Should I blog for my business?
You’re aware that a huge number of businesses are blogging these days, and perhaps you’re wondering whether you should get involved.
Starting a blog for your business from a standing start can seem daunting, especially when you look through established business blogs and see their posts stretching back over years.
But they all started somewhere, and so can you.
What’s blogging all about, anyway?
Blogging – or “web logging” – began in the mid 90s, getting off to a slow start with only 23 blogs on the entire internet in 1999 (the same year that web log was shortened to blog). Seven years later there were an estimated 50 million, and blogging hasn’t slowed down since.
HuffPost began as a blog in the early 2000s as platforms like LiveJournal and Blogger became more mainstream, and in 2003 AdSense was launched – the first advertising platform to match content to blogs. People started to make money from blogging.
Suddenly a blog wasn’t just someone randomly talking into the abyss, it was a legitimate way to earn a crust.
Fast forward to today and, with around 7 million blog posts published every day, pretty much everybody’s heard of blogging. Depending on who you’re talking to, answering “I’m a blogger” when they ask what you do, could result in anything from impressed admiration to utter bewilderment, but despite what your Grandad thinks, blogging is (or can be) a path to financial freedom, with over 24% of people who start blogs doing it to become self-employed.
But I’m not really here to talk about professional bloggers.
What about business blogs?
A business blog – that is a blog associated with a business, as opposed to a blog about business – is an add on, not the main event.
It complements and enhances the products or services of the business, but people don’t pay for it directly – like this blog.
So what’s the point?
The Benefits of business blogs
Blogging for your business can:
- Improve your chances of ranking organically on the search engines
- Remove the need for paid ads
- Increase traffic to your site
- Build brand awareness
- Build trust in your brand
- Build a relationship with your target client
- Generate leads and sales
Of course, you can do all of those things without a blog. It’s just a heck of a lot harder.
Maybe you prefer social media. You have a large following on Facebook or Instagram and can’t see the point in spreading yourself too thin by adding blogging into the mix as well.
The advice to pick a platform and stick to it, to do one thing really well rather than trying to do everything and doing it all poorly, is good. However, I say make that one platform your blog!
Blogging or social media?
This is a false dichotomy. Of course you don’t really have to choose blogging OR social media, and a multi pronged approach (done well) will always be best.
But placing all your eggs in Instagram’s basket is a risky strategy.
Social media won’t help your SEO – the search engines just don’t care whether you have half a million followers on Facebook. And their algorithms mean that organic reach – the number of people who see your posts without you having to take out a paid ad – is low and getting lower.
Hosting a private Facebook group, whether free or paid for, is one way of getting around the algorithm to build your own captive audience, but what happens if the platform gets closed down? Facebook may be “the world’s biggest country” but it’s not too big to fail. Or, as happens to many, what happens if you simply get kicked off? In one fell swoop, you’ve lost every last potential client (and potential sale).
Having your own platform, that you control, is a much more reliable way of getting that organic traffic, and funneling it where you want it to go e.g. your email list.
View social media as a valuable arm of your marketing octopus (definitely a thing), but not the whole kit and caboodle.Tweet
How Long does it take?
Blogging isn’t an overnight fix (sorry). In fact, like SEO, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Blogging, like most things when it comes to growing your business, takes consistency of time and effort to see real results.
But it’s so worth it!
How often should I blog?
There’s no magic formula as to how often you should be publishing fresh content.
HuffPost apparently posts a new article every 58 seconds, or did at the beginning – it’s probably more today. And, they’re pretty successful…
So does that mean that more is necessarily better?
No! Don’t feel you have to churn out new content every day. Unless you’re some kind of machine, this is a) not sustainable, and b) will lead to thin content that does more to harm your brand and chances of ranking.
It’s much better to release far fewer excellent posts, say 1 incredibly valuable 3000 word post per month, than a huge number of 300 word posts that don’t add anything for your readers.
What should I blog about?
If you’re wondering what on earth you could blog about, believe me, there is always something! No matter what your business provides, if there is a need and an interest for it, you can blog about it.
Don’t get blogged (ha) down in thinking you need to stick to your subject rigidly. Instead, think around the topic, to related topics that your target audience will be interested in.
Say you’re a yoga teacher. There’s a whole host of posts you could write around yoga itself, but cast your net more widely to other subjects that matter to your your ideal client. You could write about sports injuries or pregnancy; mental health and nutrition – not only will these subjects resonate with your target audience, they can also bring people who are search solely for information on these topics, straight to your site.
Yoga may not have been the solution they expected when looking up how to manage their work related stress, but it may well be the one that works for them.
Create a strategy
Don’t just choose random topics though, even if they are, or could be, of interest to your target audience.
As with all marketing, having a coherent strategy is crucial, and to create that you’ll need to define your goals.
These will be unique to your business and to you, but you’ll only be able to start working towards them once you’re clear on what they are.
So get super specific. Do you want to increase your site traffic to 10,ooo unique visits per month? Maybe you’d like to sign 5 new clients this quarter, or take on one big new project in the next 6 months. Maybe you’re just starting out and an email list of 500 seems like shooting for the stars?
Your goals are your own, but you have to identify them to reach them.
Stick to the 80/20 rule when blogging for business
80% of your blogs, emails and other content marketing should be you giving to your audience.
Information, helpful stats, advice, Q&As, How To guides, entertaining anecdotes – however it makes sense for you to give, make that the bulk of your content.
That leaves the 20% that you can draw from, or sell to, your audience.
Brands that don’t get the balance right are like that “friend” who only gets in touch when they need a favour. They don’t bother asking how you are, or showing any interest in your life, they just go straight in with everything that’s wrong in their world and why they need you to make it better.
Too much of this selfish behaviour sees us stopping returning their calls, and, essentially, phasing them out.
Don’t be the brand equivalent of that crappy friend!
We’ve all unsubscribed or unfollowed brands because all they ever seem to do is sell sell sell – it comes across as grabby and we resent their presence in our feeds and inboxes. But keeping the balance firmly tipped towards giving to your audience means that when you do have something to sell, they’ll be much more receptive – and they’ll trust that you’re an expert, because of all the great blogs you’ve been putting out!
Are you blogging for your business yet?
Are you wanting to start but not sure where? Or maybe you’re dead against it? Either way, I’d love to hear from you, so leave me a comment below or…