Aug 19, 2016

8 Reasons to Start Your Business Blog Today

How Blogging Grows Your Business

As an SME or solopreneur, you’re already working hard on your business, focusing on your goals and trying to achieve your latest targets. The last thing you want to think about is blogging, especially if you already have a website that gives your customers a good idea about your products and services.

The problem is that if you’re not blogging, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to grow your business. Blogging offers a great return on a very small investment, both in terms of time and money.

If you’re not seeing the results you want from your site, a blog could be the answer you’re looking for. In this blog post, I’ll go over the reasons why you should be blogging and give you a few tips to get you started.

What is Content Marketing?

Before we get into blogging, it’s useful to gain an understanding of content marketing and its importance. Put simply, content marketing is a form of marketing that comes from creating and sharing content your target community wants to see, helping to set you up as an authority in your industry. Not only does it help position you as someone trustworthy and knowledgeable, it also develops good relationships with your readers and potential customers, resulting in more sales without you having to hard sell.
One of the most popular and effective forms of inbound marketing is blogging.
Traditional outbound marketing involves you taking your products and services to your target market, e.g. through advertising and cold calling. The problem with this approach is that you may waste time and energy going to people who have no interest in what you’re offering. Inbound, or content marketing, brings your audience to you, meaning you are reaching out to people who are already keen on your products or services, making it much easier to close the sale.

The Benefits of Blogging

1. Blogging helps your customers find you

You might have a very impressive website, but if nobody finds it, they won’t appreciate the hard work of your web developer. Most sites have a set number of pages with static text. If you’re not updating your site regularly and giving people a reason to come back, not only will you lose your customers’ interest, you might also slip down in search engine rankings.

If you use your blog to deal with the kinds of questions your target markets have, when they Google their problem, your site is more likely to come up with the solution, especially if the page is optimised for search engines (SEO). This draws in more targeted traffic – and more traffic means more business.

2. Blogging helps you improve your social media reach

If social media is where your customers are, then you need to be there too and a blog gives you plenty of material to share with your target audience. Not only that, if you put out blog posts your customers love, they’ll share them, exponentially increasing your potential audience. There’s no limit to how many people you can reach with a good blog post when you share it on social media, especially if you invest a little money in promoted posts, sponsored updates and other forms of social media advertising.

3. Blogging helps you connect with your market

Even the best webpages can’t cover everything. People want to know they’re giving money to someone who knows what they’re talking about, can solve their problems and are a pleasure to do business with.
Blogging allows your customers to get a feel for what your business can do for them. We’re told to be concise with the text on our webpages because people want answers as quickly as possible. A blog post doesn’t suffer from those kinds of limits, giving you the freedom to express yourself however you like.

4. Blogging opens up another line of communication

You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to contact you. Not everyone likes to send an email or use your contact form. However, if they leave a comment on a blog post and get a quick reply that solves their problem, it helps develop a positive relationship, making it more likely they’ll come to you in the future. If you’ve set up reply notifications, every time someone else comments on that post, everyone who said something will get a notification, reminding your customers about your business.

Although replying to comments can seem daunting, it doesn’t take much to set aside a small amount of time to moderate comments, which shows that you’re actively engaged with your audience. There are Plugins that help target spam and if you’re worried about negative comments, don’t be. Dealing with problems professionally and politely will help build your reputation as a business that really cares about its customers’ needs – and that’s if you decide to approve negative comments. If you choose not to show them, that’s entirely up to you.

5. Blogging helps you network

Keeping visitors to your blog up to date with your latest activities or even highlighting other successes in your industry can help you build up a strong network without you having to knock on doors. Perhaps someone will love your latest project or someone you featured will contact you to thank you. You might even meet future business partners as a consequence of a post about a conference you’re going to. Blogging about broader industry subjects rather than just your business can lead you to all sorts of unexpected places.

