Are you a small-to-medium enterprise that’s struggling to get your name through the online sieve and out to potential customers?
Online marketing is a tricky business. Quite often, small businesses are hesitant to invest time and money into the digital space because they don’t understand the benefits, especially the rewards of blogging.
If you’re not regularly blogging as part of your marketing efforts, you should be. What I’m talking about is a real commitment to blogging (even if you hate it), not the arbitrary upload-to-your-website-every-couple-of-weeks-or-months. Remember, though, one fantastic blog article is more valuable in the marketplace than a hundred low quality posts created for the sake of filling space. Maintaining a quality blog is almost essential in today’s digital environment.
Here are 3 reasons why:
Reason to blog 1 – Blogs are the centrepiece of content marketing
Sources: ContentMarketingInstitute, SocialMediaExaminer, Aberdeen
Content is a modern marvel for online marketing, and blogs, if created and marketed correctly, can be a powerful marketing tool. Billions of lines of content are published on the web every day, with each one meticulously edited to fulfill a brand’s planned out, unified strategy. Think of your online marketing plan as a house, and your blog entries as the load-bearing beams. High quality, frequent and tactical ‘load-bearing blogs’ should act as the foundation of your entire strategy -- not stand-alone obligations. They multiply your website traffic, generate quality leads and improve your ranking in search engines more efficiently than any other type of marketing.
These days, blogs should rarely be written to generate sales; rather, they are excellent at building brand awareness and authority on a subject. Blogs play the long game—cultivate an audience, and make yourself known to that audience as accessible and knowledgeable. The handful of sales that you might generate from an advertisement disguised as a blog aren’t as valuable as both a dialog with dedicated customers, and the SEO potential of a well-written and informative article.
Reason to blog 2 – Blogs are also social media
Sources: AOL, ContentPlus, Captora
Blogs don’t exist in isolation. Clicking "Post" doesn’t mean that you’ve got the most from your content. As a platform that encourages discussion and sharing, blog entries and articles should be optimised for reader participation. Customers today want to both interact with businesses as they do with their friends, and involve their friends in the content with which they’re engaging. Your business is more like a real person than ever. The same principles that apply in to social situations in the real world, now apply to blogs and social media -- the more people who are interested in you, the more appealing you will become to others.
Instead of viewing blog entries as a mandatory chore, think of yourself as a host, and a blog as the conversation starter at a dinner party. You want to pique your intended audience’s interest right away. You want to be well informed so that people will listen to what you’re saying. Most of all, you want to get the flow of dialog going. For example, Buzzfeed-style ‘Top 10…’ articles are social media magnets. If done well, they’re a simple way to encourage sharing and comment.
Reason to blog 3 – Blogs support SEO
Sources: HubSpot, TrafficGenerationCafe
From a technical perspective, blogs (good blogs, that is) also happen to increase your searchability. Google ranks ‘high quality websites’ more favourably than others. What exactly constitutes a "high quality website?" In Google’s own words: good content. If your business is posting a consistent flow of well-written, original and relevant blog entries, you’re much more likely to get found through a search than a competitor that puts up any old post once every month.
For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, you could post an article exploring the latest summer looks. If you focus on the keywords best, summer, outfits and 2015 (without going overboard), this expands the range of potential organic searches for your website beyond your usual keywords of perhaps buy, clothes and online. Even if these searchers aren’t going to generate sales, you’re still building your online presence and getting people interested in your content. A well-written blog is your main source of links and shares on social media, which dramatically increases traffic to, and ranking of, your website.
You have to remember, however, blogs shouldn’t be a tool for keyword cramming. Your blog needs to educate, inform or entertain its readers. A great blog can have higher chances of being shared, liked, referred and remembered.
Bloggers, what have you found to be the greatest benefits of content creation for small-medium business? What about all you non-blogging SMEs out there; what keeps you from putting pen to paper (metaphorically)? Today, more than ever, your knowledge alone can be invaluable when marketing your business online. Get to typing!