Blogging for Businesses: A Cost-Effective And Simple Way To Supercharge Your Marketing Efforts

By Jennifer Noble | Sep 13, 2017

Businesses, particularly smaller ones, have often heard of business blogging but don't really understand the appeal of it. They get the general idea that it draws more readers to your site, and thus potential customers, but they just don't see the benefit or feel that it's a luxury expense for more well-off companies with more name recognition.


Business blogging actually helps every type of business, however, and it can be especially helpful to newer and smaller businesses looking to establish themselves.


The Customer's Journey


Understanding exactly how blogging fuels business requires understanding the "customer's journey" and how it has changed in recent years.


The traditional customer's journey was something like fishing; advertising was the bait, which you threw out in traditional media and hoped that enough people took initiative from it to visit a store, make a call or at least start a conversation with someone else about your product. Today, content marketing is all about storytelling; and content marketing heavyweight, Neil Patel says, “By far, the easiest way to tell great stories, around which you can build great products, is with blog posts.”


The modern customer is much more proactive and well-informed, thanks largely to widespread access to the internet at all times through phones and mobile devices. Quite often they will find you before they've even been exposed to any of your advertising. Instead, their first contact is more likely going to be what they find about you online when they search for your business name (or your vertical / niche and your region together) in Google or on social media.


That doesn't mean that there isn't still a place for traditional advertising, but being there to meet the customer online when they come searching is now equally important, if not even more so. When you see talk about "ranking" in Google, this is what it's centered on. You want positive things to come up when the customer searches for you by name, and you want as large a search share as possible when a new customer does a search for your area of business. Blogging is one of the primary tools for accomplishing both of these things.


Capturing Search Traffic


Blog posts serve several different purposes in terms of reeling in search traffic and creating a positive first impression.


First of all, it's simply a more cost-effective measure than paid advertisements, and it's a measure that has longer legs to boot. What you would pay for any form of traditional advertising campaign will get you dozens (if not hundreds) of high-quality blog posts from professional writers who focus on web content of this nature for a living. And unlike an advertising campaign, a blog post continues to draw in traffic for as long as you keep it hosted. "Evergreen" posts designed to stay relevant for years can actually peak in how much traffic they draw months or years after they are first posted.


In addition to boosting your incoming organic search traffic, and thus also your overall site ranking, the right type of posts can also have a multiplying effect by boosting your social media campaigns. Ideally, visitors will share your posts through their own social media accounts of their own initiative, or cite them in their own articles and posts. Things like good "instructable" or "DIY" types of posts, "think pieces" or just plain funny or heartwarming items have a proven history of getting organic shares and citations of this nature. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vayner Media, warns that many companies miss out by not persuing social media and blogging strategies. Your social media follower count, social clout and through-traffic from these accounts thereby goes up along with your organic search engine traffic.


Jason Kulpa of Underground Elephant encourages companies to leverage blogging to build credibility and thought leadership. “Blog posts help you to establish trust and authority in your area of business, particularly to those finding you for the first time by way of your posts. When you've established trust and authority with a reader, they'll keep coming back to you for new insights and useful information,” says Jason. This is the type of thing you also want on Google's front page when someone performs a relevant search for your business.


In terms of search, regular blog posts also ensure that Google's automated "spider" that regularly crawls websites flags your site as being active and updated. While we don't know everything that goes into Google's proprietary ranking algorithm, we do know that it's one of the factors in establishing how high you rank.


Finally, it helps out your beleaguered social media manager, relieving them from having to produce content, in addition to actually managing social media (responding to customers, issuing statements, re-tweeting relevant items, etc.). They can instead just share your blog posts, keeping both your social media accounts and core website fresh and active on a continual basis.


Blogging And The Bottom Line


Great, so blogging brings in traffic from both search engines and social media. But how does that translate into conversions?


The primary mechanism for this is to place a well-formed call to action in the post, usually at the conclusion. Ideally, something that is relevant to the post content. This doesn't have to be a direct sales pitch, and in fact in many cases that is not the optimal idea. Some examples include inviting readers to follow your social media accounts, create an account on the site, comments fields, email subscription lists, invitations to download free media, or direct to your "contact us" page. "Smart" CTAs can identify whether the reader is a new visitor or has been to your site before and adjust their call accordingly. If a direct sales pitch is appropriate for the content, you might also place promotional and limited-time offers at the bottom of these posts.


From a marketing perspective, blog posts also bring your company brand and public personality into focus. Customers increasingly think of brands in the way they do other human beings, at least on a basic level. They identify the brand as being either friendly or antagonistic to them personally, have a certain trust level in it, and some even go so far as to personalize them with qualities like "sophistication" and "sincerity." Blog posts provide a direct voice communicating with these customers and honing or reinforcing their perceptions about the company.


How Do You Structure A Business Blog?


There's no one stock structure that will fit every type of business and guarantee success, but a mix of informative posts designed to answer questions that their target demographic will likely be searching for and financial news items relevant to the industry and to customer concerns is almost always a good base to work from. It also helps to break posts up with subheadings, bullet points and graphics where appropriate; infographics are particularly helpful.


 

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