I Blog, Therefore I Thrive
With all due respect to Hamlet, this question is a no-brainer. You need to blog. You must blog. Otherwise, you run the risk of being left behind by your competition…standing alone at the prom.
In a business world increasing played out on the battlefield of the internet, blogging is an important – nay, crucial! – element of your marketing. There are plenty of reasons not to blog (no time, no interest, no idea, no desire…), but all of them ultimately end with you watching everyone else sail past. Alone, dejected, and spinning in circles aboard the leaky Lonely Puffin (anyone else love the “How to Train Your Dragon” book series?).
But fear not! The reasons why you SHOULD blog far outweigh even the craftiest reasons why you shouldn’t. It’s an unfair fight, really. Here are the top 5 reasons why blogging should be part of your business model.
1. Organic SEO for your website
There are good ways to get people to your website, and there are bad ways. Blogging falls squarely in the former. In fact, most people-in-the-know (and I place you and me in that category) consider it the best way to create real, organic SEO (search engine optimization) for your site. Content is king. In order to rank well with Google and Bing, and that leads directly to more traffic, you need to understand how they rank each site on the web. They look at both the quality and frequency of posting new material (among a myriad of other things). Providing fresh, useful, well-written posts on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to make Google like you. It’s like being invited to sit at the cool table in the high school cafeteria. You want to be there, right? We all do.
Even better than that, SEO leads have a close rate (14.6%) over seven times that of outbound methods (1.7%) according to industry surveys.
Write a blog using targeted keywords, post frequently about things that matter to your audience, rank well, attract customers that are actively searching for exactly what you’re offering.
2. Builds and maintains relationships
No one likes to be sold. At least not all the time. A company blog is rarely, if ever, about pushing sales. It’s about creating a lasting and meaningful relationship between you and your customer base. It’s about delivering greater value for their money…after all, when done properly, you’re giving them something useful with no expectation of a return. And we all like that. It’s like being invited to sit at that cool table, and the popular kids don’t ask to copy your homework. Yay!
Furthermore, a blog allows you to develop your brand. To let your customers see what your business is all about, to give them something for nothing (which creates loyalty and general warm-and-fuzzy feelings), and to position yourself as an expert in your field. When the time comes for them to make a purchase, who do you think they’ll turn to? You…sitting at the cool table and soaking it all in.
3. Generate more leads that develop into more customers
This ties back to organic SEO. A blog helps you rank well with search engines, and that gets people to your website. According to Hubspot, 57% of surveyed companies have acquired at least one new customer from their blog, and the more frequently you post, the higher that number goes. 92% of companies that post multiple times per day had acquired new customers that way.
And the absolute best part is that the cost per lead, on average, is less than HALF that of more traditional outbound techniques (direct mail, trade shows, telemarketing). Simply put, blogging has become the best and most cost effective way to connect with and acquire new leads and customers.
4. Levels the playing field
Small businesses don’t need a marketing budget in the millions to compete with the big players. It used to be that only the companies that could afford to spend truckloads of cash on marketing would rise to the top. Not anymore. Everyone can afford to write a blog, and if its properly targeted, you can compete with virtually anyone for traffic.
The small to medium-sized businesses surveyed by Hubspot in their annual look at inbound marketing planned to spend up to 43% of their lead generation budget on their blog.
5. Everyone else is doing it
Well, maybe not everyone. But certainly those people and companies paying attention are doing it. A full 25% of surveyed individuals rated their business blog as CRITICAL to their success, and 81% rated it as useful or better. Those numbers are staggering. Staggering, I say!
89% of surveyed companies were either increasing their inbound budget (47%) or leaving it the same (42%) from 2011 to 2012. The numbers don’t lie (partly because they don’t have mouths).
Obviously it’s an overstatement to claim that everyone is blogging. But it’s not overstating to say that everyone who is blogging immediately recognizes the importance and benefit. The cost to benefit ratio is very one-sided. Low cost. High benefit.
Whew. I could continue, providing dozens of reasons to join the blogging tidal wave, but five is a good place to stop. We don’t want to drown in stats and figures. The past few years have shown steady and consistent growth in business blogging. The numbers continue to go up, and the payoff continues to be great. So a better question might be “why are you still not blogging?’.
Whether you go it alone, or outsource to a professional, you can no longer afford to ignore blogging. It must be part of your marketing plan. Do it right, and you’ll save money, generate leads, and acquire customers. You’ll be sitting at that cool table, the envy of everyone else in the cafeteria. You’re not there so they can use you, and you’re not there as some sort of cruel prank or mistake. You’re there because people like you and you bring something to the table.
So, are you blogging for your company yet? How goes it? I’d love to hear about the successes – and failures – of your efforts.