What’s your understanding of blogging? If you have an image in your head of a stay-at-home mom in a coffee shop busily tapping away on a laptop updating her “day in the life of me” blog, with one child in school and a baby dozing in the stroller, then you’re living in the past.
Blogging has evolved into almost a necessity for online businesses and is fast becoming a norm, being useful from both personal and business points of view.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which blogging can help your online business:
It’s very easy to market yourself as a marketing expert or agency (just to pick on a couple of examples). By attending networking events, making sure your social media profiles are relevant, and keeping in regular contact with your connections, people are going to know who you are.
But by starting a blog—even if you’re a small one-man-band or are part of a larger organization—you are spreading the tendrils of your knowledge across the online world. Not only that, but you’re also tapping into offline marketing with the power of personal recommendation and word of mouth.
By having such a powerful online presence—aided through blogging—you’re cementing your authority in your chosen field. Having a regular schedule for updating your blog and keeping the content relevant to your niche, you are automatically adding more value to the market and are also likely to generate greater volumes of traffic to your site.
A by-product of having a well-written blog is that it will generate you traffic and is therefore likely to improve business sales.
Aside from the usual SEO requirements and recommendations, which most of us know seems to be ever-changing, something that is commonly ignored or isn’t that well-known is topical relevance.
For example, say you are a B2B marketing expert and your website is set up as such; and Google knows that you are in the business of B2B marketing i.e. you’re ranking for this niche and the content on your site is relevant to this field—you’ve updated your blog posts with excellent, valuable, and informational content within this sphere.
You then decide to diversify a little bit into something more specific and relevant such as “marketing to startups.” If some of the content on your website isn’t yet already relevant to startups, then this fresh content isn’t going to improve your ranking too much. This is known as topical relevance—while your new content on startups is relevant to B2B marketing, there’s a weak link between your new and old content.
And so, you therefore need to establish a connection between the startup content and your general B2B marketing content. The seemingly perfect way to do this is to create internal links between your posts, tying them into each other and strengthening the internal bonds of your site. What this will then do is increase your authority (see point 1 above) and solidify your search engine ranking and traffic.
The same applies to your locality. Say you are B2B marketing expert in New York City and you’re looking to rank for “marketing in New York City.” If none of your content mentions “New York City,” Google doesn’t know that you’re an expert in that locality. So although you might be established as a B2B marketing expert, nobody knows that you are an authority in New York City.
A great way to alleviate this is to create valuable content about the B2B marketing industry and related events that are occurring—or generally occur—in New York City.
The written word is very powerful (if used correctly) in selling yourself and getting your personality across to a wider audience. Without a blog, your online business is reliant on on-page SEO sales letters, search engine traffic, backlinks, and offline marketing.
Blogging can bracket the above online SEO tactics and, coupled with the use of social media, can really help to express your personality.
There’s no harm in adding a personal touch to your business blog by dropping in information about your personal life. After all, people are more likely to buy into you as a person, your morals, and your reason for running your online business than any other reason.
Not only does blogging humanize your business, but it also establishes and—over time— builds brand loyalty. By updating a blog consistently with relevant and topical content (remember to do your keyword research), you’re communicating to current and new clients that you care about your business, your content, and your clients, and also that you are active in the business.
When you combine blogging with your social media campaigns, you can drive more targeted traffic to your website; traffic that is likely to be ready to make a buying decision and thus improve conversion rates and profit.
With this in mind, knowing your audience, clients, and conversion rates can be increased even more by ensuring that your content is topical to your audience. For example, if you’re a C-suite exec for a marketing company and one of your hobbies is organic gardening, adding in lots of gardening content to your business’ blog is completely irrelevant to your clients. It’s fine to mention that you have a passion for a hobby at some point, but don’t create content on it—you’ll not only confuse your clients, but you’ll also confuse Google.
Your customers will love the fact that you are open to discussions with them. They will lap it up so much that, as long as you engage in these discussions, it will improve your ROI and conversion rates.
Having a blog with the option for the public to leave comments is such a valuable way to promote this. This will allow you to gain insight as to what the market and your customers are thinking and feeling, and will also help you to master an understanding of their buying triggers.
It also shows that you care about your customers, and will aid you in tweaking your website’s content to make it more relevant and current. Not only will the market like this but Google will also look favorably on you for posting content that is current and that contains keywords that are trending.
A great way to do this is to actively ask your followers to engage with you—ask questions at the end of your blog post, link to your “contact us” page, and be transparent with email addresses and telephone numbers. Couple these tactics with your social media marketing and you have a very powerful combination.
There aren’t really any downsides to blogging. An initial negative reaction is sometimes that it’s time consuming, however, studies have shown that businesses that place an emphasis on blogging tend to be much more profitable.
With this in mind, you can always outsource your blogging content or employ a freelancer to take this off your hands. Either way, if blogging is something you haven’t yet thought about then our recommendation is that it shoots up your priority list.