Marketing your business sometimes requires you to step outside of your comfort zone. But don’t worry, we’re going to make it a little bit easier.
Creating a strategy that caters to our increasingly digitally-focused world can often feel like you need to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.
You’ll hear a lot of different pieces of advice on what activities you should be participating in to bolster your online presence. One near ubiquitous suggestion that’s been common wisdom for years now is that you need to be blogging.
When you hear this, your initial instinct may be to ask,
“But, do I really need to blog? I’m not a writer and who would read it?”
If we’re being honest, that’s a completely fair reaction.
If you’ve never attempted to maintain a blog before, it can seem like a lot of work, and you may not even be sure it will pay off.
The reality is, though, that time and time again it’s been demonstrated that blogs have a positive impact on your business, even if it’s in ways that maybe you didn’t consider before.
Ultimately, content is the key to setting yourself apart from the competition. Many other businesses probably offer the goods or services that you do so it’s up to you to signal why you deserve a customer’s dollars over your competition.
Demonstrating your expertise is an effective way to do that.
We’re going to go over some tips for creating a business blog in 2017 that shows results. Before we get to that, though, let’s actually look at some results.
Key Business Stats for Blogging
Hubspot, one of the leaders in the content marketing platforms space, has released findings from studies into the measurable value of actively engaging in blogging.
Some of their key findings are:
More business leads
Businesses that blog get 67% more leads than businesses that don’t. Period.
Consumer behavior trends
It is expected that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interactions without actually engaging another human.
What does that mean? They’re going to turn to Google and the content they come across themselves during the course of their research in order to make their purchasing decisions.
Going along with the prior point, businesses that blog receive 97% more links to their website. And what is the value in this nearly doubling of links pointing to your site?
A more prominent position in Google’s search results. Google values social signaling highly in its algorithm.
That’s why Steady Demand focuses so heavily on optimizing your business’ Google + presence. Integration with Google’s services combined with a consistent content strategy is what gets you the search engine positioning you’re after.
Now that you know the value in maintaining a blog, let’s get to the how.
The most surefire way to see returns on your blogging is to be consistent with your posting. That doesn’t mean you need to post all the time, but rather, you need to do so on a regular schedule.
How many blogs have you come across that had posts weeks and months apart and mysteriously just stopped years ago?
Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Before starting your blog, create a reasonable action plan. How much time can you, realistically, set aside to work on the blog.
Do you personally have the time to write it or do you need to invest in hiring writers? Set a posting schedule and then stick to it, even if it’s just once a week.
Eventually, you want to condition your audience to expect posts to arrive on certain days.
This will help keep traffic levels steady and will encourage customers to make repeat visits to your site and hopefully share your content on their social channels.
Understand the purpose of your blog
This is where many business owners tend to get stuck. Obviously, you want to make money off your blog through increased sales.
What good is doing anything if there’s no ROI?
But, how you go about that through your blog is the key point here. Your blog is not the place to make the hard sell.
Your actual goal is to inform and let your viewers come to the conclusion that they want to spend their money on your product themselves. You do this by forming a relationship.
That means not inundating them with content about your business specifically, but rather, giving them information they can actually use. Tad Chef for SERPs explains:
“A blog is tailor-made to make your users stick. Call it customer retention or social CRM if you like. They come once and then they come back for more. Once they need a service or product like yours they remember you and buy but most likely they will share your articles and tell others about you long before that happens. Sadly most businesses don’t understand that. They may start a blog in the technical sense of it but then they fail to make one time visitors come back.”
Your blog is a powerful tool for generating a customer base. But it is not a direct tool for making money. It is part of a broader strategy.
Identify your audience
We’re talking about digital strategies here, but at the end of the day, marketing is still marketing. Established practices still apply.
When crafting the content for your blog, creating buyer personas will help you come up with the topics that will best garner interest.
By creating this “audience” you will be able to focus your content.
For business owners who aren’t quite sure what to write about, trying to reach these people will point you in the right direction.
Writing for a general audience, while better than nothing, probably won’t get you the results you’re looking for. Again, you want to avoid throwing everything out there and seeing what sticks. That’s when marketing initiatives fail.
Create an editorial calendar
It’s critical to plan ahead when it comes to having an effective business blog. As anyone who has ever run a blog, personal or professional, can tell you, always have topics and completed posts ready to go on deck.
Getting stuck with nothing to post on your designated posting days hurts your credibility and can start a pattern of not keeping up with your blog.
That’s how you get those blogs with posts months apart with no real engagement. At Steady Demand, we use CoSchedule to keep our team on the same page when creating our own content. You can read our review of the software and decide for yourself if it’s the right tool for you.
How we can help
You have an idea of where to begin with creating a business blog. The initial organization is a critical part, but the work is far from done.
Now you have to get down to the work of actually creating the content.
Do you currently have the bandwidth to take on the creative work required to consistently produce effective content? Would you have to hire more employees to take on the workload?
Often times, businesses will turn to agencies to help in producing their content because of the resources required to get a full social strategy going.
Steady Demand focuses on helping businesses with their customer engagement. That consists of both social media outreach and crafting long form shareable content that will interest your customers.
If 2017 is the year you’re looking to kickstart your content marketing efforts, contact us today. We’re here to help.