Blogging has been around for many years now, and just like Facebook and Coca-Cola, it has become part of our national culture.
If you have a business, you might be wondering if a business blog is worth the time, effort, and expense. Do businesses actually generate leads from a blog? Are blog posts read by customers and potential customers? Is there a formula for a successful blog?
It’s true that blogging may not be the best choice for all businesses, but it can be a powerful force to draw people to your website and keep them there. Let’s ask a few questions to help you decide whether a blog is the right marketing tool for you.
Is Your Market Competitive?
Here in Utah, we like to joke that there is a dentist on every corner. It’s a competitive business in this area, and one that only markets locally. (After all, who needs a dentist that is located across the country?)
Search is a zero-sum game. In other words, if you are up, your competitor is down. For crowded markets, a company blog can be a big boost to SEO efforts.
How, you might ask?
- Fresh content: Google loves to see that your site is constantly being maintained and updated, and not just sitting around stagnant. A business blog is one of the simplest ways to keep your site up-to-date.
- Keyword usage: Lots of blog posts means lots of ways to use your company’s most important long-tail and short-tail keywords in titles and content. This gives you more opportunity to rank for search phrases related to your business.
- Reduce bounce rate: With something interesting to read, searchers will come to your site more often and stay longer. This results in Google believing that your site is a valuable one, and they reward you with higher overall rankings.
- Backlinks: Links are the lifeblood of a successful website, and are often considered the most important component of SEO. While most people won’t link directly to a salesy website or e-commerce store, they often will link to an interesting or informative blog post. It’s up to you to lead blog readers to the products or services that will bring in revenue.
- Creating interest: The addition of images, videos and infographics can help keep visitors interested, promote sharing, not to mention providing a valuable place to include SEO information.
If your particular business niche is a popular one, adding a blog to your domain can create value your competition may not have. By anticipating customer questions and answering them in an organized and informative blog post, you create trust with your readers. In turn, readers are more likely to spend their money with you than with a competitor.
Is Your Business Interesting?
It’s definitely possible to create a well-done and interesting blog for a boring industry, but it’s much easier, and generally more effective, to make one for an interesting industry. Businesses involved in travel, recreation, or hobbies, for example, tend to attract a high number of viewers.
Think about it, when you are planning to travel, you want to see photos of the places you are going, read reviews of hotels and restaurants, and hear stories of other travelers adventures to get you excited. You might read articles to find which attractions to see, or which time of year is the best for travel in that area.
Hobby-related industries are a real no-brainer for blogging. Hobbyists love to talk about their interests, read about them, and get ideas from other enthusiasts. With these types of businesses, it is useful to build a community through social media and blogging which attracts readers and loyal fans, and gives customers a platform to discuss ideas and ask questions.
To make interesting businesses into fascinating blogs, be sure to include lots of images or videos!
Images spark the imagination, give clarity to written words, and can be a starting point for a topic discussion. Invest in quality custom photos that will be unique to your site.
Are You a Craftsman?
Websites tend to be quite general, and aren’t always well-equipped to show all types of work a company does. A blog, on the other hand, can showcase individual projects and encourage prospective customers to choose you.
If you have a craft-related business, especially one in which every project is different, a blog is a great choice. These include glass contractors, home remodeling companies, custom jewelry makers, and interior designers.
Think about your blog as you are working on these projects. Keep notes on the project highlights and challenges, and take lots of quality photos. These types of industries lend themselves well to before-and-after blog posts. People love to see dramatic transformations!
And more importantly, dramatic transformations sell your work! A blog like this can become your best salesman.
Is Your Industry Confusing?
Let’s face it, some industries (like SEO!) are just confusing to most people. If you have ever struggled to explain what you do, then your website could probably benefit from an educational blog.
Teaching is one of the main benefits of blogging. Assuming your audience is customers and potential customers, a blog is a very useful platform for grabbing attention and educating. This is especially useful if your business has a long sales cycle, or markets to other businesses. B2B sales tend to be more time consuming, with decisions made in committee, and good educational material can be an invaluable component of a sale.
Check out how some big brands are using a blog to educate their customers.
To make this technique work well, brainstorm some common questions you get asked, or components of your business you find yourself explaining frequently. Now create some long, informative, well-written blog posts about each one. Make sure they are easy to find so anyone searching for this information will land on your website and stay there.
Another benefit of educational blogging is that it helps you be seen as an industry leader, and creates trust with prospects. The more time people spend on your website, the more familiar they should become with your business and philosophy. The more familiar they are with you, the more they will trust you and the more likely they are to spend their money with you.
This is especially helpful when people are searching for experts, such as a doctor, financial advisor, or automotive technician.
In this sense, a blog can become an indirect salesman, and often a very effective one.
Do You Have Repeat Customers?
Some industries, roofing for example, have very few repeat customers. People buy a roof and expect to not buy another one for 30 years. Others, like dance schools, provide ongoing daily or monthly services with just one sale.
But many companies rely on repeat business. E-commerce stores hope their customers will come back to purchase more. Dog trainers hope their customers will bring future pets to them. Landscape companies hope you will continue to use their maintenance services year after year.
For these types of industries, blogging can be very effective at developing customer loyalty.
If your focus is on customer retention, treat your customers like friends! Feature them in posts, talk about what they want to talk about, and give them more than they expect.
When Blogging Isn’t Right
It’s true, a company blog is not the best choice for every business. Here are a few reasons why you might consider skipping blogging, or putting it off until a later date:
- Some companies will have more success by pouring their resources into other marketing streams, like PPC ads or face-to-face marketing through conventions.
- If you don’t have time or money to spend building a blog, you might want to use those resources on more direct methods of marketing.
- If you are not interested in providing information, or have very little to say, blogging may not be the right platform for you. If every blog post is a sales pitch, or you find yourself repeating information or topics frequently, it might be time to retire your blog.
Should You Hire a Pro?
While you may not have the time, interest, or expertise to create a quality blog, it doesn’t mean you can’t have one! Hiring a professional marketing company to run your blog could be well worth the investment.
Our professional writers have the expertise to not only make the blog posts interesting to read and informative, but also to make them seo-friendly with good keyword usage. Good writing makes you look intelligent and professional.
Our social media experts can take these blog posts and promote them across several social platforms. We can even put a small budget behind these to boost their performance on Facebook. This brings you more social fans and more website traffic.
Our content directors make it their job to stick to a timeline to keep your blog updated regularly with fresh information. This way your blog never gets stale or old. We also include quality images to make your site look professional.
We take the responsibility and worry, so you don’t have to! Your blog can be constantly updated without any work on your part.
At Be Locally SEO, we are dedicated to creating high quality blogs for our clients. If you’ve ever considered adding a company blog to your marketing package, contact us. This might be the perfect time to get one started!