July 25, 2017
Many business websites are focused on providing information, much of which doesn’t actually change that much. The “About Us” page isn’t constantly evolving.
Same with the “Contact Us” page. If there are no product or service updates or news alerts, it’s unlikely that there is much dynamic content for Google
to find. A website needs to be found by your prospects to be helpful and Google relies, in part, on fresh content to know if a site is relevant to
a prospect’s search. A blog can be the answer to providing that fresh, relevant content. Still not sure if you should add a blog to your site? Check
out four key benefits:
FOUR KEY BENEFITS
1. Improve SEO
Are you constantly adding new products or updating the service offerings on your website? Many businesses are not. Most likely, your site serves as an informational outlet, giving visitors some background on your company and details on your products or services to get them to the next step. When you update content on your website, it cues Google and other search engines to check in and see what new content is available, which is why it’s so crucial to continually add new, relevant content.
2. Generate more leads
Every blog post you write adds another indexed page to Google. A study by HubSpot showed websites that increased their indexed pages by 50-100, saw significant growth in the number of leads they captured. Plus, the more great content you have on your site, the more leads you can attract, engage and convert.
3. Improve your visibility on social media
Blog posts are ideal for improving your traffic from social media sites. Sharing blog posts across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites exposes your brand to new audiences and brings them back to your site, potentially introducing them to more aspects of your brand.
4. Position your brand/Thought leadership
If you consistently blog about the latest trends in manufacturing or offer guidance on insurance, eventually, readers will come to know you for that. Being helpful and offering expertise in a particular area will help position you as a thought leader in that area, thus keeping you top of mind when your service is needed.
5 TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED
The main challenges businesses encounter is the time and resources to develop a blog. It can be tough to dedicate time and money towards blogging when it may not produce the immediate tangible results that a sales call or paid ad can. However, a little bit of planning up front can reduce the amount of time you spend fretting over blog content. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Develop customer/prospect personas
It’s imperative that you know WHO you are writing for and WHAT kind of content they find helpful. Interview some of your best clients to see what type of information would help them and don’t be afraid to do a little cyber stalking and see what industry content is scoring likes and shares on social media.
2. Create a content calendar
Decide how often you plan to blog and then map out your content in advance. It helps if you start by outlining the “buckets” of content or categories you want to cover. For example, an artisan meat and cheese shop might determine their categories as Craftsmanship, Recipes, Product Stories, Philanthropic Efforts and Sales Promotions. This will help ensure you are balanced in your content creation.
An easy way to get started is to look at each quarter or season and identify the major opportunities for your business to add value with a specific topic. For example, if you are a floral shop, start with blogs about Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and other major holidays and fill in from there. If you are a crop-related business, start with planning, planting, in-season and harvest and add topics from there.
3. Keep sales pitches to a minimum
Never forget that a blog is like a conversation with a customer. You are helping them with information they are looking for. Forget the hard sell. It’s a major turn-off to click on a blog post thinking you are about to learn something and then get hit with cheesy sales lines. The 80/20 rule is a good rule of thumb in this situation. Your content calendar should include 80% helpful, relevant information and 20% sales-related posts. Inform, educate and engage your readers and then don’t forget to add a call to action at the end of your post to keep them going in the right direction!
4. Focus on evergreen content as much as possible, while staying relevant
A blog can be a great long-term investment for your brand. Depending on your business, purchase cycles may vary and you want to be ready when a prospect might be looking for information. This means that a blog post you wrote 6 months ago may be just what a prospect is looking for. Evergreen content is helpful any time of year, regardless of season, essentially meaning, it does not expire. How-to articles are a great example, as long as they don’t contain a lot of current statistics or dated reports. These pieces have a long shelf life and can be recirculated many times to catch a lead.
5. Tap into guest authors
It’s very likely you know colleagues and partners that could speak intelligently about your industry. Leverage folks in different departments throughout your company to write posts from their perspective. Reach out to respected influencers in your industry for a guest post or interview. Having third-party perspectives on your blog gives you credibility and can extend your reach. It also lessens the burden on you to create all the posts yourself.
Blogs have evolved over the years to be a key part of building a strong brand. They allow you to share your expertise and express
your brand personality in a controlled manner before you may ever have a chance to sit in front of a prospect. Blogs have become a natural
part of a website’s features, sometimes masquerading as the News tab or a Resources page. Recently, we’ve been working with clients to incorporate
that content into the site itself for a more integrated user experience. Contact us to see some examples of how we can help your brand speak
to customers through a blog!