10 reasons your business needs a really great blog
Maintaining a really great blog for your brand requires a certain level of commitment.
You need to put the time and resources in to ensure that you regularly publish new content. You also need a clearly-defined strategy to keep your blog closely aligned with your business priorities. And you need to actively promote your blog so that more of the right people see it.
Blogging is nothing new, but while most businesses have a blog they could, in almost all cases, be getting a lot more value from it. As a leading content provider with our own blog API we have an obvious interest in promoting blogging as a marketing tactic.
But as well as creating and maintaining blogs for our customers, we also use our own blog to drive more organic traffic to our website, introduce our brand to new audiences and generate leads.
If you’re thinking about investing in your blog, or if you’re trying to convince your boss that blogging needs more budget, here are our 10 reasons why every business should be blogging…
1) Connecting with new audiences
One of the strongest arguments for running a full-scale blogging strategy is that it is a great way to reach new audiences – people who are not yet familiar with your brand, but once introduced have the potential to become customers.
Blogging around the topics that are relevant to what you do and what your potential customers care about extends your website’s keyword footprint well beyond your specific products and services. A blog can help you tap new markets that your competitors are not yet targeting and make sure your brand is already familiar when potential customers need what you sell.
2) Nurturing binge customers
Any successful marketing campaign needs to target the right people and while most brands have a decent grasp on the type of people or businesses that will buy from them, understanding which customers are delivering the most valuable is less of given.
For many businesses, customers that spend a lot in a short period, followed by a much longer period of spending nothing at all, can often have the biggest positive impact on the bottom line. These “binge consumers” need to be nurtured during their spending splurges and a regularly-updated blog, promoted through search, social media and email, is the perfect way to do that.
3) Influencing what people think of your brand
Regardless of what industry your business is in people who you care about – customers, employees, investors, other stakeholders – will make judgements about you based on your online presence, particularly your website.
You don’t have to be an e-commerce business or even use your site to generate leads. If someone wants to know more about your business they can pull out their smartphone and Google you whenever they like. What they see next is largely up to you. If there are topics you want your brand to be associated with, regularly blogging about those topics in an interesting and engaging way is a great way to do that.
4) Building trust with your audience
Trust is crucial in any relationship and that’s particularly true of the relationship between vendor and customer. If you can build trust with your target audience you have a much better chance of selling to them.
Your blog is the ideal platform for you to talk about what it is that makes your business unique. You can provide helpful, useful information about the topics you care about and that your audience cares about. You can share success stories. The trust that this builds helps guide people down the purchase funnel.
5) Getting people in the mood to convert
Blogging is often about the long-game: making connections and building relationships that can turn into sales further down the line. But blogs can also deliver quick wins. From an impulse purchase to downloading a whitepaper, a blog that is properly optimised for conversion can provide regular sales and leads for your business.
Getting your blog to convert is a topic for another post, but one of the great opportunities that blogging presents is the chance to control the mood of your audience. Research has shown a strong link between how people feel and how likely they are to convert. When you control both the editorial content and commercial messaging – like you do on your blog – you can stack the odds in your favour.
6) Diluting your sales pitch
If your website is there to sell your products or generate leads for your sales team there’s always a tricky balance to strike. You don’t want to miss opportunities, but you also don’t want to come on too strong. The online equivalent of a sweaty sales rep on the last day of the quarter is not something many brands aspire to.
Your blog can be an excellent way to offset the more sales-focused pages on your site. That doesn’t mean you can’t blog about the services you provide or promote relevant products next to your posts. But it does mean some of your blog content needs to be created not to sell, but to add value to your audience.
7) Giving people more of what they want
Other parts of your website will of course add great value from explaining how your products work to introducing key members of your team. But some of the things people really want from your business are best served by an actively-maintained blog.
Take news stories for example. Despite the financial woes of the newspaper industry, appetite for news is as strong as ever. Whatever niche you operate in, there are news stories that relate to what you do and that your potential customers care about. Blogging about those stories is a great way to hook people in from search and from social media.
8) Keeping visitors on your site for longer
Once you’ve got someone on your site – whether they’ve Googled you, found you on Facebook or clicked on a link in one of your emails – the trick is to keep them there. The longer someone spends on your site and the more pages they visit, the greater the chance that they will click on one of your conversion opportunities.
A good tagging system on your blog will allow you to display links to relevant posts not just on the blog itself but also around your site. This is an excellent way to retain your website visitors. If you can show them another link that interests them, you have a great chance of maintaining their interest for a little bit longer.
9) Tapping the demand for quality content
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that Google – the only search engine anyone in this part of the world uses – has spent a fair amount of time and energy over the past four years trying to figure out how to judge the quality of website content.
Significant gains have been made since the first Panda Update in 2011 with Google adding, tweaking and prioritising more and more quality signals. As a result, there is an increasingly strong correlation between user engagement metrics like page views, time on site, bounce rate etc and organic search results.
Using your blog to champion longer, richer editorial content or posts that feature beautiful photos, clever graphics and custom video will not only add value for your audience, it will also boost your website’s search performance.
10) Preparing for the future of search
They say the future’s not what it used to be and it’s certainly true that predicting what the world will look like in 5 or 10 years has rarely been more difficult, given the speed with which new technology affects all aspects of our lives. So take any prophesies about the future of search with a big pinch of salt.
However, there was a really interesting story doing the rounds earlier this year about Google using its vast haul of data to measure the accuracy of website content. The idea is that articles containing a higher proportion of verifiable, correct information will do better in search.
If the content on your blog is based on real information – news stories, surveys, industry studies, scientific research, expert comment – rather than lightweight fluff, then you’re putting yourself in a strong position to benefit should search move in this direction. If it doesn’t, you can bet your audience will appreciate it regardless.