According to Hubspot’s 2015 State of Inbound Survey, 60% of businesses who blog acquire more customers and are three times more likely to see a higher return on investment (ROI) using inbound marketing. Not only is business blogging inbound marketing at its finest but having a business blog is one of the easiest and cheapest business investments for the amount of reward received in return.
To gain a higher understanding of what a business blog is and why you should have one for your business, I’ll start with the basics and work through the reasons your business should have its own blog.
What is a Business Blog?
A business blog is a highly effective communication tool for connecting with customers, peers and prospects while providing a platform for information, opinions and ideas.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing draws people to you instead of you going out to find them. Outbound marketing is the traditional sense of marketing. It’s pushing ads, commercials and sales emails on people through all forms of media, including magazines, TV, movies and online.
Inbound marketing is much gentler. You write blogs, post articles on other sites with links back to your site and use social media. You work to answer questions and solve problems for people who are looking for your answers and solutions. Inbound marketing is permission based instead of thrusting it on people the way you would with outbound marketing.
And because people are looking for answers and solutions, they are much more receptive to what you have to say. Especially if you have set yourself up as a trusted authority by giving high-quality answers and solutions.
What Do I Need for a Successful Blog Post?
A successful business blog post needs to do more than meet the needs of your audience. It also needs to convince your readers to take action. It needs to entice them to keep coming back.
Every blog post should include high-quality, readable content, a call to action, a contact form, effectively used SEO and engage your readers in conversation.Readers also tend to prefer that your posts include different types of multi-media. If your blog post is not meeting these requirements then it probably is not a successful post for your business.
Just remember, the Internet is full of information. You have to find a way to convince your readers that your information is what they want.
What Does Blogging Do For My Business?
Blogging gives your business a voice while allowing you to position yourself as a trusted authority in your field or industry. It also helps drives traffic to your website and business while encouraging your clients to interact with you. Your business gains a personality and feels more personal, which not only humanizes your brand but increases your likeability.
Organic traffic (traffic gained without buying) is the ultimate goal of every website. The top three ways to organically drive traffic to your business website are:
- Social Media
- Search Engines
Adding a business blog to your company website gives you the natural ability to link all three types to your site with little effort, giving you the opportunity to engage with your customers across several platforms.
How Often Do I Have to Post?
The key to effective business blogging is regular consistent posting. While more is better, consistency is also very important because readers learn when to expect your posts.
Hubspot research data shows that blogs which posted 16 or more posts per month received more than three times the amount of traffic than blogs which only posted four times a month.
An active business blog improves conversion rates from readers to leads by showing people your company is alive and well. Not updating regularly is actually worse than not having a blog because it leads people to believe your business may no longer be in operation.
Crap Versus Quality
One of the most important parts of blogging is to offer high-quality, relevant, useful and readable content. Your posts must give valuable information and education that goes above and beyond your reader’s expectations. As a result, customers gain confidence in both you and your product because you are providing them with useful information and education.
Tossing up low-quality, keyword stuffed crap is not going to do you or your business any favors. In fact, you will probably see a drop in readership followed by a drop in confidence in you and your product. Not to mention, Google will penalize you. Once again, having no blog is better than having one which pushes out crap blog posts. You are better off producing one high-quality blog per month, than just publishing for the sake of publishing.
And while a post might contain plenty of high-quality information, it must also be readable. Readers tend to prefer content written in a friendly, knowledgeable, easy-to-read voice. Write for your audience and avoid putting them to sleep. For example, if you use highly technical terms and your audience is a bunch of geeks you’re in the right place, but if you’re trying to tell a soccer mom how to set up her new parenting blog, she will probably move on to another site.
How Do I Convert Readers into Leads?
The easiest way to convert your readers into leads is to place calls for action within your blog posts. Ask them to do something, whether it’s to sign up for your newsletter or business blog or offer them something free. People like the word free and will easily trade their email in exchange for a free e-book on how to do something or somehow improves their life.
Make sure a contact and blog sign-up form is available on every page. You want to make it easy to get in touch with you or to sign up because people are lazy. If they have to go search for it, they will probably get distracted and forget to do it. You don’t have to make the forms very large, just convenient and available. After all, one of the most valuable things you can gain from a business blog is a high-quality email list of people who are actually interested in you and your products.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Increase your search engine rankings by using effective SEO methods in your blog posts. Regular posting, keywords, keyword phrases, metadata and alt tags are how search engines find you and rank you. Effectively using them will increase your search engine rankings and make it easier for the search engine spiders to find you.
Optimize your content for search engine ranking by adding relevant keywords or keyword phrases to the titles, headers, descriptions (metadata), body content, URLs, photo captions and alt tags. Just don’t oversaturate. Also, make sure your content reads naturally. It’s better to sacrifice using keywords than to make your content feel forced.
If you need help choosing relevant keywords and keyword phrases, use a keyword tool, such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Wordstreams keyword tool. You can also put your topic into a search box and pay attention to the keywords used by high-ranking sites.
How Long Do My Posts Need to Be?
According to Snap Agency, a well-written post ranging between 1,600 and 2,500 words or seven to 10 minutes of reading gains the best user engagement. And I’m not talking about keyword-stuffed fluff pieces. The best business blog posts are relevant and written to educate or entertain the reader.
That being said, your readers have a very short attention span. According to Tony Haile, the CEO of Chartbeat, the average user spends 15 seconds on a page. Information overload is a real threat on the web and readers just aren’t taking the time to read crappy posts. Load your posts with valuable information written well enough to keep your readers’ attention or they will go looking somewhere else.
And then again, the length of your posts could depend on your subject. Readers of recipe blogs are constantly mentioning they would rather bloggers just give them the recipe, not writing long-winded posts about their day, kids or whatever.
Google’s search engines need at least 300 words for indexing. So even a photo blog needs well-written captions, headers and alt tags to ensure excellent SEO indexing.
Whatever word length you pick is fine as long as you have something valuable to say to your readers and you say it without a lot of added fluff. Get to the point, don’t waste your readers’ time.
Should I Write My Own Business Blog?
It depends! If you have a way with words and have the time to produce your own high-quality posts, then you can write your own blog posts. If you cannot produce the high-quality posts relevant to your readers, you might be better off having someone else write them for you.
You have several choices when having someone else write your blog posts. You can allow people to guest post on your platform. Or you can use freelance writers or hire a company writer who works in-house. When using someone else, you will need to make sure they can match the voice and message of your business.
Also, paying competitive rates works to gain you experienced professionals who are happy to work with you. Taking advantage of freelance writers may help you save money in the beginning but being able to keep one writer for keeping the same tone, voice and message long-term on your site is preferable over having to keep looking for new writers to ensure dependable business blog postings.
What Other Benefits Do I Gain from Having a Business Blog?
Business blogs also give several other benefits for your business. You can use it to test for the success of a sales campaign before investing money in marketing. They offer free PR and give insight to who your customers are and what they paying attention to when you see your site analytics. Blogs can even help you in retaining customers, which costs much less than acquiring new ones.
At the end of the day, your blog is only as good as the effort you put into it. The main thing to remember about blogging is that if you’re not benefiting others, then you cannot expect them to help you. Take the time and your blog will reward you with quality business leads from your readers.
Please contact me with questions and comments about your blog, setting up a blog or writing high-quality blog posts for you. I am more than happy to help.