Why should your business have a blog? Let me count the ways...
In all seriousness, blogging has transformed our business in many ways. And sometimes, when we're in the trenches day in and day out, we can sometimes forget all the good karma (and equity) that is a result of our prolific content creation efforts.
This post will hopefully remind you why blogging is one of the most powerful marketing mediums today.
1) Blogging Showcases Your Expertise and Builds Trust
Maintaining a company blog is one of the best ways to showcase your expertise. Each time you write an article, you can tackle a topic, question or problem that your target customer is interested in or dealing with. For example, let's say you're a marketing analytics company.
Your target customer may have a burning question they are seeking the answer to. "How can I track a lead back to the original traffic source of that visitor?" This is a great opportunity for you to write a detailed post outlining various ways to accomplish this. Of course, one of the examples may be to use your software or tools, but as long as you're providing a valuable, insightful answer, you'll build credibility with this prospect.
Not only do you gain expertise by tackling questions like the one above, you also earn the trust of your readers and prospects. If they come to your website and find so much helpful content they can hardly believe it, who do you think they will reach out to when they need a solution? Yes, you. We're living in a world today where transparency is appreciated by buyers. They love doing their own research, so if you provide content that satisfies their research, you can be sure they'll be drawn to you.
Don't think people read blogs? Think again. HubSpot found that 46% of people read blogs more than once per day... and that was back in 2010.
So, get your team together and start developing some topics to write about. Remember: be incredibly useful, helpful and transparent and you'll drawn in more buyers.
2) Blogging Increases (Relevant) Traffic to Your Website
Being a numbers guy, this is what I'm talking about! Let's increase our website traffic. You may have heard that blogging will get more visitors to your website before, and there's certainly data to prove it... we'll get to in a little bit.
However, I like to think about the WHY by using a fun example. Let's take two websites. Let's pretend we have Website #1 and it has 10 pages, and Website #2 has 100 pages. I'd say that Website #2 is bigger (in size). If we think of our website as a planet and think about gravitational pull, a bigger website would have more gravitational pull (or the ability to attract more visitors). Now I wasn't a science major, so bear with me!
In general, if you have a bigger website, you should get more visitors. In this scenario, Website #2 will get more website traffic. So, how do you get a bigger website? You add content pages to it! You could add services pages, resource pages, but as long as your blog is on the same domain as your website, each time you add a blog post, your website gets bigger as well.
Continuing with the example of our two website planets, the reason you get more traffic when you get more pages is simple. Each page on your website has the opportunity to rank for a different keyword or keyword phrase. So with 100 pages, you have 100 opportunities to pull in traffic, whereas with Website #1, you only have 10 opportunities. If we assume all pages are equal and get roughly 10 visits per month per page, you can do simple math to see why you'll get more traffic with more pages.
Note: there are MANY factors that go into why a page or a website will rank and it is not safe to assume that each page will get the same amount of traffic, but this example illustrates very well what a lot of the data suggests about blogging and content on your website.
Now that we've looked at a fun example, let's dive into some studies and numbers that highlight why blogging is important for building traffic.
HubSpot found that companies who blog more than 20 times per month get 5 times more traffic than those that blogged less than 4 times per month. They also found that the average company that blogs receives 55% more website traffic than the average company that doesn't blog.
As a side note, over the last 4 years that we've increased our blogging efforts here, we've seen our traffic goes from a few hundred visitors per month to over 7,500 visitors per month. See below.
3) Blogging Gives You Fuel for Your Social Media Platforms
Social media is one of the best places to "promote" your content. You have people following you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. They are following you for a reason (most likely because they are looking for good industry information). By sharing the great content you have on your blog, you can drive people back to your website. Once they arrive on your website, some will take the next step and convert into a lead by downloading a valuable resource from you or reaching out directly.
In addition, when you share your content on social platforms, it gives your followers an easy way to re-share that content, taking it even further. The key here is that your content is so good that people can't help but share it.
In addition, Moz's 2013 survey of ranking factors indicates that social shares on a piece of content, such as Facebook shares, Tweets, and Google +1's have a strong correlation to how well your content ranks (or how often it will get found). QuickSprout also created this nifty infograph showing how social signals impact your search engine rankings.
4) Blogging is an Investment
Blogging is a long term investment. When you first start out, you may feel like you're spinning your wheels, wasting your time and your money. It can be tough to stay the course. You have to remember though, that this is a marketing investment and it's going to take some time. Remember our website/planet example from item #2 above? Keep building that outer crust, one layer at a time!
But, let's look at why blogging is an investment and not an expense. If you want to publish a blog article, you have to spend time or money or both. Maybe you hired an agency to write the article or maybe you spent part of your weekend cranking out that article. Once you publish that article, it lives on your website forever. This is unlike a magazine ad, TV ad or any other type of ad.
As an example, if you buy a magazine ad, you'll pay several hundred or several thousand dollars. You may or may not get a response from the ad. Once that magazine comes out with a new issue, you have to pay again to get the same response. With a blog article, you write and publish it once and you will continue to get website traffic visiting forever. That's why the compounding effect of blogging is so powerful. Eventually, you have hundreds and even thousands of blog articles working for you day and night, drawing in potential buyers.
So, don't get discouraged when you start blogging. Keep investing in articles that will continue to work for your business.
5) Blogging Helps Your Sales Team
Believe it or not, blogging helps your sales team immensely. Customers have lots of questions when they go to buy a product or service. Creating blog articles to answer those questions saves your sales team a lot of time! First of all, your prospects will most likely find the answers to their questions on your blog, but if they don't, your sales rep can send them a link to that post rather than typing up a long email.
It also helps your sales rep build credibility because he's not just responding off the top of his head. He's able to point to a piece of content and say... here's our answer. We publish it publicly and we aren't just making up something to try to get the sale.
In addition, your blog content helps move prospects down the funnel faster. Blogging gives you the ability to deliver lots of helpful information and build credibility (see #1 above). Prospects want to talk to a sales person later in the sales cycle so the more information they can gather before that point, the easier the sale will be. By creating tons of useful content you enable your sales team to be much more effective.
6) Blogging Is a Channel for Customer Feedback
The comments section of a blog is a great place to get feedback, advice and thoughts from your customers and your prospects. This can help you dive deeper into the mind of your ideal customer which provides you with valuable feedback on how to improve your product, service, sales process, delivery, and customer service.
Because the feedback is in a public location, everyone reading the blog can see that your company is listening, paying attention, and interacting with it's customers in a timely manner. This creates a spiral effect of positive thoughts towards your brand.
Data Supporting an Investment in Business Blogging
- B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t. - Social Media B2B
- 8 out of 10 people identify themselves as blog readers. - Content Marketing Institute
- Blog frequency impacts customer acquisition. 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog. (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)
- Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5x more traffic than companies that don't blog. - HubSpot
- Companies that increase blogging from 3-5x/month to 6-8x/month almost double their leads. -HubSpot
- 81% of consumers trust advice and information from blogs. - Social Media Today
- 37% of marketers believe blogs are the most important form of content marketing. - Social Media Today
Stats are great, but I know I always like to see real results. We practice inbound marketing for ourselves and have seen our traffic increase by 4x since we started blogging. You can check out our self-case study from our parent company here.
What do you think? Does your company blog and have you seen a positive effect as a result?
This post originally appeared on the Inbound Educators Blog. Inbound Educators is a division of TMR Direct, a HubSpot Partner located in Colorado Springs, CO.