in other words

Blog Series: Create a Winning Blog | Part One: Why Blog

Carte Blanche - Monday, December 29, 2014

Blogging can be incredibly valuable to both individuals and businesses alike, for a host of compelling reasons. For the purposes of not boring you to tears in encyclopaedic fashion, I’m focusing on just one: How a blog will directly win you customers and grow your business. In my writing for clients’ blogs, as well as researching for my own, I realised that it took quite a bit of time to develop the necessary groundwork – so, I thought it might be a good idea to break down the jargon and share my thoughts and ideas. A blog really can have a direct and positive impact on the growth of your business!

In Part One, I explore the reasons WHY every business needs a blog, but make sure you stay tuned for Part Two: How to Plan and Research, and Part Three: How to Write Shareable Content.

Why blog?

Starting a blog can sometimes feel a little daunting. It’s a window into the personality of your business. What if people don’t like you or what you have to say? What if your competitors see your musings and hijack your ideas? And… how will you find anything to write about?

While all valid questions, blogging has become so instrumental to a successful digital strategy that only companies who would not want to grow their business, would deliberately choose not to have one. Just to clarify in case you missed that: If you don’t want your business to grow, you won’t need a blog! Blogging as a marketing activity, has grown instrumentally since it first came on the scene, and it’s still continuing to grow. Reasons businesses prioritise blogging include loyal readership, increased brand loyalty and improved lead conversions. 82% of marketers who blog daily, and 57% of marketers who blog monthly, acquired a customer using their blog (HubSpot State of Inbound, 2013).

Writing a blog breathes life into your business, and gives your customers another vantage point from which to understand you. By offering tips, sharing articles and proffering opinions on your area of expertise, it demonstrates a subtle confidence to be respected, as well as an insight into your personality that builds a closer bond with your audience.

Plus, while all this feel-good stuff is happening, blogging simultaneously becomes a fabulous lead generator.

Still not convinced? Check out the facts:

• 84% of inbound marketers - compared to only 9% of outbound marketers - cite organic sources (blogging, SEO, social media) as rising in importance. (HubSpot State of Inbound, 2014)

• 86% of consumers stated that using a search engine allowed them to learn something new or important that helped him/her increase his/her knowledge. (Pew Research Center, Search Engine Use 2012)

• 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing in 2013. (HubSpot State of Inbound, 2013)

How do blogs increase web traffic?

The reason for the increased web traffic and leads stems from improved search engine optimisation (SEO). Your blog posts increase the amount of indexed pages related to your business, which Google subsequently presents to prospective clients when they search for relevant topics. In other words, the more regularly and frequently you post on subjects relevant to your industry, the more Google will recognise you as a subject-matter expert, thereby improving your organic rankings during searches. When 60% of all organic clicks go to the organic top 3 search results (Business2Community), would you agree this was marketing activity worth investing in?

By optimising your titles, tags and descriptions with targeted key words, Google indexes the posts and drives traffic to your website. The best bit is that blogging is a gift that keeps on giving! Unlike an ad, your blog post stays live on your site until you physically remove it, so prospective clients can continue to find you months, and even years, after you post. The long term ROI far outweighs that of above the live advertising activity.

How do blogs generate leads?

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate (Search Engine Journal). This is because a blog provides a safe place for prospective clients to read about your business and services / product. As a forum where they’re not being directly ‘sold’ to, and one where they’re learning something that is of interest, casual web browsers are more likely to engage with your call to action, in turn becoming a qualified lead. Data indicates the majority of us would prefer to learn about a company through an article, compared to an ad, which makes sense! A blog then, provides valuable real estate for a call to action, as you’re communicating directly with an already captive audience who trust the information you are setting out.

Interesting content will win over your clients

Why does anyone follow a brand, business or individual’s activity online? Because it inspires, educates or entertains. By tapping into your audience’s motivational triggers, you can create content that will keep them coming back to your website for more. (Make sure you read Part 3 of the series for tips on what content works!) Bear in mind that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to gain traction with Google’s indexing process, as it relies on regular posts by you on varied topics relevant to your sector. Your blogs will have a highest return when they are published consistently over an extended period of time.

Check out my web and blog copywriting services here, or if you’d like to have a conversation about how I can help you with your blog, please get in touch! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for Part Two – How to Plan and Research your Blog!