A prospective client recently expressed some skepticism about blogging for business. He said that he doesn’t personally read blogs, ever, and wanted to know why I thought his company should invest in one. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Do you ever Google stuff?
Him: Sure, all the time.
Me: Do you Google questions, or ideas, or look up ways to do things? Search for recipes or the reason you have that weird pain in your foot?
Me: You read blogs.
According to Web Tribunal, there are over 600 million blogs on the internet sharing 2.5 billion blog posts every year. That’s a lot of content filling up the tubes. We know that search engines prioritize new content. Think of all the search engine queries that happen every day. Filter out those looking for a specific site, product, or brand. You’re left with a whole lot of general (and sometimes very specific) questions, and the top search results answering those questions are most likely to come from blog posts.
At the risk of jumping on the euphemism treadmill, I believe small business owners may find the concept of a blog more palatable if we give it a new name. Just as there are luxury sedans and family vehicles and old beaters on the road, there are many different types of blogs that serve a variety of purposes. For businesses, a blog’s purpose is content marketing.
Content is rocket fuel for sustainable digital marketing.
I have yet to run across a business that couldn’t benefit from blogging (I mean content marketing). If you’ve started a business, you have (or are gaining) expertise in something—that is the specific problem you solve for your customers. Maybe you do it the same way everyone else does it. Maybe you do it in a unique way. The method doesn’t really matter. Your way of helping people is what you’re monetizing.
When you blog, you have the opportunity to share your expertise with your target market in a conversational way. Think about the content on your website. The majority of it is probably focused on selling. That’s normal and good. The blog gives you a space to create content that is relevant to whatever you’re selling, but it’s more casual and offers your site visitors a way to get to know you. It shows that you are an expert in your field, provides resources for current and future customers, and gives you a place to express the essence of the business.
Where does the rocket fuel come in? SEO. In addition to all of the wonderful stuff you get to do when you write blog posts, you’re providing content that can show up in response to search engine queries—that’s why a blog is important for SEO. It means people can find you on Google. Regardless of what you call it, a blog is the best way for a business to generate organic traffic to its website.
There are a lot of things you want to do with your content to ensure that you are generating the right kind of traffic and that some of those site visitors turn into leads. That’s a subject for another post. For now, let’s look at an example of how a blog augments website content in a way that multiplies traffic.
Example blog case: House Painter
Rainbow Stripes is a fictional house painting company. The company’s website includes the typical pages you’d expect from a painter: About Us, Our Services, Portfolio of Projects. When the site launched, it ranked well for terms related to its core business. However, Rainbow Stripes knew it was losing a lot of business to a competitor. They decided they wanted to go after customers who are preparing to sell their homes. These people are running searches such as: “how to increase curb appeal” and “ways to increase your asking price.” These queries are absolute gold mines for content marketing. Rainbow Stripes wrote blog posts optimized for those specific queries. They offered some general information about preparing the exterior of your home for sale, and then got into the details of improving curb appeal with exterior paint touch-ups.
This type of content could technically go anywhere on their website, but the blog format is the easiest and most common way to put out search-optimized content. Of course, not every visitor for this query will invest in Rainbow Stripes’ services. Their posts need to be written in a way that shows the benefits of hiring a professional to paint your house to the people Rainbow Stripes is targeting.
As Rainbow Stripes got into blogging, they branched out to writing about information their customers frequently asked about, such as ways to prolong the life of house paint and best types of pressure washers for a painted house. Once they dug into questions and topics, they realized that the content possibilities were truly endless.
How to get started with business blogging
If you’re just getting started with blogging on your business website, keep a few things in mind.
- Narrow in on your target customer and the specific problem(s) you solve for him or her. Many entrepreneurs tend to think that everyone can be a customer. There are myriad reasons why this belief is dangerous, particularly for small businesses. When you work through the specific details of who you’re really targeting, you realize that there is a ton of opportunity to create content for those individuals and their unique problems. You also gain the ability to speak directly to those people in a personal and appealing way.
- Set a cadence and stick to it. We recommend posting weekly. You can blog as frequently as you wish, but choose a schedule that you can sustain over the long term. Blogging is not your full-time job, and you don’t need to make it one.
- Be patient and don’t get discouraged. It’s going to take time for your site to start to gain organic traffic. Months. Sometimes many months. When we work with clients whose sites are well-established, it usually takes about six months of consistent blogging to see a significant increase in traffic. Less-established sites may take longer. If you’re impatient, you can try putting a little money into paid ads to help jump-start your traffic.
- Hire a ghost blogger if you don’t like to write. If the thought of staring at a blank screen gives your stomach a turn, contact a professional. When you consider the potential for business growth that a blog offers, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Wrap up with the pitch!
You can read this blog post and move right along, start your business blog, and do your thing. If you do want to speak to a professional about why a blog is important for your business and how to make it manageable, then reach out to us.
That’s how you add a call to action at the end of a blog post—offer your expertise and let the reader decide what to do next. If you’ve shown your expertise and value in the blog, then the people who are likely to be your target customers might just respond by reading more posts or even reaching out.