Blogging for business is important, no matter how big or small the business may be. Even small businesses with limited budgets can benefit from blogging.
Something which I encounter a lot is business owners who misunderstand the purpose of starting a corporate blog. People fear what they don’t understand which deters them from trying it out, and most of those who do just end up publishing company news which, let’s be honest, only reach a tiny audience. So why bother, you ask?
Well, let’s evaluate.
What does every business owner care about the most? That’s right; the bottom line. The highest priority is sales because earning money is the reasons why they started their company in the first place. In this post, I will explain how blogging effectively can increase your bottom line – if it is done the right way!
2 Common Myths About Business Blogging Goals
People read your blog and immediately purchase your product
People enter your home page or other landing pages, see that you have an excellent blog and that influences them to purchase
There is nothing more to add here; this is not how blogging brings you extra cash, and that’s the long and short of it.
Factors which Influence Purchase Decisions
Before we move further, it is critical to mention (at least briefly) the factors that do influence consumers during the purchase decision process. If you want to dig deeper, you can find more details here and here.
To summarize, here is my short list –
Product quality and pricing
Web site design, usability, and responsiveness
Content shared by people they know and trust
Brand familiarity and strength
Again, there is no really need to go into too much detail here. It is clear that there is no way we can influence p.1 and p.2, but what about the other two points? If you want people to know about you, trust you and to spread the word about you and your business, then blogging is the ultimate weapon at your disposal.
SEO and Traffic
Frequent and quality content updates are factors which play a role in your SEO ranking. If you regularity publishes new content, it positively influences domain-level authority. The more often you upload recent articles, the better. This may prove difficult to achieve this every day, but that is not necessary; twice a week is a good rate to start with.
If your only goal is to signal to Google’s bots that you have updated your website’s content to give you an SEO boost, then publishing articles of around 500 words would be sufficient. However, should you be seeking black-belt business blogging which results in quality traffic, valuable leads and that contributes to your brand’s authority, then you need to take a ninja approach to SEO-friendly blogging.
Here are the fundamentals which you need to take into consideration;
Do keyword research and write SEO-friendly articles to drive more traffic to your blog
Create well-researched and illustrated content; the more time people spend reading your posts, the better. Dwell time is a ranking factor too.
Write longer posts; count the number of words in the blog posts which rank top 10 for the keyphrase you want to be ranked for. You may also want to refer to this post by serpIQ for even more details about content length.
Link to other pages of your website or blog to reduce bounce rate, and do not be afraid of linking to reputable outside sources.
The Buyer’s Journey and Business Blogging
What is the buyer’s journey? It is a three-step process which begins when buyers realize that they have a problem, continues as they seek ways to solve it and concludes as they choose a solution.
Here are the three steps, explained;
The Awareness stage: during this stage, the buyer realizes he or she has a problem and looks for the ways to solve it.
The Consideration stage: they buyer does in-depth research and analysis of the available solutions.
The Decision stage: the buyer finds a suitable solution to get the problem solved.
Business blogging is a great way to catch the buyer’s attention at the point when they realize they have a pain point because it is during this stage that they look for additional information (educational content, testimonials, and customer feedback) that would help them to solve the problem. This is where you must show expertise in a well-researched and informative blog article.
Understanding your prospects’ needs is of vital importance; for this reason, you may want to create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fake character with the traits of your ideal customer. You need to create as many of them as it is necessary for your particular business goals. The number of details you may want to include also varies; it may be sex, age, income, education, shopping preferences, goals, challenges, etc.
Small Local Business Blogging Tip
This small business blogging tip is a real life example, and it is all about driving highly targeted traffic that brings sales.
This plan formed after I analyzed the Google AdWords data of one of my clients, a home window repair company. Search queries with local intent were bringing them results from a conversions point of view (they were enjoying a conversion rate of approximately 20% in Google AdWords).
The client offers their services in 30 cities, and there are about ten groups of keywords which describe the type of problems which they solve (30 x 10 is 300 extra pages to create!).
