A blog is a journal on the internet or your online diary which you frequently update to keep your audience up to date about you or your business. While a website is a collection of web pages or documents which are accessible via the internet.
Back to the basics, right? This piece is not a website vs blog debate. It is meant to give you tangible reasons your business, of whatsoever type or size, needs to blog consistently.
Except for e-commerce websites and few businesses that carry out daily transactions or consultations on their websites, many businesses see and position their websites as mere online brochure. Their websites are there for you to read their mission, vision, business objectives, who are on their team, few news updates and so on.
If your website is optimized for search marketing, your meta tags, image alt text, inbound and internal links are intact, you have a wonderful traffic-generating website. KUDOS! But, take a minute to flip the script. Think like a web surfer for a moment.
You have a burning issue to solve. You Google and find a website that sells what solves the problem or offers services that can resolve the issue. Clicking through to the website, you find out more about the organization on their website. You take their contact details and plan to reach them later. To be honest, you have an idea of who can solve the problem already but there is so much uncertainty as to how that problem is actually going to be solved.
Here comes the online diary of a sensitive business. Over time, a blog is supposed to address issues, answer questions common to the industry, support or criticize school of thoughts on matters arising. In order to give this web surfer reasons to contact you immediately, you must have, through your blog posts, identified his problem, provided perspectives to his situation, proffered solutions to his problem and positioned your business to effectively tackle his problem.
Sometimes customers know they have a problem but they cannot get a handle on it. They cannot say categorically what they want. A website, no matter how up to date it is, cannot help customers in this situation. It is a blog that can identify problems and proffer solutions to different issues that could lead your buyer personas to your marketing, sales or customer service teams.
A website introduces you to the world as a problem solver. It is a consistent blog that helps the world start solving their problems even before they get in touch with your team.
What is the proof that my business needs blogging?
Whatever form of value your organization offers for money, using blog to explain your processes, share your success stories, take a stranger through how you have solved similar problems is not impossible.
Time and space will not allow me to cite how each business can practically meet prospects’ and customers’ needs via blogging. But, one thing is certain, every business has a product to sell, every business has a story to tell. Blogging is one effective means of telling your story as a business. When you run promos both online and offline directing prospects to your website, it is a vibrant blog that can make first-time visitors come again after the first encounter.
Via your blog as a business, you could explain your product design processes, answer some ‘FAQ’ questions about your product, provide interactive guide to how best your product works. You could share industry news, debate issues and take sides on current issues in your industry. So many milestones can be achieved via blogging as a business. But, please, don’t use it to blow your honorable trumpet. Followers may quickly get bored and stop following you.
What value will blogging add to bottom-line?
Conversion, customer satisfaction and retention, brand awareness, direct sales, subscription to newsletter, all these business objectives can be achieved via blogging as a business depending on how the content is crafted and formatted.
It may interest you to know that your entire buyer’s journey can be summarized into a blog post. How possible you ask?
A blog post could contain text, images, links and a video. While the plain text addresses a particular topic that the blog post is about, you can embed internal links that lead a reader through the conversion process in clickable texts. Readers can easily recognize clickable texts as links to other parts of your website. Links within the blog post can be used to direct readers to wherever you want online.
Besides text and links, well-crafted images (with Alt text and descriptive caption) can help buttress your topic. Images within the blog post can break down seemingly complex processes your customers might have complained about in their feedback
Such instructive blog posts can come in handy when your online customer service rep needs a bullet-point to support his/her response to customers’ complaint. Your rep could forward the link or refer the customer to read further.
Video is the most engaging piece of online content. There is practically nothing any business does that video cannot be used to demonstrate. A video can be used to explain an offer, your CEO could address customers using video on your blog post. Customers’ experiences can be made into series of short videos. Think of everything you can do to attract and retain customers, a short –less than 15mins max- video will blow your mind in terms of engagement.
A top secret right here. Cover the screen of your PC while reading this! You could snoop around online, read reviews on reputable directories to find out typical problems your competitors’ customers are facing. Blog constructively about these topical issues.
Even if you don’t offer your brand as the solution, you have made a statement – you are a listening, sensitive brand.
What are the roles of blogging in marketing?
