You're an inbound marketing convert. You believe in the importance of creating relevant and interesting content for your prospects to consume. You've been reading up on search engine optimization, and have started applying the best practices to your website. You even opened up a company Facebook page and Twitter account, though your venture into Google+ is still tenuous. All of that has been pretty easy to integrate into your day to day marketing responsibilities, but there's one thing you really want to make more time for: blogging.
There's just one problem. Writing blog content on a regular basis requires time that you just don't have. To get the time, you'll have to lobby your boss for more resources, and that means convincing your boss that blogging is actually worth your time, your effort, and his money. So how do you go about doing that? This blog post (how meta is that?) will give you the facts, research, and know-how to explain the benefits of business blogging to a tentative boss and debunk many of the common myths inbound marketing professionals are frequently faced with during these difficult conversations.
Is blogging really effective? What results will we see?
Nothing like some cold, hard data to prove a point. How does this sound?
- The average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages. (Tweet This Stat!)
- HubSpot's 2011 ROI Study shows that 69% of businesses attribute their lead generation success to blogging. (Tweet This Stat!)
- 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog. (Tweet This Stat!)
- The Nielsen Company shows that US internet users spend 3X more time on blogs and social networks than in email. (Tweet This Stat!)
- Inbound marketing, of which blogging is a crucial part, costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing. (Tweet This Stat!)
Bet you got your boss' attention now, eh? You can find more statistics to impress your boss and make your point in this compilation of 100 interesting inbound marketing data points.
But won't blogging open us up for negative comments?
Whenever you put anything out on the internet, you open yourself up to negative comments. You can't let that stop you from creating a meaningful internet presence. That being said, blog comments are not only far less frequent than they were even just a few years ago, but the importance with which they are regarded has also decreased. If you're operating your business on the up and up and your content is honest and genuine, you have little to fear in terms of commenter backlash.
And just as with any reputation management issue you're confronted with in business, if you face it head on and operate as a compassionate human being instead of a faceless corporation, you have the opportunity to turn those naysayers into your biggest fans.
This sounds like a huge time investment. Who is going to write it all?
To determine how much time you'll need to dedicate to your blog, you have to take a look at the competition. Are your organic competitors blogging twice a week? Multiple times a day? Not at all? To outperform them with your inbound marketing, you need to also outperform them with blogging.
Once you've determined the frequency, you'll know how much support you need. Can you handle this yourself? Or do you need a new hire dedicated exclusively to blogging? Many organizations, including HubSpot, require specific employees to contribute a minimum number of blog posts a month. This solution helps feed your blog with quality content, provides more than one voice for a valuable mix of perspectives, and doesn't put undue burden on any one member of your organization.
Does anyone here even know how to blog?
Blogging doesn't come naturally to everyone, but the barrier to entry is very low. Think of it this way. If you're in sales, you can answer questions about your products and services, right? If you're in marketing, you can write copy that positions your company correctly, right? If you're a C-level exec, you sure didn't get to that position without knowing a thing or two about your industry, right? You have the knowledge you need to blog, you just need to learn the best practices that make up a great blog post. Luckily, those best practices are not only simple, but we've already written them all down for you.
The best blogs aren't long, complex, and full of stuffy language and industry jargon. They're succinct, specific, and engaging. As long as your topic is helpful, you can write just like you talk -- and your prospects will love it. Oh, we also came up with 100 content ideas to make it even easier for you to get started.
Will this help with our SEO and social media presence?
Yes, yes, yes. Not only is blogging one of the most important means of achieving SEO greatness, it will be extremely difficult to see consistent and meaningful SEO improvements without blogging. One of the most important ways a search engine knows to return your website in search results is based on the quality of your content and the frequency at which you publish it. Blogging is a simple, low-cost solution to this. Blogging also makes it far more likely that your content will be shared on social media networks and receive inbound links from other websites, two more crucial aspects that boost your SEO street cred.
Speaking of social media, you can (and should) add social media share and follow buttons to every blog post you write. If you don't know how to create these buttons, here's a cheat sheet that will tell you everything you need to know. Your blog content will not only help you get more followers on your social media networks, but your social media networks will help you get more blog readers. Blogging and social media are two peas in a pod; as your reach expands on one, so it does on the other.
What questions have you faced when trying to explain blogging ROI? What answers helped you convince your boss or clients?
Image credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com