Blogging can have a remarkably positive effect on the fortunes of any type of business. But before we go into the benefits of blogging and how you can take advantage, we need to clarify what it actually is.
Blogging is simply another word for writing.
The word “blogging” was thought up to make it sound like something new and exciting for the Internet age. So that’s great news. You don’t have to be a technical genius to blog, you just have to be able to write.
But don’t dismiss it as publishing words into the air and hoping that somebody reads it. Blogging is at the heart of all of the most successful content marketing strategies and it is not difficult to achieve great results using the right words.
There can be more to blogging than writing if you want. You can add in relevant images, infographics, or embed video content. Both of these things will further increase your chances of increasing your readership and your conversion rate. However you structure it, you need to first be clear on the benefits so that you are motivated and can build a clear strategy.
Blogging Builds Relationships
When it comes to asking about what the point of blogging is, nothing is more vital than understanding that it can build relationships in a way that no other part of your business online can.
Let’s look at the typical local businesses online presence:
- Your main company website language will be promotional and hopefully benefit-driven, but generally it will not be in-depth or build readership over time.
- Your social media interactions will be brief and often necessarily generic. It’s the same if you use forums to discuss your business area, it’s difficult to talk in-depth to individuals.
- Your mailing list content can be similar to blog content, but it will be viewed more skeptically due to it’s obvious marketing aim.
The beauty of a blog is that it allows you to build a relationship marketing strategy easily. By writing as you personally, sharing news, personal memories and challenges, giving advice and embellishing it all with relevant stories, you can build an emotional link to the people who read what you write.
By sharing a bit of you, while you offer key buying decision information, you get people to know you, like you and finally trust you. Establishing trust is the key to repeat customers the long-term.
People who emotionally connect with what you write are also more likely to recommend you and to share links to your business with their friends via social media. So building relationships through blogging can also generate free marketing.
Demonstrating Expertise Can Open New Doors
Writing about your area of business, offering advice and anecdotes of learning through hard knocks to potential customers is a great way of demonstrating expertise.
Over time your blog will build up into a valuable resource of original and highly interlinked information that people will find useful. This can deliver you opportunities for the future.
For example, you could bundle together your 10 most useful articles into a PDF and offer them as a free lead generation download, in return for people joining your mailing list.
For a small investment, you could create video content about your most read and shared blog posts. These can be embedded into your original blog posts to further increase their value.
By demonstrating your expertise on your own blog, there might be opportunities for you to write an article for publication on other websites. This could dramatically increase your reach and bring you fresh customers.
And don’t worry about spilling your big company secrets. What people are looking for is valuable advice. By positioning yourself to offer great information and advice, from a personal angle, you will convince more people to buy your product or service.
Your Blog Can Deliver You Increased Google Search Engine Traffic
By blogging passionately on your topic you can create rich content that Google will want to index. As more and more people click through to read your blog posts, you will build up a picture of the keywords they are searching for.
When you spot “buying” keywords that people are using to find your blog posts you can use this information to create fresh landing pages on your main site, to further target those people. So blogging isn’t just about writing nicely to build relationships, it’s about strategically building a wider opening into your main websites sales funnel.
The other point to make here about the content you are making is to emphasize the value you are creating. Content marketing through blogging is about building up a body of highly targeted original content, that people want to interact with and take action from. The more you blog, the bigger your content marketing reach will be and the higher your conversion rate will be.
Blogging Is Great For Increasing Your Local Visibility
I can’t emphasize this point enough. Blogging offers immense opportunities to increase your local visibility.
Blogging passionately and originally, with a nod to local context, can have a dramatic effect on your organic search engine rankings.
Take a look at your local competitors right now. I bet most of them are not blogging at all. I bet they have one main website with a few pages of generic sales content and possibly a handful of supporting “how to” pages. Although they may be ranking decently, they are there for the taking.
By continually adding to the content of your site via a blog, you will build trust with Google that you are a valuable and frequently updated local resource. Through the odd link back to your site, plus natural links built to your site by people who have enjoyed your blog, you can rapidly build local search authority.
Secondly, blogging passionately will show your potential customers the high level of expertise and service they can expect from you. If you offer local people a valuable resource, then word-of-mouth will spread it further for you within the community.
Let’s say you are a local restaurant. Your main competitor just has a generic website. But you have a blog, where you talk about the local events you have participated in, new recipes you trying out in the restaurant, how you invited the local pensioners in for a half price meal. Whatever it is, you are building local trust and encouraging local people to read about how your business is investing the community.
The Time To Start Blogging Is Right Now
But wait. Before you dive in and sign-up for the first free blog account you find, you need to consider your overall strategy.
We have significant expertise in helping local businesses to increase their online presence and their conversion rates. Our advice would always be to host your blog with your main site, using self-hosted blog software.
By going down this path you have full control of your content now and in the future. Although there is a slightly steeper learning curve, keeping control of your growing blog content for the long-term is the best strategy.
If you would like to talk to us about starting a blog and developing a content marketing strategy for your business, we would be delighted to chat to you.