Let's hop on a virtual time machine and go back 20 years ago. If people asked me back then about the effectiveness of blogging for business, I'd probably duck and walk away.
I wouldn't have known the answer. The benefits of blogging were pretty vague when the internet started to take off in the late 90's.
Blogs were initially used to express and share thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experiences of people with others with minimal or even ZERO following. Nobody really knew how to combine business and blogging to improve customer engagement, attract new customers, and grow revenue.
In other words, the benefits of blogging for business were HUGE QUESTION MARKS!
Today, that has completely changed! The benefits of blogging for business are numerous.
The ultimate reason why we blog regularly is that BLOGGING IS GOOD FOR OUR BUSINESS!
So why blog in the first place? How can it benefit your marketing and business growth? How should you start your blogging journey?
Don't worry, we've got you COVERED!
I'm pretty sure that if you own a small business, blogging is probably at the bottom of your priority list (at least it is for most people). Even while reading this blog, you still may doubt how it can benefit the business.
It definitely takes some work, but blogging for business comes with heaps of awesome benefits.
Let's take a look at some of them...
Search engines like Google and Bing favor websites that consistently provide fresh content.
The easiest way to boost your ranking is by creating blog posts on a regular basis that are focused on keywords your customers and potential customers may use to find what they are looking for.
Some businesses like to publish new blog posts daily, weekly, or monthly just to maintain or improve their ranking. Remember that consistency in blog content production is key to be favored by popular search engines.
Driving traffic to a site organically (ie. without paying for it) is not easy. It takes time and patience.
Blogging is an effective and organic way to drive traffic to your website. More blog posts mean more indexed pages in search engines. Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media.
Aside from driving traffic, blogs can also convert visitors to actual leads. Isn't this one of your sales and marketing goals?
Each blog post is an opportunity to generate new leads. Want to know how to do it? Simply add a call-to-action link or button in every blog post.
The most common forms of calls to action are lead magnets like cheat sheets, checklists, white papers, and ebooks. For example, if you have a blog post on "The 10 steps to promoting a blog post" you might offer a checklist with the 10 steps on it as a lead magnet.
Building a strong business to client relationship and vice versa is a major goal for most of us. And more often than not, we don't have the right strategy and tactics to do so.
Well, start with blogging. It provides an opportunity to connect with current and potential customers. Feeding your target market with relevant and valuable blog content establishes credibility and trust that leads to long-lasting relationships.
Personally, I like our blog posts to educate and add value to our readers first and foremost. Education is far more powerful, trustworthy and relevant to visitors than hardcore selling.
Blogs allow small business owners to speak directly to their customers in an informative way. By educating, you build trust over time...and people buy from those they know, like, and trust.
When you gain people's trust and loyalty, you become an authority in their eyes. This is one of the many benefits of blogging for business.
Blogs give you the power to create influence and authority.
If you consistently create useful content, you become a go-to person for your customers because they see you as a person of authority in your field.
If you consistently post helpful and innovative blog content, then customers and potential customers will start to connect with your brand more.
Blog posts can provide insight into your company voice, what's important to you, and what type of company you really are...
and this helps people connect with your brand over time.
Blogging for business creates opportunities for link sharing inside and outside your market. Customers can easily share your blog posts via email or social media.
This sharing culture is a great example of "free marketing" that has a positive impact on ROI. You simply don't know where and when your blog posts will be shared with people who haven't been exposed to your business.
Blogging builds upon itself and once you publish a post it will always be there for someone to find and read.
When you stop paying for pay-per-click advertising your results stop immediately. No so with blogging!
With blogging, you have evergreen content that continues to grow as you publish new posts.
Each and every blog post you publish has the opportunity to rank highly in search engines for years to come!
Well, I would be lying if I said that blogging isn't an avenue for promoting your business. It is! In fact, it is a great place to promote your business.
The key is this...you are subtly promoting your business by educating and adding value to customers and potential customers.
Now that we have covered the benefits of blogging, let's talk about how to actually start a blog...
Are you convinced of the benefits of blogging? Ready to get started on your blog?
There are crucial steps you need to consider to successfully start a blog.
When you start a blog, decide what to blog about first before anything else. Think about how you can solve your customers' problems and add value to them.
Most small businesses will blog about topics related to their industry. We offer small business marketing consulting and digital marketing services, so we stick with topics related to this.
But you don't have to do this. Groove, a provider of help desk software, has a blog that covers a number of different topics. It has been very successful for their business.
Here's another example: if you own an e-commerce consulting business you might talk about things like this.
No matter what topics you decide to focus on, your blog posts should provide value to customers.
