Should My Business Have a Blog?
It’s a pretty old question now: should you have a blog on your business website? However, it’s an old question with some new (and surprising answers). Yes, you want a blog and you want some really awesome blog writing skills as part of your content marketing strategy. However, you also want to know why it’s necessary, and what are the delicious ingredients that make blogs work for your business?
Blogging, on the face of it, seems simple. You can get cracking without a bunch of expensive tools. You don’t even, necessarily, need to get your web developer in on the act (sshhh, we didn’t say that).
However, a blog, per se, is two-a-penny. Without the right knowledge it’s not going to do what you want it to do.
A Guide to Content Marketing Through Blog Writing
We know content marketing sells. Just see our stats here to reassure yourself of that. Blogs are a part of that.
To start, you need to have a really clear idea of what your purpose is. This will impact the blog writing and work harmoniously with your overall content marketing approach.
Your blog should engage potential customers and inform and entertain them. Do this and you’ll boost your brand awareness and reputation. You’ll line customers up for the sell.
The Power of Blogging
Now it’s easy to think that in the days of video content, that maybe blogging has had its moment in the spotlight. We’re not denying the importance of video content (in fact, it’s really important for many businesses). However, it works with blogs, not against them. In fact, take a look at the most successful videos on YouTube and you’ll notice that there’s a written description pretty much giving an awesome blog a decent run for its money.
So what’s great about having a blog?
The Advantages of Having a Blog
Your audience expects it: Internet users love reading blogs and they consume vast amounts of articles from them on a regular basis. Your audience will expect to be able to find out more about you (and what you do) through the medium of a blog.
It’s easy: There’s nothing too techy or complicated about writing a blog. Ok, so you could do with some SEO help in terms of things like meta tags, but fundamentally you can write and post a blog post without needing to be a programming nerd.
SEO depends on it: Search engines love fresh and evergreen content, and lots of it. The webby spiders crawl all over it picking up the important stuff and using it to work out rankings. You’ll get more visitors to your site and, hopefully, more custom. Indeed, have a blog and you’ll have a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines. Great SEO also depends on inbound links. Blogs with fantastic content which others want to share are an ideal way of building inbound links.
It enables connection: Very few customers are passive recipients in the current ecommerce age. They want to be active participants who engage with your business. A blog is an easy platform for that engagement to start. What’s more, it’ll build trust in who you are and your brand.
It feeds all other content marketing: Blog writing isn’t a function which stands alone. Used well, your blogging content and strategy should feed through to your other content marketing efforts such as social media, newsletters and more. In fact, it will even keep you focused on your content marketing strategy overall.
It’s your controlled platform: A blog creates a space where you get to set the agenda and shout your message. You’re in control here and have a fabulous chance to let your brand personality grow and thrive.
A blog gives you authority: Using a blog to share your expertise and educate your audience, means you position yourself as a valued authority in your industry. By becoming an authority in your niche you will build trust and industry standing.
It keeps you ahead of your competition: A blog is an opportunity for you to build on your USP and show your customers exactly why you are better than the competition.
They are highly cost-effective: Even when you use a professional copywriter (as we highly recommend you do!), blogs are incredibly cost-effective. They don’t cost much to keep adding fresh content yet deliver ongoing ROI.
Helps you understand your audience: When you have a blog, it’s worth getting some decent web analytics in on the act. These analytics enable you to gain insight in to what’s working and what’s not, and what your customers are truly interested in.
It allows depth: Social media marketing, old-school ads, newsletters and even video content is limited on just how deep it can go. Blogs can grapple with meatier material and still be doing good, both in terms of educating, entertaining and SEO. In fact, you could argue that the longer the better in some ways. Long-form content tends to perform extremely well, especially over the longer-term.
Is Blogging Really That Easy?
Blogging is, definitely, one of the easiest marketing tools in your arsenal. However, we’d be lying to say that great and effective blogging is a complete walk in the park which doesn’t require specific know-how and skills. This shouldn’t put you off starting a blog, especially when you can hire an SEO copywriter to do the hard work for you.
However, there is a great deal involved in mining the best from blogging. To do it well takes strategic and concerted effort on a consistent and ongoing basis. You’ll be familiar with this from the number of sites you’ll have seen where there are a smattering of small scale posts, but nothing that you can get your teeth in to and come back for more.
Fundamentally, writing a business blog, that does everything it can, is a pretty hefty commitment. It’s not for the faint hearted. Great blogs need:
Keyword research: Keyword research which feeds in to the overall content marketing strategy forms the basis of high performing blogs.
Sharing tools: You want your readers promoting the content for you.
Meta data: SEO wizardry to get you seen by search engines.
Alt tags: These are wordy descriptions for pictures, also great for SEO.
Links to your social media: Blog posts should be visible on your social media accounts.
Be supported: By infographics, videos, eBooks and more.
Analytics: So you can see what works and capitalise on that.
Regular fresh content: Which is readable, useful, informative, educational and entertaining.
How to Write an Excellent Blog
We’re going to keep this short. The internet is inundated with info regarding how to write a good blog post. However, what are harder to find are the golden nuggets of information which reveal the secrets of writing a great blog post.
The first tip we have should be common sense. However, the majority of first time blog writers focus on SEO at the expense of all else. This way madness lies. You’ll get stuck on stats and fail to actually engage your audience. Therefore, work out your purpose and write for your audience’s benefit – not yours. In turn, this will benefit you and SEO will flow more naturally.
Secondly, always have a call to action (CTA) at the end, or nestled somewhere in your offering. People like being asked stuff, so that’s a good starting point.
Thirdly, don’t neglect the behind the scenes work which will be involved - if only posting a blog was as simple as 500 words on the page. You’ll need to work out everything from scheduling to keyword research, and don’t forget promotion. Promote the post regularly whilst ensuring its relevance to your audience.
Lastly, the writing needs to be good – really good. To create evergreen content which keeps on giving, time and again, it needs to be engaging, conversational and useful. Find your brand’s voice and be confident and authoritative. If you don’t think you’re up to the job, then no problem, just buy some blog posts and know you’re getting awesome content.
So, Should Your Business Have a Blog?
Absolutely, undoubtedly, yes. But do it right. The more effort you put in, the greater the rewards will be.
Shop for your blog content and get started.
Chris Brown is chief copywriter at The Content Ninja. With a focus on SEO strategy paired with powerful writing, The Content Ninja does content marketing differently.
Image source Flickr