As we speak to clients about their marketing needs, we talk a lot about content creation, and in particular, blogging. During many of these conversations, the same questions keep coming up… “But why do I need to blog? How do I blog? And when will I find the time to blog?”
Now don’t get us wrong. We get it. We’re small business owners too. It’s tough, and you’re already busy enough doing what you do best right? So why should you commit your precious time to writing stories, when you aren’t even a writer? And what’s the point? What does this blogging stuff do to help grow your business anyway?
So, this is Part 1 in our series of posts on blogging, and it aims to help you, with answers to the “why” of blogging. And in Part 2 we’ll help you with the “how”.
PART 1: Why blog?
These days, we do business in a world that is dominated by search engines, and where the customer is in control of their search for products and services. So, we need to make sure we are playing the game, and allowing our products and services to be found.
An inbound digital marketing strategy is the best way to drive traffic to your website, convert that traffic into leads, and nurture those leads into sales. And blogging plays an important part in this process.
So how does blogging help? Well, your blog is a place that can attract your customers, feed them information, and position your value. But specifically, here’s how blogging helps your business:
1) Blogs drive traffic to your website
Blogging drives traffic to your website and allows people to find your products or services. And we all want that, right?
Blogging can attract prospective customers to your site because they are actually looking for the solutions you can provide. Your blog should offer relevant information that people want to consume, such as answers to the questions they have, and solutions to their problems. The sort of questions and problems they are typing into search engines.
In addition, Google loves websites that have lots of relevant content, and websites that are continually refreshed with new, user-friendly searchable content. But how often do you add new pages, or update the current web pages? Probably not often, right? That’s where blogging comes in. Every time you write a blog post, it's one more page on your website for Google to index, which means it's one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines, and drive traffic to your website in organic search.
Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you can share it on social media, which can help create more awareness of your business, and help set you up as an authority in your area of expertise. Blogs are also great to share on social channels as they are a way to keep your social content fresh. It can be tough to constantly come up with things to post about that are relevant and meaningful to your audience, so blog posts give you something additional to share on your channels.
2) Converting that traffic into leads.
So, your blogging is driving increased traffic to your website. Great! But now you want to make sure you are generating leads from that traffic and each new blog post gives you the opportunity to do just this. How you ask?
Simple. Add a lead-generating call-to-action to each blog post. This should be something you give for free, such as an ebook, whitepaper, case-study, webinar, free trial…something that provides valuable, helpful content to someone, in exchange for their contact details.
Here’s an example of how this might work for, say…a real estate agency looking to generate leads for new sales listings:
- Prospective vendor comes to a blog post about local property market growth rates on the real estate agency website
- Prospective vendor sees call-to-action button for a free Property Listing Kit
- Prospective vendor clicks call-to-action and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
- Prospective vendor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free Property Listing Kit as a PDF download.
- The real estate agency receives the lead with contact details into it’s CRM, and the sales team can contact the lead to nurture them to the point of sale
Does every blog reader become a lead? Of course not. It’s not realistic to think that you could convert 100% of blog traffic into leads – no one can do that. But it certainly does convert a lot more than a website with no blog, or call-to-action. The trick is to just get blogging, add calls-to-action, monitor, and aim to continually improve your visitor-to-lead conversion rate. To put it simply, your blog is really just helping solve your customers problems by sharing your expertise and knowledge.
3) It establishes you as the authority in your area of expertise.
You’re not just in business to be your own boss. It’s also because you’re an expert at what you do, right? So a blog gives you a platform to establish yourself as an authority, and share what you know in a helpful, valuable way.
Good business bloggers know that giving a bit away for free is likely to lead to the development of a following of potential customers. They consistently create content that's helpful for their target customer, like answering common questions their leads and customers ask. This establishes them as an authority in their customer’s eyes. This is a particularly handy tool for you if you are a Sales or Service professional. Even if customers aren’t ready to buy now, your brand will be top of mind for them when they are, and they are likely to share your site with others who are ready to buy now.
4) It drives long-term results.
When you publish a blog post, it will get some views, and possibly generate a few leads initially. As the days and weeks go by this engagement may increase (especially if you are sharing the post across various platforms), but then will likely slow down.
However, it is still working for you.
Your blog post is now ranking in search engines, so for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while it may seem like it is a one-time engagement thing, it is in fact driving traffic to your site, and playing a key part of your ongoing lead-generation strategy, while you’ve moved on to the next thing!
If you're looking to start a blog on your website, or get more investment for one you've already started, the reasons above are a great place to start arguing your case. Check out part 2 in our series on Blogging, The “How to” of blogging for business.