As I’m sure you’re aware, blogging has been around for ages but, in recent times, it has taken on a new and important significance in the sphere of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Boost Your Rankings
"Websites with a blog have tend to have 434% more indexed pages."
Search engines crave fresh, relevant and informative content and regular blog posts are SEO-friendly and go a long way towards satisfying that craving and increasing a website's chances of moving up the rankings.
If you already have a blog for your business then you’re definitely on the right track – as long as the content you post is clearly focused and tailored to your target audience.
If you don’t have a blog currently, then you really should think about starting one, because:-
“Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.”
I think the figures speak for themselves!
Reach Out to Your Audience
Writing a blog gives you a great opportunity to connect with your target audience in several ways, such as-
Keeping them up to date with new products or services
Telling them about new business that you've won
Providing them with information that will be of practical use, e.g.
"How to" guides
"Why should I" articles
Highlighting significant changes or innovations in your industry
Increase Your Credibility
Keeping in touch with your audience shows them (and Google!) that you are committed to providing them with useful information and actionable ideas.
By encouraging your readers to comment on your blog posts and making sure you respond, you are opening a door marked "Here I am, I'm human and I want to help you" and creating the means to build, for your customers and prospects alike:-
Confidence in your business's ability to solve problems
“90% of users find custom content useful, 78% believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships.”
Get More Visitors to Your Site
Obviously you want to get as many visitors as possible to your website and blogging is a great way to do this. It should definitely be part of your overall marketing strategy, along with social media, email marketing, pay per click and other methods.
It goes without saying that you should write about things you know about and which an aspect of your business can address. This will give you the chance to work specific keywords into your text which can be used to provide a direct link to a page on your website that deals with the subject of the blog post.
The great thing with blogging is that the more you address topics that resonate with your target audience, the more the search engines will choose your content to display, so helping you to rise through the rankings until you start to be seen as a voice of authority which, in turn, will drive more organic traffic to your site.
How Often Should You Post?
The simple answer is - as often as possible. However, if you're a one man band or a small business, the chances are you won't have a lot of time to spare so, in the early days, you should stick to these basic rules:-
Work hard to create content of a high standard
Research facts and industry quotes
Find relevant visual content (photos, infographics, video)
Try to post once a week
Make sure you post on the same day each week
Take your time and only publish content you're happy with
Once you get yourself in to a routine, you should find that the exercise becomes easier and, hopefully, enjoyable! When you get to this stage, try to post a little more frequently (keeping posting days consistent) but take care not to overstretch yourself.
In the longer term, it will pay dividends if you get into the habit of coming up with several ideas and working on them in advance so that you can schedule them for future publication, thereby avoiding deadline melt-down!
It Doesn't End There!
Once you've written a compelling post, there's loads more you can do!
Your blog posts will gradually build into a library, curated on your website, which can be used over and over again.
After the initial publication, there are a number of things that you can do.
Share the post on your social media accounts - inviting people to like, follow, connect, or comment - always remembering to respond to people who interact with your posts.
Highlight the content in a newsletter - have a regular section to showcase your latest article, with a link back to your website.
Use it in your email marketing - target people on your subscriber list who might be interested in the subject and how your business can deliver on it.
Remember - an old post never dies, it just gets re-purposed
As things change, you can re-visit your stored articles and update them to match the current environment. This means that the whole cycle can start again.
Encourage Your Readers to Respond
The whole point of providing great content is to engage with your audience, inspire them and get them to seek out further information which could help them decide that yours is the company that can solve a problem for them.
Calls to Action (CTAs) - make sure that you give your readers an easy path to your website by using text or image links that will take them directly to the relevant page.
Writing a blog can be time-consuming and you will almost certainly find yourself throwing your toys out of the pram at some point. But you should persevere, because the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.
If you believe in your business and want people to get involved and help to spread the word for you, then you have to be evangelical in getting your message out there.
Give blogging a go!!