People ask me often if they really need a blog, if it is a necessary part of running their business. This question is most often asked by small business owners and my real estate clients who simply don’t have the time or skills to regularly create compelling content. Coming up with what to write is equally a challenge for them.
I have been blogging and creating marketing content for a good portion of my career, my business is built on providing these services to my clients. I’ve seen firsthand the difference it can make in terms of search visibility, leads, and sales. I’m a huge advocate of investing heavily in a content publication strategy – “content marketing”, and that strategy begins with the company blog.
As many of you are thinking about adding a blog to your marketing mix, I wanted to address the reasons why blogging makes sense.
1) It helps drive traffic to your website.
Think about the ways people find your website:
- They could type your name right in to their browser, but that’s an audience you already have. They know who you are, you’re on their radar, and that doesn’t help you get more traffic on top of what you’re already getting.
- You could pay for traffic by buying an email list (don’t you dare!), blasting them, and hoping some people open and click through on the emails. But that’s expensive and, you know, illegal.
- You could pay for traffic by placing tons of paid ads, which isn’t illegal, but still quite expensive. And the second you run out of money, your traffic stops coming, too.
So, how can you drive any traffic? In short: blogging, social media, and search engines. Here’s how it works.
Think about how many pages there are on your website. Probably not a ton, right? And think about how often you update those pages. Probably not that often, right? (How often can you really update your About Us page, you know?)
Blogging helps solve both of those problems.
Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search. It is one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface.
Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.
Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going — instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channels.
So, the first benefit of blogging? It helps drive new traffic to your website and works closely with search engines and social media to do that.
2) It helps convert that traffic into leads.
Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads.
Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post.
Often, these calls-to-action lead to things like free ebooks, free whitepapers, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials … basically, any content asset for which someone would be willing to exchange their information. To be super clear for anyone unfamiliar with how traffic-to-lead conversions work, it’s as simple as this:
- Visitor comes to website
- Visitor sees call-to-action for a free offer
- Visitor clicks call-to-action and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
- Visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer
Note: Not every reader of your blog will become a lead. That’s okay. No one converts 100% of the people who read their blog into leads. Just get blogging, put calls-to-action on every blog post, set a visitor-to-lead conversion rate benchmark for yourself, and strive to improve that each month.
3) It helps establish authority.
The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes.
Can you imagine the impact of sending an educational blog post you wrote to clear things up for a confused customer?
“Establishing authority” is a fluffy metric — certainly not as concrete as traffic and leads, but it’s pretty powerful stuff. Look at these benefits:
- If prospects find answers to their common questions via blog posts written by you or your marketing team, they’re much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say because you’ve helped them in the past, even before they were interested in purchasing anything from you.
- Prospects that have been reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated on your place in the market, your industry, and what you have to offer.
- Blog posts help move the sales process along more swiftly, providing answers to questions, creating awareness of your services and expertise and generating preference for your services.
4) It drives long-term results.
You know what would be cool? If any of the following things helped you drive site traffic and generate new leads:
- Trip to Hawaii
- Going to the gym
Good news, though! That’s what blogging does, largely through search engines. Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today. Let’s say that blog post gets you 100 views and 10 leads. You get another 50 views and 5 leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers get caught up on their email. But after a couple days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down and you’ve netted 150 views and 15 leads.
It’s not done.
That blog post is now ranking in search engines. That means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while it may feel like day one or bust, in reality, blogging acts more like this:
So while you’re hitting your snooze alarm, surfing in Hawaii, and pumping iron at the gym, you’re also driving traffic and leads. The effort you put in yesterday can turn into hundreds of thousands of views and leads in the future.
In fact, a great amount of traffic each month on my blog comes from posts that weren’t published in the current month. They come from old posts. Sometimes posts from years ago.
We call these types of blog posts “compounding” posts. Not every blog post will fit into this category, but the more evergreen blog posts you write, the more likely it is that you’ll land on one of those compounding blog posts. To me (and hopefully to you), this demonstrates the scalability of business blogging.
Let The Social Voice Box take care of your blogging and social media marketing.
At Sandy Hibbard Creative, we offer blogging and social media marketing programs that will help drive traffic, create awareness, and garner more leads for your business. The Social Voice Box program and the Social Voice Box [PLUS] programs work together to create compelling content for your blog and publish it to the web to your social media outlets. We take the work off of you. Contact Sandy today for more details.