important?
The content created by developing a blog has many uses outside of the blog as well. Blog content can be promoted on social media, can be used in news articles, shared through email or as part of a newsletter. Starting a business means nothing if no one knows your business exists, and marketing a blog is a great way to create content that helps you to let your target market know that you're open for business. A lot of marketers seem to be plagued with the idea that if they are not writers, they are not bloggers.
But that's simply not true...
Any business that has a social media presence, has a need for blogging. If your company writes regular social media posts, then you are essentially blogging, just on a social network instead of your own website. This benefits social media platforms much more than it benefits your business because the time your customers spend reading or otherwise engaging in your content on social media works to their benefit through their own monetization structure.
Having a blog on your own website that is subsequently promoted through social media balances the scale of benefits at least back to even, if not to your company's favour. Consumers that choose to engage with your full blog post on your website are much more likely to engage with other content on your website increasing your rate of conversion. If a consumer only has the option of engaging with content on social media, they have many more distractions coming from other businesses and organizations clamouring for their attention and their intent to purchase.
It's not all bad though...
The reality of social media is that it is here to stay, and that's not necessarily such a bad thing. Social Media is a powerful tool in any marketer's toolbelt, and has the ability to drive traffic to your website, not to mention the clear ability to engage directly with customers when they communicate both positive and negative experiences with your brand. A usual marketing funnel consists of three steps:
- Attract consumer attention
- Engage the consumer in your brand story/message
- Ask for the sale
2. Blogging Reinforces Good Business Decisions
No matter what business you're in, blogging promotes and reinforces good business behaviour and decision-making. If your business truly has nothing to talk about, then your business is unremarkable, and that will be the reason why your business ultimately fails. Conversely, if your business is regularly releasing new products or services to the market, engaging in and announcing new business clients, deals, and partnerships, promoting corporate social responsibility, positive values, and community service, or simply leading technological advancements pushing the limits of the market to new heights and scientific achievements, your company certainly has a lot to talk about.
When it comes to business, you cannot sit on the sidelines and be content in your own shy demeanor. Successful business demands that you make your voice heard. No one will know of your good deeds if you don't share them with the world. No one will develop a perceived need for your product or service if they have never heard of that product or service. There is always something to be said of the character of a person who does the right thing when no one is looking, but it does not mean that you must never share your success with the world in order to be held to that same standard of character.
Blogs by their very nature usually have a large percentage of text-based content. Search Engines derive meaning and context from analyzing and assigning reputation to this content, so it should be no surprise that the more reputable text-based content you have on your website, the higher the reputation Search Engines will assign to your website, which is commonly realized in the form of search rankings. Creating valuable content is not a quick process, but it is one that allows you to reap the benefits of increased search rankings if done well.
3. Blogging Builds Your Online Reputation
The most successful marketing tactic of the 21st century by far is the concept of offering something for free to get consumers to engage as customers in your business. With all of the marketing noise out there in the world today, consumers make thousands of subconscious calculations on a daily basis that reflect their own interpretation of which brands and companies will provide them with the most efficient return on their needs and desires. Consumers are easily swayed by the offering of options that are of no perceived cost to them, and are often eager to engage with companies on a trial basis when there are few (if any) down-sides or barriers of entry.
This is especially true of blogging.
How will customers know that the brand they are considering to place their loyalty upon is qualified enough for their patronage? The best way to demonstrate your knowledge of a given topic, is to publically offer your knowledge to others. This simple practice does not mitigate any opportunity you may have previously had to create a client relationship with a potential consumer that reads your blog posts, because more often than not, consumers either don't have the time, the patience, or the resources to execute your service offering themselves. Thus, by reading your blog posts, they have a more in-depth understanding of your company's value, and can speak to you about their project needs from a more enlightened position.
Ultimately, the majority of businesses rely on certainty for many things. Communicating your company's expertise in a given topic through blogging is an excellent way of demonstrating to potential clients that your knowledge of a topic will allow them to place a degree of certainty on the results of your business relationship. Companies will often avoid businesses with little to no demontration of their qualification to provide quality services.
When creating content, marketers are usually laser-focused on short-term results of their efforts. The great thing about blogging is that at times, up to 10% of your blog content can continually generate repeated value months and years after it's creation. Notwithstanding the obvious topic of stale content, your efforts developing a blog will have lasting long-term effects and the more content you generate for your blog, the greater the chances are that you will not only refine your brand message but will also generate content along the way that develops into long-term marketing ROI. HubSpot has a great article on the power of Compounding Blog Posts and their effects on the success of your blog.
4. Blogs Uncover Conversion Indicators
The power of a company with a blog versus a company without is largely challenging to measure, however, the benefits are hard to ignore. One of the great things about blogs, and specifically have a large exapnse of data on your website for potential customers to peruse, means that you can leverage the power of analytics to determine where your company is succeeding, and where you need to do some work. Articles that you write for your blog that garner the highest page read times will often indicate to you what topics your potential customers are interested in most, and can thereby influence corporate strategy and the decision-making over product offerings. Coversely, articles that receive the least attention on your website can also be indicators that these topics don't inspire your customers as much as others.
Being able to analyze within your own business what topics lead to the highest conversation rate can provided invaluable insight into what drives client purchasing decisions, and can make or break your company's rate of success. There are far too many examples in the business world of companies that have failed to adapt to changing marketing conditions and changing customer needs, so being able to produce a clear picture of where customer trends are headed within your own market segment means that your business has the potential to survive market fluctuation.
None of this means anything unless you have the necessary tools to develop a blog within your website, and to easily and efficiently distribute your blog content to where it needs to be online in order to get noticed by potential customers. In light of the emerging trend of offering free knowledge online to garner the attention of potential customers, there is even a widespread knowledgebase online about blogging itself. I encourage anyone who has read all the way to the bottom of this article, to continue to seek out knowledge about the power of blogging, and how it can drastically improve the online visibility of their brand.