Should your business start a blog? Blogging for business is no longer an option.
About a month ago, I was chatting with a prospective client. They had just paid $4,500 for a beautiful new website. They were jazzed for about 3-months. They soon realized that the website was not being visited. There was no revenue coming from the website. The return on investment was $0.
If you are like thousands of small businesses that overpaid for your website and are not seeing any benefit to your business, you are not alone. Your small business is not seeing the benefits because you are not blogging for business. Blogging for business is the single most important thing you can do as a business owner to get results out of your new marketing asset.
5 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.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
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.
Create a blog that does not suck. Blogging for business is essential in today’s business environment and will complete a marketing strategy. If you are not blogging to generate leads, your competition is taking market share. I mean business is hard enough, don’t let blogging keep you back from generating leads and growing your revenue.
Question: Does your business have a blog? If not when are you going to start? If so, leave a link in the comments so we can all connect.