As a small business owner or marketer you’ve probably heard the term “content is king” many times by now. And one of the best ways to create and share all sorts of visual, textual, and animated content where visitors can be engaged is via blogging. As a matter of fact many industry-leading marketing brands constantly highlight why blogging is important for business.
But with the huge surge in corporate blogging and content generation, does your small business really need a blog? Is it going to make a big difference? The answer is still overwhelmingly YES.
Here is why:
It Is Cost Effective
Creating a blog is fairly cost effective. Using blogging platforms such as the premium service from WordPress would cost you $99 USD (there is a free version as well) on a yearly basis and that service basically allows for an integration of multitude of features:
- custom domain name
- combined blog and website in one place
- various plug-ins to help optimize for SEO, writing and editing
- easy to use interface
- responsive template designs so you don’t have to start from scratch
With that being said, to produce engaging content you will still need to include visuals, videos and other features which may require time or financial investment. Luckily we put together a list of free online marketing tools to help keep things on budget!
Doing the actual writing or content creation itself will take some of your time, but once you get into the groove it becomes much smoother (and much more fun). Biggest investments will be learning and time.
Long-Term Lead Generation Tool
Blogging is not just a means of connecting to your audience on a more personal level, it is a fantastic lead generation tool. While timeliness (context is just as important as content) is a key component of capturing leads, according to HubSpot research 70% of traffic to their blogs each month come from posts that were published in the previous months and about 90% of the leads generated on their blog came from blog posts published in previous months.
If you put in a thorough effort to do proper research, create engaging visuals and reach your audience in the right way, previously published blog posts can be a fantastic lead generation tool.
Creates Storytelling & Networking Opportunities
If by now you are not aware of storytelling, take a look at our recent post covering the improtance of creating a brand personality. Basically, storytelling does not fall under marketing or ads, it is simply a way to evoke imagination within your audience. They should not be focused on your brand, they should be focused on your reader. Done right blog can be a huge storytelling venue where the reader engages with your content on a deeper level beyond just becoming a customer.
Such storytelling capabilities and/or useful blog posts can usually lead to networking opportunities. Readers can engage you directly in the comment section, become brand ambassadors (sharing your content on the regular) or even connect for potential guest blogging possibilities. A great example of this would be this exact blog post. I have made a reference to the HubSpot blog and stats numerous times because I regularly consume their content that I frequently share. They publish useful information all the time!
Increases PR Outreach Possibilities
Some posts can spread like wildfire. Unexpected company announcements, emotion provoking videos or very helpful, in-depth guides quickly spread all over social media. Similarly to the networking point above, imagine one of your blog posts getting shared by an industry thought leader or a major news outlet?
While this is the ideal scenario it is much harder to achieve. Content within the blog post usually has to be very informative, ground breaking or engage the intended audience in a way that no one has yet done. No easy task, but not impossible either.
Contributes to SEO Efforts
Blogs are a fantastic way to improve your Google rankings. Why? Well, your corporate website (you know the one with the about us, history, products, etc.) probably does not have many pages. On top of that they probably aren’t updated too often. This is where a blog comes in handy: you can research topics that are of interest to your audience (who would of thought there would be something more interesting than reading an “about us” page?) and create a visual, interactive story that they will WANT to engage with and most likely share.
What do you think is more likely to get shared? Your website home-page or a kick-ass blog they read on their phone while waiting for dinner? If you take a look at your own personal social media feeds they are more likely to be filled with videos and blog posts than corporate web pages.
Create buyer personas, research content and get creative! Blogs allow for more indexed pages and a broader search ranking. Imagine how many different terms you can focus on with blogs compared to just your website.
Uncovers Audience Insights
Not only does each blog post have some sort of call to action feature, but a blog usually consists of multiple topics and themes. Tracking, measuring and analyzing user behaviour and content consumption of your visitors can help shed light on future content focus. Perhaps your audience members prefer long articles full of how-to steps as opposed to listicles (listed points, such as 10 Ways to Do Such and Such).
Using this data to drive better content will help increase engagement, performance and even lead generation. Set clear goals you want to achieve with your blog and evaluate as you keep publishing content.
If you’re on the fence about starting a small business blog, do it! Blogs are still a very useful tool to connect with your audience.