6. Blogging lets you show off!

If you don’t tell people about your achievements, how else are they going to find out about your latest award or big contract? Focusing on how great you are can come across as arrogant, but if you talk about what you learned from the process and even talk about what went wrong, you’ll be offering something genuinely useful to your readers – and makes it more likely they’ll come back to find out what you’re up to next. Talking about your successes also establishes you as a genuine business, rather than some start up with no history and little experience. This makes it easier for clients to trust you when it comes to choosing who they spend money with.

7. Blogging lets you create lead magnets

When you tie your blog to your emailing list, you open up a world of opportunities. Although your main goal might be to see a high rate of conversion, if your customers aren’t quite ready to move forward, you should at least aim to have them stay in touch until they are. Get someone to sign up to your email list and you can send regular content with links to your blog posts so they remember your products and services when the time comes to spend money. One of the best ways to get readers to opt in to your email list is to offer a lead magnet, i.e. a free gift as a thank you for signing up. However, different people want different things and it’s rare that a single lead magnet will suit all customers. If someone finds your site through your blog, you can tailor lead magnets according to the content they find. If they come to a post about increasing conversion, you can offer a new client checklist. If they’re reading a post about building stronger teams, the lead magnet on that page could be a short e-book with teambuilding exercises.

8. Blogging improves your search rankings

Obviously, more content means more opportunities to appear in search engines, but there are other benefits to regular blogging.
Put simply, the more frequently you update your site, the more often search engine crawlers come to your site, meaning your new content is going to be indexed faster. This is particularly good if you’ve got some news you want to share, since it means your audience has a greater chance of being told about it sooner. Regular updates through your blog reassures search engines that your site is active and up to date.
What’s more, if another site links back to yours, this also boosts your search rankings. Every blog post you publish has the potential to be linked on another site and people are far more likely to link to an informative or interesting blog post than they will your sales page.

How to Kickstart your Blog

Now that you’ve seen how useful a blog can be to your business, you’re probably wondering about the best way to get started.

a) Use WordPress

Many SMEs use WordPress as their content management system of choice when developing a website because it offers a high degree of functionality combined with cost effectiveness. WordPress themes generally come with inbuilt blog functionality, which makes it easy to add a blog to a site at a very affordable price.

b) Produce great content

Once your blog is set up, your focus will shift to producing blog posts that generate leads and attract traffic. What makes great content will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve, but there are a few things to bear in mind:

• Know your target market. If you know who you’re talking to, you can make sure that your content matches what they want. If you don’t know where to start, think about who your clients have been in the past, how you solved their problems and what kind of clients you want in the future.

• Build up a bank of topics. Rather than waiting to sit down to write to think about your subject, put together a list of ideas you can pick and choose from. If you are stuck for ideas, think about your customer’s FAQs. What do they ask when they first contact you? How do you help them? Try looking back over old emails for inspiration and the ideas will soon start flowing.

• Find your voice. What does this mean? It’s simply the way in which you talk to your customers. A financial business is likely to take a more formal tone than a company which hires out bouncy castles. Think about how you would talk to your customers in real life and use that as a starting point. Over time, your voice will emerge as you get a sense of what your clients expect from you.

• Experiment with content. You don’t have to write thousands of words to produce a good blog post. You might like to put out a list, provide a summary of latest industry news, write a how-to guide, etc. You could even focus more on images than text, especially if your business is one that is very visual.

• Build blogging into your marketing routine. Don’t over commit yourself to begin with – it’s better to start small and work your way up. Decide on how often you’re going to blog every week, choose a good day to release posts and decide on a topic or theme for each day. If you know what you have to do and when, it’s much easier to get your blogging done.

• Consider outsourcing. If you really don’t think you have the time or talent to blog, don’t be afraid to outsource the job. As an experienced content marketer, my team and I can take care of your blog for you, tailoring my services to suit your budget and business goals, so you know your blog is in safe hands.

Does your business have a blog? If not, what’s stopped you setting it up? Do you need extra support? If so, get in touch and see how I can help you with your blog.

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