After choosing what you want to blog about, the next step is to choose the right platform.
Here are a few of the popular platforms:
With blogging for business, we recommend WordPress. It is one of the most popular website and blogging platforms out there and has the ability to meet the needs of most small businesses.
Your job as a blogger doesn't end with hitting the PUBLISH button on your chosen platform. For your blog posts to go live and be accessible to anyone, you need to get server space from a hosting company or “host.”
A web host, or web hosting service provider, provides the technologies and services needed for your blog to be viewed on the Internet.
Here are some of the best web hosting providers you might want to check out:
You might also find the articles below helpful:
Web hosting runs the gamut from inexpensive, shared hosting all the way up to dedicated, managed hosting services. You want to make sure your web host has the storage capability and performance you will need.
If you already have a website, then you can skip to the next step.
A domain name is your website name.
Picking a domain name is a crucial step for any business. It is like choosing a company name. Your domain name must immediately represent you and what you do.
Here are some useful tips for choosing a domain name according to GoDaddy.com:
If you've already got an existing website, then your blog design will probably be pretty easy because you are simply making it live on your existing site.
If you are starting from scratch and building a new website so you can blog, then you'll need to create the design for your website.
If you've got some technical ability you may choose to do this yourself, but if you are going to hire someone to do it make sure you know how to interview a potential web design company.
Now that you have successfully created your blog, it's time to start writing great content.
Of course, you will need tools to help you manage your blog!
Here are a few awesome tools that will surely make your blogging experience one for the books!
Blogging for business is a time-consuming task. It doesn't have to be difficult though!
For most small businesses, blogging is usually handled by only one or two people within the organization or outsourced. Either way, there are amazing online tools and resources that can make things easier.
Here are a few of them...
Google Analytics is an online tool that lets you analyze your audience. It provides important statistics about your blog site's overall performance. Google Analytics is easy to use and is free of charge.
Who among you spends a lot of time in affiliate marketing? Well, ThirstyAffiliates is a service that handles all your affiliate marketing tasks on your blogs. It is an affiliate link manager which allows you to easily add affiliate links, cloak links with attractive URLs, and auto-insert links for keywords.
After the Deadline brings out the best in your blog content. It double checks your grammar and spelling errors. This tool makes sure that your content is readable enough for followers and that your writing style is at its best.
Blogging for business is nothing without an effective email marketing system so you can capture visitors, turn them into leads, and nurture them into customers.
ActiveCampaign is a great email platform that also has marketing automation and CRM capabilities. We use it and really like it.
In order to add visual appeal to your written content, you will want to add images to your blog posts. The important thing you need to keep in mind with images is copyright issues.
You don't want to use someone's image unlawfully or get fined. Check out these free stock photo sites for your image needs. These sites have images you can use without infringing on someone's copyright (Note: double check the license on each image you use to make sure you can use it).
Canva is a great tool to help you create your own graphics. It allows you to create stunning graphic designs, edit photos, and more.
Canva is great for both professionals and beginners and will save you a lot of time modifying images for your blog posts.
VaultPress is a service for WordPress websites that provides data backup, restoration, site migration, and security. It does a phenomenal job of making sure your blog content is backed up, safely stored and available for use anytime.
Yoast SEO is the complete blog site optimization plugin for WordPress. What I like most about Yoast SEO is its holistic SEO package that eliminates the need to install other SEO plugins. What a lifesaver!
Edit Flow is a multi-author management plugin for your WordPress operated blog site. It allows you to add custom statuses, leave editorial feedback, view editorial calendar, and execute your content strategy.
If you need to add a table to your blog, then TablePress is the right WordPress plugin for you. It comes with advanced features like sorting columns, exporting data, and using formulas in your tables.
If you want to insert polls, surveys, and quizzes to your WordPress blog site, then Polldaddy is for you. Polldaddy makes it very simple to create polls and quickly embed them into your blog posts.
Thrive Leads is a great plugin you can use to build your email list through your blog.
You can easily create any opt-in form you might need to increase conversions from your blog readers.
There you go! Those are the awesome benefits of blogging for your small business. Remember that blogging for business, just like any other type of digital marketing, needs careful planning and proper execution.
I really hope that I have inspired you to blog for your business and to start NOW!
Now it's time to create blog post ideas, write some blog posts, and promote your blogs posts.
Let us know if you have questions by commenting below. We'd be honored if you feel this article is worthy of sharing.
Need more lead generation tips? Check out our entire Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.
Header image courtesy of Pexels.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help local service-based businesses eliminate the confusion of marketing. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. We can help.