Can we come up with a new word? I feel like the word “blog” gets a bad rep. To the masses, “blog” creates a mental image of an online diary, scribbling your secret crushes on to Xanga or LiveJournal - but, if you’re reading this, you know as well as I that “blog” can and does mean much more.
Overcoming that stereotype is one of the biggest obstacles we have when talking about adding a blog into a client’s online marketing mix. What should we write about? How often should we do it? Will anyone care about what we have to say? All valid questions.
Here are a few ways every business and organization can benefit from blogging.
Content Marketing, at it’s core, is about developing content that drives people (potential clients, donors and/or consumers) to your website. Without a blog, you’re looking at a website that remains relatively static - possibly changing every-so-often, but rarely. With a blog, you have the ability to post regular and consistent new content - and Google likes this (a lot).
Search engines love seeing relevant, new, popular content when ‘crawling’ your website. The more search-based traffic, the better. Why? Because, organic traffic is the best their is - people will find YOU - meaning you can spend less time marketing and more time writing compelling content.
Increased Site Traffic
What does compelling content lead to? More conversation, more links, more repeat visits. Adding a blog to the mix is without a doubt the best way to encourage repeat visits - it gives your audience a reason to come back again and again. It gives your consumers something to look forward to.
Consistency is key when it comes to blogging - and when developing your blog-posting schedule, it’s important to consider what you can realistically commit to, and then stick to it. Why? Because like it or not, when you start posting, you’re going to create an expectation - we all like regularity - knowing that every Tuesday and Thursday we can count on a new post from you.
Folks don’t come to our website every day to see if we’ve added a new client to the portfolio. They come often because we post regularly and share our ‘wisdom’ on branding and marketing. Post consistently; post good stuff, and you’ll without a doubt see a huge spike in traffic.
The real beauty of creating an interactive space for conversation on your website (and that’s exactly what a blog does) is the forging of relationships that takes place. This is the real value of blogging - aside from the more “tangible” benefits, you’re building a rapport with your online community. More and more, we’re seeing consumers, especially Gen Y folks, connecting with brands who take time to connect with them. Transparency, even a little, into the personality of your business or organization can and does go a long, long way.
This is especially important for smaller businesses and organizations looking to “compete” with the corporate big-wigs of the world. As a small business, one thing you can and always will be able to offer is a ‘human’ relationship with your consumers and through online conversations to be had via blogging and social media, you have the opportunity to do just that - and in such, creating a loyal brand evangelists.
Still not convinced? If nothing else, starting a blog is very, very inexpensive - so you have little to lose. Your time is valuable, of course, and building a successful blog is going to take time, but from a monetary perspective, there’s very little to no risk in firing up a blog. Why are so many turning to blogging and social media as their primary marketing tool? Because of the low barrier to entry and low/free price point.
Ready to start blogging?
It seems like common sense to start a blog now, or get a lot more active in blogging than you have been, right? I know, I know, it’s not that easy. You’re still worried about not having enough time, or maybe you’re not even sure what to write about. Allow me to leave you with few words of comfort to take away.
- You don’t have to limit what you write about. If you’re a coffee shop, you don’t have to only write about coffee - if you’re a marketing firm, you don’t have to only focus on the latest marketing trends. You’re a representative of your brand, but underneath it all, you’re still a human - and as a human - you no doubt have a lot of different interests and opinions on a wide array of topics. Show some of that through your blog. Does that mean you should write about cute puppies on your law firms website? Maybe not, but don’t be afraid to show a little YOU in your blogging.
- Be realistic. Don’t tell yourself, and don’t let anyone else tell you how much you should write or how often. As with every other form of marketing you’re already doing or considering - think about what you realistically can commit to. If that means you’ll post every day, that’s great. If it means you can only post a couple times a month, that’s fine to. Don’t walk away from this thinking you have to do it all - nothing leads to burn out faster than biting off more than you can chew and being overly-ambitious.
- Give it time. There’s no immediate ROI for blogging. I can’t sit here and tell you that by blogging two times per week you’re going to increase revenue by 100k. I’ve highlighted the primary benefits above, and they are just that, very beneficial to your business or organization. But it’s going to take time - just know that your time invested will pay off in the long run, if you stick with it and stay consistent.
What blogging benefits would you add? What challenges have presented themselves? Should every business have a blog?