You don’t have time. That’s a given if you are a small business owner.
And often, you don’t have the money to hire others to plan and implement a content marketing strategy.
You’re advertising as much as your budget will allow, and you have a Facebook page; you’re putting in effort on LinkedIn, and your daughter is showing you how to use Instagram and Twitter.
But a business blog? Do they even work? The quick answer is yes, they do. And, yes, they take some work.
But the benefits are well worth it. Here are five of them.
It’s hard for business owners to understand Search Engine Optimization.
Basically, it is your effort to get your website ranked well when potential customers launch a search for the product or service you offer.
You get that rank by having lots of posts on your blog, with popular search keywords, that visitors can come and read.
Traffic to your blog and, ultimately other pages on your site, is all indexed by search engines.
Think of blog posts as seeds that you throwing out for hungry birds. The more seed you throw, the more birds will come. Every post you publish is another handful of seeds for birds to find.
And the more birds who come, the more birds there are who share what you have written with others; and the more that others post links back to your blog, the more chance there is for your pages to rank for keyword searches that potential customers conduct.
The whole point of having a business is to add customers and increase profits. And current research shows that 60 percent of businesses that blog acquire more customers than those that do not.
- Use a blog platform to which you can add a plugin for SEO guidance (e.g. Yoast for WordPress). When you complete a post, it will give you an SEO “score” and provide suggestions for how to improve that score.
- Get a free keyword search tool, and find the latest and long-tail keywords that are popular.
- Use social media to promote your posts. Think of your blog as the "hub” and your social media channels as the “outposts.” Use the research already available to find out where our target audience hangs out online and use those channels to begin to build followings and relationships. Post intriguing “teasers” with links back to specific posts.
2. It Humanizes Your Company
A huge trend in business success right now is the development of relationships with current and potential customers. People want to know who you are, how you operate our business, your values, and your value to your industry niche.
It’s difficult to do all of that on a website landing page, but a blog? This is where you can develop a personality for your brand, as a place interested in helping others, as a place that can entertain and inspire, and as a place that puts relationships before sales.
People trust businesses that they get to know well.
- Publish posts that tell stories about your company, about you, and about your team. Add photos.
- Feature happy customers in some of your posts.
- If you support a charity, capture events with photos and write about those events.
- Add conversation capability to your blog and ask readers to comment and ask questions. Your job is to respond to each and every one, in order to keep those personal connections going.
3. It Supports Your Social Media Presence
When you have a blog with great stuff, you can promote it all over social media, with compelling and intriguing teasers, with photos and images, with catchy headlines.
You can drive people to your blog through your social media platforms. Every click to your blog is important for SEO and important for building your brand.
And, when you add sharing buttons, and those buttons are placed where research says is best, you increase the opportunity for readers to share your posts with their communities, more brand spreading and opportunities for SEO indexing.
- Put sharing buttons on your blog. Choose two to three that you know are popular with your target market.
- Be on your social media channels every day, promoting the content on your blog.
4. You Have Content for Email Newsletters
If you are not working on growing your email list, you should be. A blog post is a perfect place to ask for that conversion.
And, if you have written a popular post, then that is one you will send out as an email to all of your current subscribers. At the bottom of each post, you can urge readers to subscribe to your email and have all of your posts delivered to them automatically.
- Send emails regularly and put catchy titles in the subject lines so that recipients will open them.
- Use emails for more than just product promotion. Send popular posts but also fun stuff like polls, surveys, and quizzes.
- Add social media buttons to your emails so recipients can share easily.
5. Improve All Types of Conversion Rates
You want your customers, your potential customers, and your visitors to do several things.
You want them to sign up for your newsletter; you want them to share what you have written; you want them to like you enough to link to other pages on your site and learn more about your products or services; and you want them ultimately to make a purchase.
According to Hubspot, companies that maintain a blog have an overall increase in ROI, and, over time, they can experience as much as 13x increase in that ROI. If this isn’t enough to get you moving, nothing will.
- Establish a calendar for posting and stick to it. Readers come to expect new posts on a regular basis. If you neglect your blog, they will stop coming, and you will lose chances to move them over into your sales funnel.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for conversions at the end of each post, if only for a subscription to your emails or to share the post with their communities.
Blogging allows you to spread your brand, either directly or indirectly by others who visit. If visitors like what they read, they will share.
It allows you to show your expertise in your niche, and it allows you to establish trustful relationships. Best of all, other than your time, it is free content marketing and levels the playing field a bit between large and small companies.
Obviously, there is a lot to learn about setting up a blog, the details of SEO, finding the right topics, measuring traffic, promoting blog posts, and more.
Take it slowly; you don’t have to learn everything before you start your blog.
Get it up and running, learn more along the way, and reap the many benefits.