Do you need a blog?

Today's consumer researches online, reading reviews prior to purchase and consuming content relating to their interests. Blogging gives you the opportunity to put your brand in front of them. Watch this video to find out more how starting a blog can benefit your company.

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Transcript

You may be wondering if your website needs a blog. The answer is likely to be yes. This is because creating blog content, has multiple benefits:

Firstly - blogging can help improve your visibility to search engines

Secondly - publishing content related to your field can help to position your business as thought leaders

Thirdly - you can use a blog to highlight news and changes to your business

Fourthly - engaging with a blog can help draw prospective customers further down your sales funnel and convince them to convert

Fifthly - a blog can help educate customers about ways to make the most of your products or services and open up new avenues

Let’s look at these in a little more detail:

Improved visibility to search engines
Writing a regular blog means you’re constantly updating your site with fresh content, which search engines use as one of the signals for how relevant your site is likely to be - if a site hasn’t been updated in several months its content may be even older and no longer up to date. By posting frequently, you’re signalling that your site is live and current.

You’ll want your blogs to have a call to action which links to category or landing pages, and creating these internal links will help to flag your landing and category pages up to search engines as key content. When search engines look at your site as a whole, if you have lots of content pages which are all related to your products or services, it adds weight to your site. In addition to the difference made by the volume of content, rather than just a single page trying to optimise for a keyword, such as a landing page, you can have multiple pages which cover semantically linked phrases, and all link back to that landing page - which will augment its status.

Engaging content also has a chance of being shared, which means more traffic to your site, and in turn, higher volumes of traffic will improve your site’s perceived relevancy. Hopefully once your new visitors have landed on your blog, they’ll browse similar articles and spend longer on your site, viewing several pages. All of which is quality traffic and will help to improve your ranking.

Thought leadership
People return to websites that they believe are authorities on topics they’re interested in. If you can add to a conversion within your industry with pertinent comment, you can bring people’s attention to new developments in your field, or you can solve a problem for somebody, your brand is more likely to register with them. Being one of the first in your industry to publish on a hot topic means people searching for information on that topic may find your site organically, and again if you’re the first to provide them with the answers they’re looking for, your brand is more likely to make an impact.

You can also use a blog to launch white papers or other resources which will be of value to prospective customers, which will also add to your authority. The added bonus of this is you can brand this content so anyone who downloads it will have your business at the forefront of their mind anytime they refer to it.

News and development highlights
If you’ve won an award, or worked on a really great corporate responsibility project, it can sometimes seem a little awkward to write about it, and many sites don’t have a dedicated news section where they can publish these kinds of stories. Finding a human interest angle and publishing on a blog gives you a chance not only to shout about what you’re most proud of, but the chance resonate with your customers. If you can write about how your staff going above and beyond was what swung the judges in your favour, or you can write about how you’ve made a difference in your local or the wider community and the impact that’s had on individuals or families, people can relate to the stories you tell, which is great for a PR boost.

Engagement and conversion
All your blog posts should include a call to action, and should be tagged with relevant topic categories, so people can browse related content. The more content your visitors read and engage with by following links, commenting or sharing, the more investment they will have in your brand, and the more likely they are to purchase or convert.

You can also use a chain of blog pieces to help draw the reader into making a purchase - start with a light and fairly generic piece of content, which introduces a topic related to a problem which your customers experience. One of the calls to action from this piece leads to the next piece of content, which discusses a number of possible solutions to this problem, with the best suggested solution being a product or service that you offer. This in turn leads to a piece of content which shows how your business is the only place to go for this product or solution - this can often be in the form of a case study.

So for example a horticultural retailer might product an infographic about plants which like a warm environment as the first piece of content. The next piece might be a video showing how to install different garden equipment for growing these plants such as bell cloches, cold frame and greenhouses. This blog proposes the greenhouse as the best solution to give the plants the maximum chance of thriving. This then leads to a piece about ten benefits of the retailer’s greenhouses, along with reviews from three previous customers.

From all the blogs, in addition to the link to the next piece of content there are links to the product category. In this way, you’re encouraging not only people who are ready to make a purchase, but people who aren’t yet that far down your sales funnel - perhaps they need a little longer to think through a purchase, or are still researching their options. By creating multiple pieces of content which reinforce one central message, you’re helping them to reach the point at which they’re ready to commit.

Educating your customers
Perhaps your customers would use your services more, if they were more aware of the optimum amount of times to access them, and the science behind that? Or perhaps you have a product which could work much better in combination with a second one? Your knowledge of what you sell will undoubtedly be much deeper than the majority of your customers, and as they’re interested in your product or service, you can assume that your knowledge could also be of value. If you have any tips or tricks for making the most out of your products or services, your customers will thank you for the insight.

So you can see that every business, whether you sell to consumers or other businesses, will get some benefit from creating a decent blog. There is one caveat however - to be worthwhile a blog does need to be maintained, and if you’re creating engaging content for it, using videos and infographics, this can be quite heavy on your resources. If you can’t post at least once a month, you’re not going to see much impact. But if you have lots of ideas for content and you can write regularly and authoritatively on subjects related to your business, the benefits should outweigh the time required.

Before starting your blog, I would also advise you to spend some time planning your content, and do a dry run for a few months before you publish anything. You can use this to create evergreen content - pieces which can be banked and posted anytime and still be relevant. This will give you a safety net if you ever have a crisis which means you can’t create new content for a couple of weeks.

Thanks for watching - you should now have a good idea of the value a blog can bring to your site. Watch my other content marketing videos for advice on the kind of content you can create.

 

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