Why your small business needs a blog

Gemma Roberts from www.theworklifeblend.com on how to build an effective business blog and why you should.

 

Blogging for your business is a really effective and low-cost online marketing tool. According to the Content Marketing Institute, small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.

The rewards can be huge if you’re prepared to put in a bit of time and effort.

Put simply, you can use your blog to write content that offers tons of value, attracting and engaging followers.

It can help you to build trust and gain authority. This, in turn, will strengthen your brand, differentiating your business from the competition and converting engaged followers into loyal customers.

Sound good?!

Before we delve further into the benefits of blogging for your business, let’s cover the basics…

What exactly is a blog?

You hear about blogging all the time but what does it actually mean? I’ll refer to the good old dictionary for a definition:
A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group that is written in an informal or conversational style.

It’s just a case of adding a section to your business website where you can regularly add awesome blog posts about your particular area of business.

But what if you don’ t have your own website yet…?

How do I start a business blog?

If you don’t already have a business website it’s really easy to start a blog and, even better, it’s relatively cheap.
There are lots of easy-to-use website builders available online, many of them are free. WordPress, Wix and Squarespace are all brilliant straightforward website builders with ready-made professional looking designs.

The main upfront costs will be web hosting and the domain name of your website. However, this can be purchased quite cheaply and, in fact, many web hosting companies will include the domain name as part of the hosting package.

Why your business needs a blog

Traditional marketing methods such as using advertising in the press, on TV or radio are becoming less effective.

Business owners need to find better and more successful marketing methods to move their customers through the ‘sales funnel’, turning a mass market of people completely unaware of your brand into highly targeted loyal consumers.

This is where online marketing and in particular, blogging comes in.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as traditional, outbound marketing and costs 62% less.

An easy example of business blogging

Let’s say you have a business that offers children’s craft classes, you could blog about 10 Easy Kid’s Crafts for Easter, 20 Christmas Decorations You Can Make In 30 Minutes, Easy Ideas For World Book Day Costumes, etc. The possibilities are endless.

You would share each of these posts on social media and optimise them for search engines (more on both ideas later!).
This will drive traffic to your website where the readers of your blog will see you as an authority on crafting with kids.

They trust you because you know what you’re talking about. They’re engaged because your posts show off your brilliant personality and they like your brand voice.

They keep coming back to your website for more of your great tips.

In fact, they love your blog so much that they start telling their friends and family and sharing your posts on their own social media channels.

They don’t want to miss a thing so they sign up for your email newsletter via your blog. Now you’re able to tell them all about your craft classes. You can email them a free trial offer, promotions, and events alongside more of your valuable tips.

Through blogging you have been able to generate new leads and nurture them into customers. You have a whole new captive audience now aware of your brand and your products, ready and eager to buy!

This is just one example, blogging works for every type of business whether selling a service or product, whether B2B or B2C.

Let’s explore some of the main benefits of blogging for business:

Cost effective marketing

Compared with other marketing methods, blogging is surprisingly cost effective. You can find monthly web hosting for the price of your favourite Costa coffee. The main investment will be your time.

You will need to research and craft interesting and useful blog posts and then to promote those posts to drive traffic to your blog. But it’s worth the time and effort!

SEO boost

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a great way to drive traffic to your website. The more you optimise your site for search engines, the more likely it is that you will rank in Google so potential customers can find you.

Let’s face it, most people will ask Google when they need an answer to a question or a solution to a problem.

Ideally, you want to appear on the first page when your target customer types something related to your niche into Google.

By writing blog posts focused around certain words and phrases you will maximise your chance of ranking on Google, bringing free traffic to your blog!

Brand building

Nowadays, most companies have a website for their business but a blog is brilliant for differentiating yourself from your competitors.

A blog is a great platform to really let your business personality shine!

It gives you a voice and provides you with the tools to connect and engage with your audience.

Sharing your knowledge of your business niche will highlight you as an authority in that area. When a potential customer wants to buy a product or service in your niche, who will they choose?

  1. Business they barely know with a website that only contains information about their opening hours and contact details?
  2. Your business with blog posts packed full of free information showing them you are the go-to business. The brand that they trust?

I know which one I would go for!

Social shareability

Creating lots of valuable content on your blog and sharing it through your business social media channels can sometimes take on a life of its own!

If it resonates with people, they are likely to share it with their friends and followers, and that snowball effect can be huge.

A viral post, tweet or pin of a blog post can bring your brand a completely new audience. An audience that you would never have been able to reach with traditional marketing methods alone.

The image [left] of ‘The Family Tree of a Viral Pin’ really illustrates the killer combination of amazing content and social shareability.

This one Pin went viral on Pinterest and reached an audience of 1.5 million users!



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