A question we regularly get when we are scoping out a website development project with a client is “Why the Blog?”. The question is usually driven by a doubt in the business owner. The doubt can be in terms of time. Many, many, many business owners are time poor and their thought of adding another task to the working week, writing blog content, is too daunting to pass the cost/benefit test. Another doubt could be that of confidence. Does the business owner have the confidence in their ability as a writer, or to risk baring their knowledge of their own subject matter. A third doubt is possible material. Does the business have anything to write about at all?
I’m here to help quell all three of these doubts. But first we need to frame the benefit side of the economical equation. Does the benefit of blogging outweigh the costs in time, perceived reputation risk, and effort of coming up with content.
The benefits of blogging are many and they are evolving. I wrote about the benefits of blogging almost 5 years ago. A lot has changed in digital marketing and within our own markets over that time. Some things have also stayed the same, such is consumer psychology. Here’s what we see as benefits of maintaining a blog in 2019.
SEO Benefits of Blogging
Blog content casts your keyword net wider. It allows for the website to contain more and varied keywords relating to your business that users might search for. The more pages with unique URLs in your website, the more content there is for search engines to index and, the more likely you are to increase your keyword relevance on your core services. Search engines also reward sites that have regular new content being added to their website, it is a mark of relevance and recency, and therefore, value. Lastly, your blog articles may be useful enough for other websites to refer to via backlinks, this a great thing for SEO.
Give Your Business Personality
People, particularly in Australia, buy the person as much as the product. Having a blog facilitates the delivery of the personality of the business owner, staff member, or the tone of the business itself, whoever is the author(s) of your articles. Because your blog posts shouldn’t be written in an academic style, they should be written to be easy to read and understand, you have the opportunity to inject your values, sense of humour, or your out-of-office likes into the content. Particularly if your products or services are fairly static, your blog is your opportunity to humanise what you do, and therefore your brand.
Social Media Benefits
Social Media isn’t going away any time soon. Consumers are using social media channels more and more to make and support purchasing decisions. Running a blog on your business website is an obvious source for your social media content. Promoting your blog posts via social media, and also via your email newsletters, increases the reach of your content and basically gives you content to work the channels with. To increase your audience, increase your brand exposure and generate associations with your brand with your products or services.
Five years ago, I called this trust, and they are related. You are not going to use your blog to talk about yourself or your business itself, but of issues in your industry, new products, features and benefits of your solutions, the problems you are solving for your consumers. Over time and with frequency, your blog posts accumulate to build authority in your subjects of expertise, and this authority is transferred to your brand, your products, and services, in the form of trust. Trust is a major influencer of buying decisions, so the more authority you have in your field, the more likely people are to purchase from you over your competitors.
Keep Your Website Fresh
When people shop online, they are quite often comparing you to your competitors, some of this comparison is superficial, for example, whose website looks the best or is easiest to use. Another factor is how recent and “with it” it purports to be. One way of looking contemporary is via a blog which by definition has date stamped posts. If your website has a feed or blog article thumbnails, headings, and dates on the home page, and those dates are at least within the last month, then you look up to date and “live” as opposed to more static or out dated competitors.
So now we have some compelling benefits, let’s alleviate those doubts.
Do You Have the Time?
Can you really not find an hour in your week to work on some content? Have a look at your daily schedule or routine and time block a weekly session that is dedicated to writing content. If you really can’t fit this in your week, you might consider delegating to other staff members. There are other advantages of this in creating a fuller presentation of the personality of your business via the voice of one or more staff members. I quite enjoy sharing the blogging load for our business with Jes, our writing styles are different, and because we are demographically very different, our viewpoints will inevitably differ in positive ways. Steve May shares his blog content responsibility around his team quite well – have a look here. If you share the load, there is more time between sessions to work on what you are going to write about as well. Lastly, there are also companies like ours which can take the seeds of your content and turn it into a search engine friendly, easy to read blog post for you on a regular basis, and then help with promotion and distribution.
Do You Lack Confidence?
A lack of confidence should not be a barrier as there are many sources of help. However, before we talk about help, I want to urge you to try. The world needs more written words about every topic. The best way to overcome this fear of failure or embarrassment is to just write. No one can see your words until they are published or shared. The act of writing in itself loosens the required brain power and you will be surprised what comes out. It is also handy to realise that you are not writing to win a Pulitzer Prize, people visiting your website or following your social media account are already interested in what you have to say. Say it like you would at a BBQ or on the shop floor to a customer, you are the subject matter expert, so you have nothing to fear. In terms of help, again, you can share around your staff or use an agency to turn your “raw” content into a search engine friendly, easy to read, blog article.
Do You Lack Material?
I have not found a business yet that couldn’t come up with at least three blog posts per month containing useful and relevant content. If you can think of one, please point them out to me, I do like a challenge. Blog content can emerge from the frequently asked questions you receive day to day, new products or new features, a product focus on an existing product, case studies of clients who have had their problems solved by solutions you provided, issues in your industry, recipes, events, how-to guides, milestones, the list can go on.
So. What are you waiting for? Time to get writing, or delegating, and start your blogging journey. If you do need a hand with implementing any of the above, please get in touch.