With more people searching for products, services and information online than ever before, even the businesses that were adamant they were going to stay offline are beginning to realise the importance of social media marketing. They understand the potential it has a way to entice new customers and engage existing ones. We all do.
We’re beyond overlooking social media, which is why it’s time to turn our attention to blogging.
In the same way that social media poses an array of benefits for your business a regularly updated blog can work wonders in terms of attracting audiences, communicating with your community and ultimately driving sales – but many are yet to be convinced of it’s significance.
Why? We believe this can only be down to three things: #1 Misinformation, #2 Resistance to adapt or #3 Lack of education.
Before businesses adapt their marketing campaigns, invest in new technologies and put their faith in a method they’ve never used before, they require hard-hitting facts and expert explanations that back up all of the claims.
Upon suggesting a blog for a company, I’m often asked: "How will that help?" and though my answer is never entirely the same, there are a few fundamental points I always bring up…
It gives you something of value to share on social media
Fun fact: 94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.
The ultimate aim of social media is to create content that’s going to trigger valuable interactions and drive targeted traffic.
To get noticed by your audience and engage them consistently, you’ll need to become a provider of entertainment and information.
We all know (or at least, we should) by now that it doesn’t work to simply boast about your products/services, so we must find fresh ways to showcase what we do and who for.
A blog is an ideal way to charge your social media – adding depth, injecting personality, showcasing dedication and enabling you to communicate on a whole new level.
It’s an organic (and effective) way to keep your site fresh
Fun fact: Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages.
To rank well in Google and other popular search engines you must find ways to keep your site up to date.
Though linking your social media accounts and adding or editing some pages within the site will help, the best and most organic way to integrate keywords and boost SEO is to start up and maintain a blog.
Posting fresh content regularly not only shows your current audience that you’re active but also proves to the likes of Google that you’re maintaining (or increasing) value and therefore helps you to widen your reach.
This means that if your competitors are blogging and you’re not, they’re likely to be ranked higher for specific search terms and therefore reach audiences before you.
To stay ahead of the curve, you must become journalistic in your approach – answering questions before they’re asked, reporting the latest industry insights and sharing stuff that really resonates with your specific audience.
You’ll attract website traffic from a wider audience
Fun fact: Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
A blog will broaden your reach, for many reasons we’ve touched on above. By naturally working the specific search terms your audience uses into the post you publish you’re able to seamlessly target those who are looking for your product/service without #1 being paid to be seen (PPC) and #2 looking spammy (sales-orientated CTA’s).
The ability to share and comment on the posts means that a blog can become a place for likeminded consumers to connect, and the integration of Social Media means that people can share your content across their own networks – with their friends and family.
In a similar way that word of mouth works, producing shareable content is an affordable and effective way to expand brand awareness. Do it right, and you’ll see a domino effect.
Visitors will stay on your site for longer
Fun fact: Click-through rate has a .67 correlation with ranking.
Consumers are far more likely to click on a blog post than they are an advert. This is because blog posts aren’t designed to sell, but instead provide insight and information, as we’ve touched on above. It is because of this setup that blog post visitors are more likely to linger (and later convert) than your average visitor.
Through the entertainment or education process, you’re able to build up trust – the type of trust by which it is okay to nudge them with obvious call-to-actions.
Every blog post poses an opportunity to convert traffic into leads. Once you have people’s attention, what are you going to do with it? Point them in the right direction to exchange information.
You’ll be able to showcase your expertise
Fun fact: Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
Knowledge is power. And a blog is a place in which you get to use your knowledge as a powerful tool. The better you can showcase your expertise, the more influence you’ll have on current and prospective consumers.
Blogging on a wide variety of subjects all relevant to your industry can prove how diverse and developed you are as a company. Things like case studies and how-tos are ideal for managing expectations and presenting solutions.
Now is a time for transparency and authenticity. Consumers don’t want to just find the best price, they want to find the best fit, and they’re prepared to do their research to get it!
You can open up a new direct line of communication with your customers
Fun fact: 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
The voice of the customer is of the upmost importance, and so any way to increase and improve your line of direct communication should be celebrated.
Blog comments can be a great source of feedback, allowing you to make better sense of your consumers’ demands and thought process. The ability to reply to comments means that companies can answer questions in real-time and partake in meaningful discussions.
For so long the online world operated completely differently to real-life, but increasingly we are seeing the need to connect on more ‘human’ levels. A blog is a great way to humanise your brand – giving it a voice and proper personality.
It’s a great place to announce news, press releases and work on link building
Fun fact: 45% of marketers say blogging is the #1 most important piece of their content strategy.
You can use your blog as a place to work on your site’s link building, another tactic used in Search Engine Optimisation.
By being one of the first to announce a piece of news, share a press release or publish the review of a product, you’re making yourself an ‘original’ source to refer to.
And by incorporating valuable (internal and external) links to your own research and resources, you’re further increasing your ‘online authority’.
Visitors are more likely to subscribe to a blog’s newsletter than a company’s newsletter
Fun fact: 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic results.
When you think about signing up to a website, you automatically think sales. When you think about subscribing to a blog, you think value. And that’s the difference.
You’ll find it far easier to obtain the contact details of your website visitors if they’ve come via a blog post, reached the end, liked what they read and decided to subscribe.
Often, subscribers are easier to obtain if you’ve closed with a ‘content upgrade’, like the one you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Of course, the offering of a free asset gives the reader even more reason to exchange their information.
You’ll be forced to sharpen your business focus
Fun fact: Just over half of business owners report that content management is "very important" or "absolutely critical" to creating a cohesive buyer journey.
The simple act of coming up with blog ideas will mean you’ll first have to define things like who you are blogging for and why, which means looking at your overall business model – something you quite possibly haven’t done in a while.
Just like a blog with no focus attracts no readers, a business with no focus attracts no customers.
Time and time again, blogs have given businesses a reason to define (or refine) their objectives and structure (or restructure) their operations to achieve this.
It’s a small investment to make with lots of benefits to gain
Fun fact: Marketers who prioritise blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.
The cost of running a blog – even hiring a writer – are extremely low in comparison to some other, more traditional marketing methods and the benefits are quite frankly unmatched. If Social Media is essential (which it is), then blogging must be too.
Has this article done its job in convincing you? Will you be starting up a blog to support your business? Tweet your thoughts to @thwmarketing and don’t forget to grab today’s free download below, containing 20 Blog Ideas to help you get started!
About the author
Teresa Heath-Wareing is a social media and marketing consultant based in Shropshire and is the director of THW. She was also a guest speaker at The Business Event 2017 in Telford, organised by the Marches LEP.
If you’d like to contribute a guest blog to the Marches Growth Hub, please send it to [email protected] Blogs should be no more than 400 words, accompanied with a photo and short biography of the author. The guest blog is a chance to share knowledge and expertise among the Marches business community and therefore commercial-style blogs will not be considered for publication.
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