Business blogging is a low-cost highly-effective marketing channel. Making a blog part of an existing corporate website is easy … while writing and publishing posts costs little other than time and effort.
The return on that minimal investment, however, can be immense.
The marketing benefits of blogging include:
- Increasing website visits
- Free publicity through social media
- Inbound links that boost SE rankings
- Harvesting the value of long-tail search queries
- Improving leads and conversions
- Enhancing authority and credibility
- Fostering and strengthening relationships
- Improving insights into your audience
- Boosting awareness of brand, products and services
- Improving business focus
Increasing website visits
Search engines love fresh content. Every time you write and upload a blog post, you are publishing another page on your corporate website that can be indexed by search engines.
At the same time, you have the opportunity to include, in your copy, the keywords and phrases that increase you visibility on search engine results pages.
Thus each blog post improves the chances that you will get organic traffic from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
And if the posts you add are news-related, you are likely to get exposure in ‘trending’ searches.
In addition, when content is added to your website, more internal links are set up. This creates more pathways for search engine crawlers and spreads PageRank throughout your site more effectively.
Enhancing corporate visibility in this way keeps your company’s name in the minds of your audience so the next time they need a product or service you supply they are more likely to turn to your first.
But increasing website visits through blogging is not just effective in the short-term. It also increases website visits in the long term.
In the opinion of researchers, about 70% of the traffic generated each month by blogging comes from old posts, ie articles published in previous months. These are called compounding posts.
Suppose you publish a blog post today and get 100 views. Tomorrow you get 50, and the next day 25 more (say) … and so on, so that by the end of the week you have 200 views. If 10% heed your call-to-action, you should have 20 leads. Is that it?
Not by a long shot. Your post is now ranking in search engines. This means that for several months (or even years) to come, you will continue to get fresh traffic from that post.
Free publicity through social media
Every time you publish a blog post, you are providing content that people can share on social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest or simply by emailing a link to their friends and colleagues.
This kind of free publicity is likely to expose your business to a new audience that does not yet know about your company, its products or services. In other words, blogging helps you get discovered via social media when your audience likes what you publish enough to want to share it.
But you don’t have to rely on your audience to share your blog on social media. You yourself can put links to a post on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc, and thereby increase traffic to your website.
Blog posts also provide ready-made content for newsletters.
Inbound links that boost search engine rankings
Search engines love inbound links, ie links from other authoritative sites to your web pages or posts.
When you add new content that is seen as a resource by other bloggers and media, these writers and commentators will start to refer to that content in their own articles and posts, by creating links from their blogs to it.
These links from authoritative sources help boost your rankings in search engine results. Thus they can result in significant amounts of traffic being referred to your site.
Harvesting the value of long-tail search queries
A long-tail search phrase is a highly specific search phrase, several words long. It is called long-tail because it is usually longer than regular search phrases.
For example … suppose you sell T-shirts. T-shirts would be a standard very general search phrase (aka head phrase) for your business. T-shirts with a picture of Elvis would be a long-tail search phrase, ie a highly specific key phrase.
Another example … Jim’s Dry cleaners would be a head search phrase for a dry-cleaning business. How to get grease stains out of a shirt would be a long-tail search phrase.
About 70% of all searches using Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc are long-tail search queries.
Long-tail searches are much more valuable to a business than head searches … because they convert better. Most people who enter a highly-specific query into a search engine already know exactly what they want and are ready to buy, ie they are well and truly pre-qualified.
This means that a collection of long-tail search phrases will generate more revenue than a head phrase.
Having more content is the best way to rank well for long-tail queries … the more content you add, the better your chances of ranking well for the less competitive but more valuable search phrases … provided that content answers specific queries for your target audience.
Improving leads and conversions
Website traffic, of course, is not much good unless it converts into leads and conversions.
Each post you publish is an opportunity to generate leads. And all you have to do is to add a lead-generating call-to-action (CtA) to the post.
A lead-generating CtA is one which offers an incentive such as a free ebook, whitepaper, webinar, factsheet etc to anyone who clicks on a button.
Here’s the scenario:
- Surfer reads your blog post
- Sees CtA for free offer
- Clicks free-offer button
- Surfer taken to landing page
- Sees form to be fill in to get free offer
- Fills in form with contact details
- Surfer receives free offer
Now you have your lead (the surfer’s contact details) and, if the freebee was worthwhile, you also have a receptive prospect.
