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Does your business really need a blog? Five hard-to-ignore benefits of content marketing

building the case for business blogs“Ugh.”

That’s the actual noise many business owners make when I bring up blogging. And I get it. Committing to a content strategy can seem like a very unappealing task if you feel like you’ve already got enough items weighing down your to-do list. And if writing just isn’t your bag, you’re probably even less excited by the prospect.

But as a business coach, I’ve got to bust through those objections, because I’ve seen the benefits of consistent blogging play out again and again for my clients. By regularly showing up online, this one relatively low-cost marketing activity can have a significant positive impact on your business’ growth.  In fact, according to HubSpot’s 2018 State of Inbound Survey, businesses who blog generate 67% more leads than those who don’t.

Hence this blogging series: for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to take you through everything you need to know to get your business blog off the ground (and off that “maybe later” pile) in 2020.

But, just in case you still need some convincing, I’m going to do as Simon Sinek says and start with why.

Building the case for business blogs

My business advice to blog-shy clients is to consider the following benefits before they write off (pardon the pun) the idea of committing to publishing regular blog content:

 

One: Blogging brings some sweet SEO benefits

Google rewards fresh content. So, unless you plan on updating your website copy on a regular basis (not something I would advise), blogging is the way to go. Blogs are also prime real estate for adding keywords and relevant search terms and generally driving traffic to your website.

A quick word of warning: do not approach blogging as a keyword-stuffing exercise. If your posts are unreadable to humans, they will leave your site pretty quickly, which defeats the purpose. In the next post we’ll go over how to choose your keywords and where to place them for SEO purposes.

 


Two: Blogging helps position you as an authority in your industry

Publishing a regular blog on topics related to your business is a great way to show off your expertise. You may not think yourself an expert in anything, but remember that what seems ordinary to you will seem like magic to someone else.

This public knowledge-sharing helps build that all-important trust and rapport with potential customers. In fact, done well, blogging can also help educate them about your products and services, overcome some common objections, answering some FAQs… suddenly your blog is sounding a lot like a customer service rep. It’s doing a little of that sales heavy lifting for you.

 


Three: Blogging helps develop your relationships with your customers (both new and existing)

You can really bring things down to a more personal level in your blog. Don’t worry – I’m not suggesting you post about your dog or what you ate for breakfast. It’s more that your blog posts call for a more casual tone, so you can be a bit conversational in your communication style.  It’s an opportunity to tell some of your business’ stories, share a little bit of your company culture and add a lot more personality to your website.

Why is this important? People buy people. If customers can relate to something you’ve written about in your blog post, you are connecting with them on a human to human level. It’s a good example of that all-important rapport building (ie non-selling) strategy we keep banging our drum about.

 


Four: Blogging provides customer insight for optimisation

Once you have a bank of blogs, looking at your stats can give you a lot of clues about what matters to your customers. If you can identity patterns around what has really resonated with your readers, you can re-focus your content efforts both in your blog and on other content platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram etc). You can also see what keywords are driving the most relevant traffic to your website – info you can use to optimise content on your main website, blog and social posts.

 


Five: Blogs are content you can re-purpose elsewhere

One of the biggest blogging benefits is building a bank of content that you can cut up and re-recycle. Need inspiration for a LinkedIn post? Check out which of your past blogs have had good engagement and refresh it into an article (this tactic also works in reverse!). Take a key quote from your blog and create a meme to post on Instagram. Record a quick Facebook Live or IGTV video of yourself speaking on the topic you covered in a popular post. Basically, blogs form a solid foundation for your content strategy that you can sky-scraper upon.

 

What should a business blog about?

A lot of business owners worry that they can’t think of topics that haven’t already been covered. The truth is, if you can think of a topic, you can bet there’s already a blog on it somewhere in cyberspace. Being the first to plant your flag is not the point. With blogs, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it that matters. By injecting your unique perspective and personality into your post, what you’re giving people is a taste of what you are like to do business with. As Dr Suess says, “There’s no one you-er than you”.


How do you come up with blog topics?

There are a couple of things to consider when choosing what topics to blog about. The first thing to do is make a list of topics that might interest potential and existing customers; what information are they looking for? The second thing to think about (which is closely tied to the first point) is what keywords are your customers likely to be typing into Google when looking for businesses like yours? Finding the sweet spot where these two things meet should help you come up with a suite of high-level topics to get started.

The next step is thinking about a new way to present that information (but more on the various formats and structures in the next instalment of this blogging series).


How often should I post?

Back in the dark ages of blogging (around 2008), people would advise posting as much as possible – even multiple times a day. Fortunately, that’s no longer considered best practice. In fact, while it’s a good idea to post regularly (and consistently), as a business advisor, I mentor business owners that it’s very much a matter of quality over quantity.

You’d be far better off posting one great blog per month than seven bad blogs a week. While posting once per week seems to get the best results, you’ve also got to be realistic about what you can commit to. If blogging becomes a burden, then you’re not going to keep it up.

Bottom line: If you are regularly posting content that is informative, entertaining and valuable to your readers, you’re golden.

 

With blogging, you reap what you sow

As a business coach, I’m always surprised at how many business owners haven’t jumped on the blogging bandwagon, especially considering the benefits listed above. It’s one of the simplest, least expensive and most effective marketing activities out there. While you have to be prepared for the fact that it’s a long-game strategy (it may take 6 months or more to see the payoff) a good blog will definitely be a key ingredient in the mix of strategies that will help you take your business to the next level.

Next time: we’ll dive in to planning and writing a blog that both Google and humans will love to read.

 

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