This borders on the content strategy for your blog. Of course, you do not want to wake up tomorrow morning a blogger for your business without a clear, concrete, sustainable plan for research, development, distribution and promotion of your blog.
As you choose topics, prior to blog content development, have at the back of your mind which of your buyer personas that particular blog post is meant for. Also take into consideration, what stage of the purchase funnel the buyer personas are before developing the content of your blog post. You don’t want to target everybody and you don’t want to address more than a particular topic per blog post.
A blog post could be aimed at attracting strangers to your business, converting new visitors to leads, closing leads to customers or delighting existing customers so they become promoters of your business.
To attract strangers, your blog post should identify and explain a particular problem. To convert a visitor to a lead, you could blog about an offer while you place a call-to-action for that offer or similar offer in a conspicuous place of the web page. To close leads into customers, your blog post should position your product or service as the solution to the problem already identified and explained.
Some copy-writing plus appraisal of your offers is allowed here, but be careful not to over-do it.
For customer delight, you could blog about how your brand makes life better for customers. You could address after-sale complaints made via such blog posts. Customers’ suggestions could be the center of blog posts like these as well.
By sincerely putting yourself in your existing customers’ shoes, you definitely will know what to blog about that will promote customer loyalty.
What can my business blog about?
Depending on what purpose you have chosen to fulfill with your business blog, you can blog to educate, inform or entertain your audience. The purpose of your blog will help formulate a working content mission statement which will guide every blog post you create.
This blog content mission statement is very important. It provides clear bearing for your blog posts over the years. As your blog posts accumulate over the years, more pages on the web will be added to your brand. If you have chosen well-thought topics and stay true to optimizing your keywords, search engines will see you as authority on such topics and keywords. The more reason your blog posts should follow a strategic plan.
For instance, if the purpose of your blog is information, your research will be on what your audience seek further information on, on a daily basis. Keyword research would help you identify search terms that your audience use to search for you or your competitors. These keywords could lead you to various topics you could blog about in order to gain attention and follower-ship of your target audience.
Whose duty should blogging be in my organization?
Much as everyone in your organization may not be good writers, everyone is eligible to make contribution to a successful business blog. After you have outlined topics relevant to your purpose, every prospective contributor to your blog content should be guided your blog content mission statement.
It is advisable to have someone or a team dedicated to developing content, distributing and promoting your business blog. This brings some sense of responsibility. However, content development should not be limited to this person or team. The reason is that the idea some people within your organization will give towards your blog content could be amazing.
Everyone who interacts with customers, whether in sales, marketing or customer service, should be encouraged to contribute towards your blog. It could be what a customer confides in them or what trend they notice in consumers’ behavior that would trigger your hit blog of all time.
Not everyone can blog for your business, but everyone has the potential to make meaningful impact on your blog as a stakeholder.
What are the benefits of consistent blogging?
Follower-ship: readers of your blog will, over time as a result of your consistency, consider you an authority in your industry. When your blog becomes a resource place, they have some respect for you and high level of confidence in what you have to offer. For each of heir problems you help solve without them patronizing you, you have given them a reason to contact your sales team when they make a buying decision.
What follower-ship fosters is relationship. They trust you with issues directly or indirectly related to your brand. When you reach the stage where they freely ask you for advice, you could easily influence their buying decisions. Then, they can buy, buy and buy.
Engagement: they relate with your messages and share. With the kind of neck-breaking competition we find around these days, user engagement is a great plus for any business. Nothing spreads your message, promos or campaigns wider and faster than user engagement.
Sharing with their friends is free publicity for you. Many people trust so much in word-of-mouth. They are ready to buy much as a trusted fellow can vouch for you. Engagement is one sure way your blog can get you social diffusion.
Conversion: a regular visitor to your blog is easier to track and close. You could find out what content are they consuming, how many pages per visit, how long per visit. This intelligence will definitely be helpful to target them accurately for conversion.
For each stage of your purchase funnel, it is advisable you set conversion that ushers them into the next stage. After or around every blog post, provide a clear information on what exactly the prospect should do next. Whether to read further, ask for consultation or download an e-book, endeavor to guide through to the very stage in the buyer’s journey.
Hope you found one or two reasons your business needs to start blogging today.