- Internet & the Web
Does Your Business Need a Blog?
Business blogging is a hot trend. But, do you really need a blog? After all, it can be time consuming to start a blog, and you may be concerned your technical or writing skills are inadequate for the task. To be successful, a blog should be to be updated regularly with fresh content. So, given these disadvantages, what is in it for you?
Business blogs can:
- Increase your customer reach
- Generate new leads
- Supplement your cash flow
- Improve communications with clients and employees
- Skyrocket your search engine results
Let's discuss each of these and see how you can leverage a blog about your business to help your business grow and prosper.
Grows Your Audience and Customer Base
A business blog strengthens relationships with your current clientele and is an effective way to attract potential customers. With a blog, you can answer common questions and objections about your product or services and establish trust with your customers and prospects. The best salesperson you never have to pay a salary is a satisfied customer, so consider allowing your customers to post comments and reviews about your brand.
How Customer Reviews Benefit Your Blog
Because the praise and positive comments come from third parties, it creates credibility for your brand and builds your reputation.
As a bonus, these customers may post about your business on their own blogs or websites or share your content on their social media outlets, which translates into free advertising for you.
Lastly, these reviews will make your site sticky - in other words, your visitors will stay on your site longer because of the interesting content.
Blogs Establish You as an Expert
Weave in facts about your credentials, but do talk about your employees and their expertise as well as yours. Discuss what your products do and how they benefit the potential purchasers. As your customers learn how your products or services add value, they come to trust in you as an expert in your field.
Good Communication Tool
Blog content is a less formal communication tool for interacting with customers and employees.
It can be difficult to convey the right tone in email messages and sales letters can become annoying or turn off your clientele.
Blogging is a non-intrusive way to get people to notice and listen to your marketing messages.
Blogs as Income Streams
Blogging about your business can be another income stream if you monetize your blog with advertisements from advertising programs like:
- Google Adsense
- Chitika eMiniMalls
- Text Link Ads
Affiliate Marketing - Another Revenue Stream
Affiliate programs are another easy way to make money from your business blogs. Companies with affiliate programs pay you for selling their products and services, so you can choose programs that complement your product line and make additional money.
Some good affiliate programs are:
- Commission Junction
Conversely, you could create your own affiliate program (depending on your brand) and allow others to sell your products on their websites. With either method, a blog is a good way to advertise your relationship as an affiliate marketer.
Profiting on Intellectual Properties
Other ways of monetizing your blog include selling intellectual property like:
- ebooks or workbooks
- Tutorials or classes
- White papers
- Fact sheets
- Coaching or consulting sessions
If you would prefer, you can give these items away instead of selling them, and later, we'll discuss ways you can use these to generate more leads.
Blog or Website? Which is Best for You?
Monetize Your Blog
Here's three ways to make money with a business blog:
- Advertising programs
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling intellectual property products
Blogs Provide Residual Income
There are many one-off things that grow your business but they must be performed repeatedly or you must find new ways to add profitability.
The beauty of blogging is in the long-term, residual benefits. Write a blog post today about your business, and it will put money in your pocket for years to come.
As posts age, they typically rank better in search results, which gives you more exposure and potential leads, and they usually get shared on social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, all of which boost search engine results even higher. Investing in blog posts is a good way to get a high ROI for your time and effort.
Improves Your SERPs
Adding blog posts to your website adds more pages for search engine indexing. By increasing your search engine results through an organic method like this, you increase your site's page ranking.
Be Number One
Your goal is to get your blog posts on page one of Google search results. In this technology-focused business environment, most people use the web to find the products and services they need, and most of them use Google as their search engine of choice according to Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Land. Being prominent in search results gives you a heads-up over your competition.
Better Conversion Rates
Getting more traffic to your site is good, but converting those visitors to customers is even better. Business blogs are invaluable tools for conversion because you can share information about the benefits of your product and services, establish yourself as an expert in your industry, engage the prospects' emotions, and create credibility.
Inexpensive lead generation tool
Add a call to action to each of your blog posts. Attach a free offer to the call to action and a link to a landing page where prospects exchange their information to get their freebie. You can give away a free sample or free trial, or offer one of the items mentioned earlier as ways to produce other income streams such as a free ebook or tutorial.
Blogging for Lead Generation
Generating leads by search engines results is inexpensive; hiring an SEO expert is expensive. Lead generation by social media, SEO or blogging lowers your lead costs by about 61% according to Melissa Miller, Marketing Operations Manager for HubSpot.
If you spend advertising dollars on email, yellow pages, direct mail or banner ads, you might want to consider redirecting some of those funds into a blog for your business.
WordPress, Blogger, and Typepad all offer easy blogging tools. If you need to monetize your blog with advertising or affiliate marketing programs, check out the blog's terms of service before making your commitment. For example, when you compare WordPress.com versus WordPress.org, you will discover a WordPress.com blog cannot be monetized.
Business Blog Topics
If you're wondering what you would blog about, the possibilities are almost limitless. Readers want their questions answered, their problems solved, and their lives improved by your product or service, so tell them how your company can do this. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:
- The history of your company or products
- Tips and tricks for benefiting from your products
- Information about the types of techniques you use
- Facts about how you manufacture your products
Other topics could be:
- Stories about how customers are using your products
- Stories about how you give back to the community or your company's social consciousness
- Industry awards and accolades
Provide guides to your goods:
- Particulars about your products' strengths and weakness
- Guide to who should use your product, who should not use your product
Finally, use your blog to introduce new products, industry trends and technology updates, or announce sales and special promotions.
Learn How to Make a Blog
Disadvantages of Business Blogs
While blogs can add value to a business or brand, they do have their drawbacks. As mentioned earlier, it takes time to create and populate a blog with content. Content has to be fresh to keep your visitors engaged and returning to your site.
Fortunately, you can overcome these challenges easily. Just as you would hire an advertising agency to manage your business advertising campaign, you can hire content marketing companies to start and maintain your blog.
Alternatively, you could start your own blog but hire freelance writers to provide your content. Some reliable companies to consider for content marketing services are Rock The Deadline or MediaShower. If you prefer to hire your own writers, you could place an ad for freelance writers on a site like ProBlogger.
To Blog or Not to Blog?
Does your business need a blog or not?
Why Your Business Needs Blog
Let's recap how having a blog benefits your business:
- Increases your market share
- Establishes your credentials as an expert in your field
- Improves customer and employee communications and relationships
- Provides you with residual income
- Improves your SERPs
Whether you build a blog yourself or contract the job to others, there many benefits to adding a blog to your business marketing plan.
Miller, Melissa, "Inbound Leads Cost 61% Less Than Outbound [New Data], HubSpot, 2/28/2012, accessed 01/02/2015, http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31555/Inbound-Leads-Cost-61-Less-Than-Outbound-New-Data.aspx
Volpe, Mike, "Why Your Business Must Be on the First Page of Google," HubSpot, accessed 01/02/2015, http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/3386/Why-Your-Business-Must-Be-on-the-First-Page-of-Google.aspx
Sullivan, Danny, "Google Still World's Most Popular Search Engine By Far, But Share of Unique Searchers Dips Slightly," Search Engine Land, 02/11/2013, accessed 01/02/2015, http://searchengineland.com/google-worlds-most-popular-search-engine-148089
© 2015 Donna Cosmato