[Estimated reading time: 6 Minutes]
Is blogging for your business really worth it? What are the advantages of blogging?
A few weeks we discussed the downsides of blogging for business. We talked about the time it took, content shock, your peers thinking you are mad and more.
But it’s not all bad news. In fact, it’s mostly good news. There are many advantages of blogging and they outweigh the disadvantages by far.
Listen below to discover 10 advantages of blogging for your business:
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1. SEO – Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation is tough and it’s getting tougher. There is such an abundance of content on the Internet that ranking for even long tail keywords is an art. If you are trying to appear on page one of search engines and you don’t have a blog you’re going to find it even harder.
When you blog you are regularly adding content to your website that can be optimised for keywords related to your business. You have more opportunity to rank for more search terms than a site without a blog.
If like me you’ve been neglecting SEO there’s no time like the present to start. Start with Google Keyword Planner and make a list of keywords you need to target with your post.
I recommend using the Yoast plugin to ensure you are optimising your posts for the keywords you choose to target.
2. Build trust
What sort of link are you most likely to click the first time you encounter a business on social media?
1. A product post encouraging you to buy
2. A link to download an ebook in return for you email address
3. A link to an interesting article relating to something that interests you
4. The homepage of their website
I’d hazard a guess that most people would choose number 3. Why? Because there’s no commitment, but you are getting something valuable in return for your click.
People are cautious of doing business with people they haven’t encountered before. You need to build trust before they buy. Blogging is the ideal way to start building this trust.
Remember it’s the value that is important. If your blog isn’t offering anything entertaining, educational or helpful it’s going to be harder to attract readers.
3. Establish expertise
I love it when a customers get in touch and tell me they had a look at my blog and decided that I knew what I’m talking about. It proves to me that my blogging is working.
Consider it from a customers point of view. Static websites may tell people that they know what they are talking about ‘We have 20 years experience in the industry’ but your blog shows them you know your stuff.
4. Brand building
There’s been an upsurge of larger companies blogging. One of my favourites is the Ryan Air blog.
Up until recently, the Ryan Air brand was about cheap flights and bad customer service. They didn’t use social media and relied on traditional media and controversy to sell flights. Michael O’Leary famously said
“Are we going to say sorry for our lack of customer service? Absolutely not.”
Then everything changed, they rebranded and have shifted 180 degrees on customer service. One big signal of this change is their blog ‘Into the blue’, a resource for anyone travelling to the destinations the airline serves.
Look at your blog, does it represent the core values of your business? Are you helpful? An expert? A news provider? A go-to resource? Does it represent your business as a brand?
If you are clear with your strategy you’ll find that you will attract more of the right customers that will begin to build affinity with your business.
Do you have a frequently asked questions page on your site? These are a great resource for your customer but instead of just including a few sterile lines answering you customers most common questions why not expand these into blog posts?
This has many advantages:
1. When customers get in touch via email or online you can direct them to your post to answer the question. This not only gives them the answer but it drives them back to your site where they can buy, book or browse some more.
2. You’ll feel more comfortable answering customer queries face to face or on the phone as you will have spent time working out the best way to answer the question for your blog.
3. You will get found in search for similar queries. If people are asking the question by email and phone they are also asking search engines.
If you have a FAQ page on your site go take a look at it, are there longer blog posts you can write for each section? Do you have posts that cover those topics already that you can link to?
6. Educating your audience
This blogging advantage was suggested by Elaine Rogers VA.
Jargon is confusing and each industry has its own set. For me it’s SEO, WCA, PPC and so on. These terms may seem familiar to me but for customers, they can seem confusing.
Where do we go when we want to know what a phrase or acronym means? Search engines. Some of my top blog posts have been describing terms like ‘CPM’ & ‘Meta-Data’.
Google have given us a new tools that can help us rank at the top of search results when we provide this information. Structured data and rich snippets.
Have you searched on Google for the meaning of a phrase recently? You’ll often find that the top slot is given over to a ‘rich snippet’ from a website. It will stand out from the rest of the results and display the full answer on the page.
Here’s what I see when I search for ‘What is CPM’. Google is prioritising a snippet from a site that gives the precise answer.
This doesn’t happen automatically, you have to do some work on the back-end of your site. I’ll be covering this in a future episode of this podcast but if you want to get started straight away here’s a guide from Google.
7. Extending your reach
Social media is a great source of word of mouth marketing.
Before the internet became interactive we had to ask our friends for recommendations either directly or in small groups. We still ask our friends but the size of our audience has changed. When customers are pleased with our services they’ll tell their friends on Facebook or recommend us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Blogging gives them the opportunity to talk about us even more. You can’t expect your customers to tell their friends how great you are every week but you can give them fresh content to share once a week.
According to Nielson “Eighty-three percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family”
If you can get customers talking about you, they are extending your reach and helping you build trusted relationships.
8. Additional income
Of course, the main focus of you blog has to be making sales for your business but you can also make a bit of extra money on the side from your blog.
I run a few affiliate schemes on my blog, always to trusted services. The money I make from these goes towards paying my hosting and website costs for the year.
Tread carefully when you monetise your blogs. You don’t want to lose a reader’s trust in exchange for a few extra bucks. If you do run affiliates ensure you are 100% happy to endorse the product. If you chose to run ads make sure they are a good fit for your customers.
9. Researching and upskilling
Thanks to Naomi from Dr Howe’s Science Wows for this one.
This is one of the biggest advantages of blogging for me. My need to share interesting information with my readers on a weekly basis has meant that I’ve had to keep learning and upskilling.
Blogging for my business has made me watch webinars, try new things, go to conferences, read books. I’m better at what I do as a result. This benefit of blogging isn’t about the reader at all, it’s not about website traffic or customers it’s about self-growth.
10. Improves your writing
Both Marie Ennis O’Connor and Eleanor Goold Hiscox championed this.
Writing a blog post once a week or once a month will improve your writing. Just by committing to writing once a week my skills are improving and that means it’s not just my blog posts that are improving, it’s my emails, my social media posts, my quotations, everything.
Bonus – Reaching people not on social
It’s unusual to find someone who doesn’t use some form of social media but they are out there. The same way there were always families that chose not to have a TV when I was a child there are those who have decided not to use social media.
I have a friend like this, although he refuses to use social media sites he still relies on Google to find the information he uses.
This friend has a very distinctive name. If I search for him online I find that he’s quite an active blog commenter. Don’t’ leave those who don’t use social media out, leave commenting open on your blog so you can connect with them there and attract them with your content.
I had a much longer list of blogging advantages but I’ve distilled it down for this post. What else should I have included? What am I missing. Leave me a comment and let me know.
Do you believe in Karma? If so I highly recommend that you go over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review on this podcast, you never know what wonderful things might happen in return.
If you’ve been following my challenges or if you have done something on your blog that has worked well I’d love to hear about it. You can leave me a comment below, tweet me @spiderworking or snap me @spiderworking.
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