One very common question content marketers and SEO professionals hear from clients is: “Do I really need to have a blog?”
Put simply, a business blog is one sure way to overtake your competitors!
You can do it yourself or hire a professional writer, but the most important thing is that you have a blog in place and that it’s regularly updated.
Blogging was born two decades ago as a type of public online diary; today it is also a clever marketing tool that can be used to effectively increase online presence and build brands and profitability.
Blogging is critical for small and medium-sized businesses. It is an integral part of an online content marketing campaign and all premium brand development strategies. Blogging offers an enhanced opportunity to build a relationship with your target consumer base, as well as to inform and facilitate a conversation, which will ultimately translate to the growth or your business and the expansion of its reach.
Why participate in brand blogging?
- Improve your SEO results
The biggest thing that you as a business owner can do personally to improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) and overall ranking results is to have dynamic content on your website. Aside from having quality home and landing page content, your blog is the easiest way to achieve this. With a new blog article uploaded weekly, or at minimum fortnightly, your content is ever changing and evolving, and search engines love this. Make sure to include relevant keywords, categories, and topics. Not all content needs to directly sell your product or brand and there are times where a light-hearted or simply interesting article can be the best option.
- Drive traffic to your website
A blog is an effective and simple tool for creating relevant website content for your consumer base, and should be perceived as an important marketing tool that will ultimately drive online traffic back to your website when promoted effectively. You can use links within each article to drive traffic to your landing pages and other internal pages on your website, plus backlinks from social media platforms to your website.
- Add value to your website
What’s new in your industry? What is happening in your business? What are you customers asking you? What do you have an opinion on? What do you want people to know?
Your blog can talk about absolutely anything relevant to your business or industry, and thinking outside the box and offering an array of different blog topics and types keeps your site fresh and appealing for readers to revisit. Make sure your content is accurate and do your research where necessary. Include a range of product/service showcase articles, news articles and snippets of general interest.
- Develop enhanced consumer relationships and generate leads
By regularly contributing to a blog, you give you deeper connections with your customer base. Clients will discover your brand and business directly on your website, but your blog posts offer a more personalised platform for understanding who you are, what you offer and why they should get it from you as opposed to a competitor. By offering information that is both interesting and informative, your blog gives another way to build trust with your consumers. Additionally, a blog is simply a way to open a two-way conversation with your customer base and unlike other forms of social media, blog content is searchable within search engines.
- Position your brand as a leader in your industry
Providing well-written, informative and interesting blog articles on your website is a sure-fire way to demonstrate that you and your brand are industry leaders. Your blog shows your knowledge and expertise, and these are important qualities for marketing purposes. When you can show you are a well-positioned expert in your field, this will build trust in the product or service you are providing, make you more “human” and help showcase you and your business to the world.
Where do I start when it comes to blogging?
For those who have not blogged before, it may seem like an overwhelming prospect. It is, however, considerably easier than you might suspect.
Determine what categories can be applied to your brand and create a list of topics that can be broadly applied to those categories. Most readers respond well to short and concise posts that are of general interest within your industry or that answer a specific question. Look online at similar websites for topic ideas and inspiration, but remember that your own content must be written 100 per cent uniquely. Whenever you have an idea, write it down! The most important thing is to make your blog something that has appeal and will encourage engagement.
The optimal way to utilise your blog is to house it on your business website, updating content no less than once every two weeks. Content should be of 350-500 words length at a minimum and consider the length of articles and how they will appeal to readers.
For example, while some blog articles can be lengthy, the average reader will lose interest with a long article, and as a general rule, 500 words works very well for SEO purposes while retaining reader interest. Additionally, longer blog posts are not particularly conducive to reading on mobile devices, so consider this when writing each piece for publication. Of course, this “rule” is not set in stone and if you have a lot to say, by all means go ahead and publish a longer article.
Ensure that every blog article you post has been proofread for spelling, grammatical and content errors. Be sure to reference any direct quotes and images you share from other sources.
Be sure to link each blog post on your website to your social media pages, particularly Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. This will not only attract a wider audience base to your business site, but also encourage likes and shares if your content appeals to readers. Every like and share exponentially increases that post’s reach and the sky becomes the limit as to lead generation via social sharing of your brand.
Remember to include appropriate visuals to add appeal and, finally, post internal links to relevant pages on your website within your blog to drive traffic to the landing pages on your site.
The rewards of brand blogging for small and medium business owners speak for themselves:
- Create an intimate relationship with your customer base
- Boost your business’s credibility
- Enhance search engine rankings for higher online visibility
- Regular readership, which equals returning consumers to your website
- Additional portal for attracting new customers
- Bridging gap between your business and your target audience
- Build trust and a reputation as an industry expert
- Create a unique identity to stand out from the crowd
- Attract sponsors and advertisers
- Convert traffic to leads
- Engage with consumers via comments and feedback
Brand blogging is one of the easiest (and most enjoyable) ways to build and showcase your brand, and as such is one of the most effective brand development strategies. Brand development is entirely concerned with increasing the reputation of your business.
Blogging on a regular basis represents an enormous opportunity for growth, creating a more powerful and far-reaching online presence. There is no better or simpler way to add content to your website that is unique, relevant and of interest to your target audience.
It is also one of the most effective ways to increase and maintain search engine rankings on a continuous basis. A blog shared to a social media page, along with news and special offers, interesting social posts and memes that can be applied to your business, gives your followers even more reason to click through to your business website and click-throughs frequently translate to successful sales – isn’t that what being in business is all about?
Learn more about the social media trends in 2016 and get ahead of the pack.
There’s plenty of information on all social media platforms on this blog, so feel free to take a look around.
If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, you can post your blogs there too, we’ve got a free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of the platform for your business.