With such a saturated content market on the web, you’d be forgiven for thinking that creating and maintaining a company blog is a daunting and time-consuming commitment you just don’t need right now. Especially if your business is just getting off the ground.
But a blog is one of the most cost-effective business tools around. Here are just some of the benefits that blogging can bring to your business, and how to ensure you get maximum return on your content writing efforts.
New, useful content will give people a reason to visit your site. Whether they are brand new visitors or loyal and returning users, the more people engage with and gain knowledge about your brand, the more likely these visits are to convert into sales.
Blog posts are a powerful way of demonstrating knowledge and building trust as an expert in your niche. Supplying a regular flow of high-quality, user-friendly blog content will give readers the impression that you truly understand, not only your industry, but also your target audience and their needs.
Search engines prefer websites with a constant supply of fresh content to index, therefore regularly adding quality pages to your blog will create more opportunity for you to show up in the SERPs, resulting in more traffic to your site, and more traffic = more opportunity to turn those curious visitors into conversions.
This is almost certainly a key deciding factor when many businesses. Yes, writing decent content takes time, but consider this; one valuable piece of content can be posted to your blog, shared on social media, and be in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of eyeballs in a matter of mouse clicks. How long do you think it would take to reach out to each customer individually? When you look at the bigger picture, blogging is a highly time-effective strategy.
If you have strong content on your site, other websites will want to link to this content in their own work. In fact, it’s estimated that companies who blog receive up to 97% more links to their website than those that don’t. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? However, once you start building up links from your blog it’s important to carry out regular link audits to ensure any pages you link to, and those that link back to you, are deemed as good, authoritative sources. Search engines will then be able to see that other high-quality pages are linking back to your website, which is likely to impact favourably on your ranking. Dubious, low-level links, on the other hand, will have the opposite effect.
Once you start conducting blogger outreach and hosting guest content on your blog, you’ll soon build up a healthy catalogue of industry contacts. Establishing relationships with other authorities in your field is a great networking exercise, as they’ll get to know your strengths and be more likely to think of you should opportunities come up in the future.
Gain key data about your audience by analysing their activity.
You’ll gain valuable insights into things like:
- The types of blog posts your audience prefers (‘How To’ articles, videos, interviews etc)
- What time of day they are most active
- What subjects/topics they are most interested in
Aside from the SEO benefits, a blog is a great platform to showcase your brand’s personality through your tone of voice, the topics you cover, and the observations you made.
If several members of your team contribute to your blog, having author bios with an image of the writer will help readers to familiarise themselves with the people behind your company, their skill sets, interests, and personality through their writing styles.
How to get the best results from your blog
These basic rules of thumb will get you off to the right start, or referring to them will keep you on track if you’ve already entered the world of blogging for business:
Have a strategy
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. And when it comes to ensuring a successful blog, this is crucial. When writing content, it can be all too easy to go off on a tangent or loose end, and before you know it, you’ve spent three hours on a post that’s just a rambling mess with no structure, purpose, or value. Do this a couple of times a week and that’s almost an entire working day you’ve lost due to poor time management.
To avoid this, set aside time to put together a formal plan, outlining:
- What you want to achieve from your blog and who are you writing it for ? – For example, if you want to use your blog to build up your email list, you may choose to request email details from users in exchange for full access
- How often will you be posting to your blog? Decide on an achievable number of scheduled posts allowing for less frequent larger campaigns and ad-hoc opportunities to piggyback on latest news stories and updates
- Who will oversee your blog activity and be responsible for uploading content?
- What topics will you cover?
- How will you promote your content?
Blogging takes time and resource, so it’s important you have a clear idea of what you are aiming to achieve to ensure everything stays on track and everyone is working towards the same goal.
Regular activity is key
A half-hearted blog is as bad as no blog at all. You need to give search engines regular new content to crawl to reap the SEO benefits of blogging.
You’ll come across as slapdash and disorganised if you’re sporadically uploading content whenever you can find the time. What’s more, if users know they will be waiting a while for information, they are likely to find what they’re looking for elsewhere, potentially from a competitor.
Whatever your blog strategy, the cornerstone objective of any blog should be to add value for customers. That means being informative, useful, and keeping self-promotion to a minimum. Salesy copy will drive away visitors and unravel all the hard work you put into getting them onto your blog in the first place. The most valuable content teaches the reader something new, but in a language and tone of voice that your audience understands and finds easy to digest.
Choose quality over quantity
Ensuring a consistent flow of new content is important, but filling your blog with fluffy articles that offer no value to your readers will do you no favours. Ensure there is a purpose and that each post fulfils the brief; for example, if your blog post title has promised the reader ‘5 expert tips when choosing your first home’, have you delivered this?
Shake up the structure of your post
Thin content, such as pages with vague and minimal copy offer no value to the reader, but an endless page of monotonous text is likely to put readers off before they even begin.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all taken a quick glance over an article, skimming through key points to make sure it’s going to deliver the goods before we dedicate our precious time to reading it thoroughly. Using paragraphs to section your blog post into digestible chunks, and accurate subheadings to highlight key points will grab the attention of readers and let them know that your post is worth reading.
Blog articles that contain images receive 94% more views, so break up your copy with images, videos, or infographics to illustrate your content.
Write for humans
Keyword research is essential if you want to ensure you’re writing about things your customers are actually looking for. However, don’t compromise the quality of your content by cramming in as many keywords as possible just to please search engines. In fact, this is more likely to get you penalised by Google and do more harm to your brand’s online presence than good.
Writing in a natural sentence structures, and using vocabulary that your readers understand will ensure your content is simple (and hopefully enjoyable) to read and will enhance your users’ experience, something Google holds in high regard.
Don’t be afraid to reshare old content
Give your content the best chance of getting noticed by sharing it more than once. Once your blog is set up and you start exploring the page analytics, you’re likely to find there is evergreen content that is still performing well and getting a considerable amount of traffic long after it was initially posted. In fact, this is exactly what the team at Hubspot found when analysing a new attribution report; most of their traffic was actually coming from historical blog content that had been posted months or even years back.
So, surely it makes sense to keep bringing it back into the spotlight? Resharing used content is a great way of ensuring a valuable piece of content gets plenty of opportunity to shine, just make sure when recycling older posts that the information is still relevant and factually correct.
The benefits of blogging for business are undeniable, yet it is by no means a quick business fix. Creating and maintaining a blog that provides value for both your customers and your business is a craft and takes time, but the rewards are certainly worth the investment and will continue to positively impact your business long into the future.