I had a co-worker ping me the other day asking for a blog post about the benefits of business blogging.
"It's for a friend," she said.
Suuuure it was.
Just kidding, it really was. I told her I'd shoot over one of our up-to-date blog posts about why businesses should blog and ... I couldn't find one. Whoops. Quite the meta mistake.
So I'm doing it now. If you're trying to explain one of the core tenets of inbound -- business blogging -- to your boss, a coworker, your mom at Thanksgiving, whomever, then send them this post. I hope it helps.
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The Benefits of Business Blogging
First, if you don't know what a business blog is, this post, "What Is Business Blogging? [FAQs]" should get you up-to-date.
We on the same page? Cool. Let's move on to why you should use blogging as a marketing tactic.
1) It helps drive traffic to your website.
Raise your hand if you want more website visitors. Yeah, me too.
Now think about the ways people find your website:
- They could type your name right in, but that's an audience you already have. They know who you are, you're on their radar, and that doesn't help you get more traffic.
- You could pay for traffic by buying an email list (don't you dare!), blasting them, and hoping some people open and clickthrough on the emails. But that's expensive, and, you know, illegal.
- You could pay for traffic by placing paid search ads, which isn't illegal, but still quite expensive. And the second you run out of money, your traffic stops coming, too.
Think about how many pages there are on your website. Probably not a ton, right? And think about how often you update those webpages. Probably not that often, right? (How often can you really update your About Us page, you know?)
Well, blogging helps solve both of those problems.
Every time you write a blog post, it's one more indexed page on your website. It's also one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what content you've published that they should surface.
Every new indexed page is one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines, and drive traffic to your website through organic search. We'll get into more of the benefits of blogging on your SEO a bit later.
Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you're creating content that people can share on social networks -- Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ -- which helps expose your business to a new audience that doesn't know you yet.
Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going -- instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You're strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog with your social channels. Quite a symbiotic relationship, if I do say so myself.
So, the first benefit of blogging? It helps drive new traffic to your website and works closely with search engines and social media to do that.
2) It helps convert that traffic into leads.
Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads.
Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. And the way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post.
Often, these calls-to-action are things like free ebooks, free whitepapers, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials ... basically, any content asset that someone would be willing to exchange their information for. To be super-clear for anyone unfamiliar with how traffic-to-lead conversions work, it's as simple as this:
- Visitor comes to website
- Visitor sees call-to-action button with a free offer behind it
- Visitor clicks call-to-action button and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
- Visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer
If you scroll down in this blog post, you'll see a call-to-action button. In fact, 99.9% of the blog posts we publish have call-to-action buttons ... and yours should, too! That is how you turn that traffic coming to your blog into leads for your sales team.
(Note: Not every reader of your blog will become a lead -- and that's okay! No one converts 100% of the people that read their blog into leads. Just get blogging, put calls-to-action on every blog post, set a visitor-to-lead conversion rate benchmark for yourself, and strive to improve that each month.)
3) It helps establish authority.
The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you're consistently creating content that's helpful for your target customer, it'll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a particularly handy tool for Sales and Service professionals.
Can you imagine the impact of sending an educational blog post you wrote to clear things up for a confused customer? Or how many more deals a salesperson could close if their leads discovered blog content written by their salesperson?
"Establishing authority" is a fluffy metric -- certainly not as concrete as traffic and leads, but it's pretty powerful stuff.
4) It drives long-term results.
You know what would be cool? If any of the following things helped you drive site traffic and generate new leads:
- Trip to Hawaii
- Going to the gym
- Getting your hair blown out (amirite, ladies?)
- Watching Game of Thrones
Good news! That's what blogging does -- largely through search engines. Here's what I mean:
Let's say you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today. Let's say that blog post gets you 100 views and 10 leads. You get another 50 views and 5 leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers get caught up on their email and RSS. But after a couple days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down and you've netted 150 views and 15 leads.
Only it's not done.
That blog post is now ranking in search engines. That means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while you're surfing in Hawaii, picking up your kid from school, and hitting your snooze alarm, you're also driving traffic and leads. One hour of effort today can turn into hundreds of thousands of views and leads in the future.
(Fun Fact: About 70% of our traffic each month comes from posts that weren't published that month. Whoa.)
There are other reasons businesses might want to blog, but I think they're smaller and stray from the core benefits of blogging.
For instance, I love to use our blog to test out big campaigns on the cheap -- before we invest a lot of money and time into their creation. I also love to use our blog to help understand our persona better. These are great things, but they're not the whammies.
If you're looking to start a business blog or get more investment for one you've already started, the reasons above are a great place to start arguing your case.
Are you already well underway when it comes to business blogging? Just starting out? Share your thoughts on business blogging below and what you're looking to get out of it.