Does your business need a blog?

Blogging for a small businesses is an essential online marketing tool, similar to email or social media marketing. But because it takes a very different form to most marketing practices, it can be hard for business owners to see benefits immediately.

With that said, there are some big advantages that many companies miss. Let’s take a look at what your business could achieve if it started blogging today.

#1: Blogging Generates Long-Term Traffic

Direct marketing, like banner advertising, only grabs the attention of people who are interested in what your company sells at a particular moment.

A prospect may only be in the market for luggage and travel accessories during the week before they go on holiday. Taking advantage of these opportunities is still important, but direct marketing is not as likely to on-going residual benefits in the future.

That’s not the case for blogging. Although blogs can be time consuming when written properly with a target audience in mind, once they are written, they generate interest long-term. During the first month of a new blog, you might receive only a few dozen hits, but as the blog becomes more established and read, the number of people visiting your website will rise.

Over time, most of your traffic will be driven by blogs written months ago. Hubspot states that more than 75 percent of their monthly blog post views were of old posts. Blog for several years, and you’ll generate a library of content that will entice potential customers for years to come.

#2: Blogging Establishes Your Company As An Authority

Your business blog should provide potential customers with relevant content that helps them solve a specific problem. Avoid dry instructions or manuals. Instead, educate your audience so that they can get the most out of your products or services. Demonstrate how your business can help them by addressing their pain points or challenges, that brought them to your blog in the first place.

You want to be both informative and helpful – somebody your customers can rely on.

But what does being authoritative actually mean? Compared to other KPIs, it hard to quantify. It’s a feeling that your prospective customers have towards you as a company. By becoming an established as a leader in your field, you will build trust with your customers. This is good news if you have something you want to sell.

Provide customers with answers to questions, educating them on how to make better product choices, and help empower them. Above all, showing your customers that you know how to meet their needs generates trust. And ultimately, that will determine whether they buy from you or not.

Your colleagues can benefit from your posts too, especially if you regularly hire new people. A mature blog provides a wealth of information for education and training purposes.

#3: Blogging Boosts Conversion Rates

Once a customer reads a blog, they become more likely to buy from you. You should, therefore, include a call-to-action right there in the blog itself, not just in the product text on your website.

The call-to-action doesn’t necessarily have to be a “buy” button. It can be anything that helps to deepen your prospect’s relationship with your company.

You could do any of the following:

    • Share a research article
    • Link to another blog post
    • Forward them to a free trial
  • Send them offers via email

At the conversion stage, variety matters.

#4: Blogging Boosts Organic Clicks

Many businesses go down the expensive route of paying search engines and social media websites to display their adverts. But blogging can offer a cheaper alternative, as well as being more useful for customers.

According to research from Hubspot, more than three-quarters of search engine users never scroll beyond the first page of search results. This is because they usually find what they want immediately and don’t need to do more digging.

Writing a practical and useful blog can be more powerful than paying for an advert to appear on the first page of results. Once your content shows up at the top of the results for a relevant keyword, traffic will arrive on your site organically.

#5: Blogging Boosts Social Engagement

Companies with the most effective marketing strategies rely on social engagement to boost their brand. Red Bull, Starbucks, and Disney are all great examples. But even small companies can begin to generate a tribe of people who are interested in what they do.

Here are some quick ideas for boosting blog engagement:

    • Understand your audience inside out so that you can help them
    • Provide links to relevant forums
    • Use comment tools like Disqus and Facebook to start lively debate and conversations
    • Provide social media handles (#hashtags) so that allow customers to share your blogs with their friends
    • Create blogs that readers will revisit (by including unique information)
  • Focus on attention-grabbing headlines which meet a need and prompt a click-through.