According to industry sources, businesses with more than 400 pages of content on their websites get six times more leads than those with less than 100 pages … ie, the more you blog, the more leads you get.
Once you have the leads, you have the opportunity to convert these into sales or other desired outcomes.
Enhancing authority and credibility
The best business blogs answer the questions customers and prospects have.
Indeed, a well-run interestingly-written blog that caters to the information needs of your target audience will build your company’s authority and credibility.
The information needs of business audiences vary from industry to industry. Nevertheless, how-to and why-do blogs that answer specific questions relating to particular products, services or conditions in your sector are always very popular with customers and prospects.
Whatever the needs of your audience, your blog has to establish your corporate team as the go-to-experts for your particular niche. Doing so has several advantages:
- If prospects have found answers to their questions in your posts, they are likely to trust what you have to say when the sales process begins.
- Selling will be easier because, having read your posts, prospects will know more about your company and the products and services you have to offer.
- You will have an archive of blog posts that can be used to provide explanations for specific questions which will help move the sales process along quicker than usual.
The authority and credibility you get from blogging can lead to your people being viewed by journalists as “industry experts”.
Answering the questions for a journalist can result in significant amounts of free publicity when your comments are published … provided you ensure that the information you provide is attributed to you in the journalist’s article.
Fostering and strengthening relationships
Blogging is a great way to foster relationships with customers and prospects … provided, of course, that you are giving them the relevant information they need and want.
To develop these relationships you need to get a conversation going. You do that by asking readers questions at the end of a post and/or by providing a feedback or comments form at the bottom of the page.
You must, of course, respond to your readers’ comments in order to get a two-way conversation going with customers, prospects and industry peers.
In this way you will build up a rapport with them, develop trust and credibility and gain valuable insights into their needs and what they are looking for.
Blogging is also an excellent way to build networks of connections. These can be internal networks between departments, which are strengthened when posts are being written, and external networks with stakeholders such as suppliers, owners, financiers and customers.
Improving insights into your audience
Blog analytics allows you to track the number of page views and click-throughs, and the sharing of your posts. It also shows the days and times when your readers are most likely to visit.
Click-throughs, sharing statistics, and the comments, feedback and conversations that develop around particular posts can give you clear ideas as to what your audience really want from your blog, and … more importantly … your products and services.
In other words, your blog can give your significant amounts of reliable marketing intelligence.
An engaging business blog also improves customer interaction. This makes it an ideal way to get to know your customers, to hear what you are doing wrong, to hear what you are doing that is good and to conduct informal focus groups to find additional ways you can fulfil your customers’ needs.
Boosting awareness of brand, products and services
A blog enables you to tell the story of your brand, to tell your audience why you are in business and how you can help them, illustrate your values and philosophy, and showcase your ideas.
Your corporate blog also gives you a space to explain and comment on market trends and news topics in your business sector. Doing so will reinforce your authority and credibility.
Your blog will also allow you to promote your expertise, products and services. It can be used to communicate new product releases and event information in greater depth than is possible with an old-fashioned press release.
A blog is great for showing the personal side of your business. It gives you a way to show what you and your employees are passionate about, building up trust and your brand’s likeability.
A blog is also great for enhancing your corporate persona, for getting down to a personal level with your customers … provided its voice and style gives customers the impression that yours is the kind of company they would like to deal with.
When the posts are created by one person, customers tend to get to know that person and build up a relationship with him or her. This results in a more trustworthy relationship with the company.
Improving business focus
The research effort for a business blog that is published regularly will keep you up-to-date on industry news, trends and competitors and keep you ahead of the curve as to what’s coming down the track.
Writing a regular blog will force you the think … about the news, your industry, your customers and the economic and political world at large. This can only be of benefit in your business focus and decision-making.
The research that goes with regular blogging should also result in some inspiring ideas for your business.
The marketing benefits of a well-researched and well-written business blog are indeed immense … provided each post you write is used as an opportunity to answer specific queries and concerns of your customers and prospects.
To write a successful corporate blog your must have clear goals and a strategy, create quality content that addresses the concerns of your audience, employ search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques while writing, and use available technologies to your advantage.
Despite this caveat, corporate blogging is becoming an essential part of a progressive company’s marketing strategy. The minimal cost in money and time along with an unlimited potential for exposure and connections make business blogging a can-not-lose proposition.
To find out how you can exploit the marketing potential of a business blog: just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +353-(0)87-4163688