We created local landing pages for major services in each city, however, were still too many key phrases which we wanted them to rank highly for.
Our page title looks like this:
[service name] + [city name] + [state name]
Creating 300 pages with similar, directly selling content might have been a good idea, but Google loves content which brings unique value to the world wide web. So, what did we do?
We decided to blog about their services. We created short case studies, detailing jobs which have been done in different cities. Fortunately, the client always takes before and after photos of their most exciting projects, so there was no lack of visual content.
This is where the concept of telling success stories was born; a strategy which has proven to drive precious, locally targeted traffic.
Establish Authority Through Blogging
The whole article is dedicated to one single thesis statement only – blogging, if done the right way, is one of the best tools to build authority and trust. Econsultancy’s study revealed that 61% of the customers read reviews before they purchase something online. As you can see, trust is everything in a digital world, especially if you are selling an expensive product or a product which requires accurate and in-depth knowledge (such digital marketing, law, medicine, etc.) which a regular person has only broad understand of.
Becoming an authority
In the real world, you cannot become a power by just declaring it; customers need proof. Writing quality, well-researched and illustrated articles is the great way to establish yourself as an industry expert.
People buy from people
People buy from people, but not from brands, which is why you should consider publishing blog articles under your real name. If consumers like your content, they will be more likely to interact with your brand; they will express their point of view, they will ask questions or even debate. This builds a closer emotional connection between you and your audience and helps to establish relationships, which is key to the success of your business.
Build Your Email List
Even though everybody’s inbox is stuffed to the brim with emails (many of are junk emails), email marketing is still a very powerful marketing tool! If done the right way, email marketing can help you to gain trust, credibility and become a kind of a friend or a friendly consultant – not a stranger. The best part is that email marketing is relatively cheap, easy to implement and it usually doesn’t take much time.
If you write great blog articles, then why not to share them with your subscribers? The hardest part of email marketing is building a customer list. Your success directly depends on its quality; people must be interested in the content you produce. This is where blogging can help.
However, if you just have a hard-to-notice Subscribe option somewhere under your category links, that will not work for everybody. I suspect that only the top resources can afford such a shy approach to inviting new readers to sign up for their newsletters.
What You Should Consider Is:
Ensuring that there is a good reason for the reader to share their email address with you
Ensuring that your sign up offer is easily noticeable and well-designed
Ensuring that the process is simple; try to avoid complex forms
If you have huge amount of data, test as much as you can to find what works best for you
Lead magnet (a free to low price offer) is an excellent way to build your emails list. You can provide a free e-book, private blog section access, a free report, a cheat sheet or a discount in exchange for an email address. It is paramount not to disappoint subscribers, so you must make sure your lead magnet brings real value.
Conclusion (Spoiler or, maybe, not)
Content marketing, no doubt, is a powerful tool and corporate blogging plays a significant role in it. However, to ensure that everything you have read here works for your business goals, writing alone is not enough. You will see little to no results if nobody ever reads your articles, i.e., If you have no traffic.
If you want search rankings, then you need to invest in building links. If you want extra traffic from social media channels, then you need to grow your following and perhaps use paid advertising. If you have a limited budget, then you need to find time for guest blogging, time to participate in relevant forums, social media groups, people outreach and other activities.
Is this difficult or tedious? Not at all!
I want to finish off with a positive thought; even though business blogging will not make you quick bucks, it puts one more coin into the bank of your brand’s success every time you publish a new quality blog article. Start small and find out what works best for you and once you find your groove then accelerate your efforts. Happy blogging!
Alex Omelchenko is an SEO and PPC expert. He is a happy dad, British Fold cat owner and a COO at ProfContent, a content writing firm. Alex Omelchenko is the CEO and a co-founder of ProfContent, a copywriting firm. Alex is also astute in search engine optimization and pay per click advertising. He is the happy owner and biggest fan of his Scottish Fold cat. You can follow Alex on Twitter.