Why is the business blog not given the marketing attention it deserves? In an age of shiny new toys such as social media marketing and Facebook it is often overlooked as being slightly dowdy and just a touch unattractive.
Blogging requires commitment both in thought and time. CEO’s that blog are very rare as they are typically time poor. Often the first challenge is finding someone with the passion, expertise and skill within the organisation willing and able to make the effort to blog. Once that person (or persons) is onboard the next hurdle is what do they write about?… often a good place to start is by asking some questions.
Who is my Target Market Audience?
There will be often more than one target market if you are a typical business. Along with that you will need to ask more questions about your audience such as
- What are their goals and aspirations?
- What are their business problems?
- What media do they rely upon for for answers to their problems? (Eg. Forums, publications, LinkedIn)
What are the Goals for the Blog?
Starting with the end in mind is vital and helps with avoiding a meandering blog that doesn’t quite know where it is heading. A ship’s captain sets course for the destination before he leaves port and in the end this seems to work rather well and a blog is no different. Goals for the blog could be.
- Increase sales
- Display company expertise
- Increase brand awareness.
This is important as this will reflect in how often you write and what you write about. Quite often corporate bloggers fall into the trap of trying to sell and write about the company products and services and their features and benefits. A much more powerful strategy is to start providing solutions and tips for their potential clients problems first and then sales will naturally follow. The reality is that quite often potential customers will be reading the corporate blog for 12 months before they pick up the phone or drop you an email.
More reading: Why Solving Problems Beats Marketing
Where Do I Source This Content?
Most companies forget that they already have a lot of content… it is just happens to be off-line and out of view. So you need to start thinking digital and move your appropriate off-line content out of the filing cabinets and onto the web.
There is a lot of inspiration for sourcing and developing content that will assist the corporate blogger to write compelling content such as:
- Industry news
- Look at your competitors latest blog posts
- Video interviews of well known identities and experts in your industry
More reading: 30 Inspiring Ideas To Develop Content For Your Blog
The mantra that you should be memorizing and embedding is “Think like a publisher”
Does Research Evidence Support Business Blogging?
Recent research by Hubspot after surveying 644 business executives revealed some facts and figures that provide solid evidence for the benefits of blogging for business.
The other evidence unveiled by the survey:
- Outbound marketing (such as Direct mail, PPC (paid search), Telemarketing and Tradeshows) shows lead costs average $373
- Leads generated by blogs and inbound marketing (SEO and Social Media) averaged only $143 per lead
- Spending on direct mail and telemarketing is decreasing
- Small businesses are leading the way on blogging and inbound marketing
What are 10 Benefits of the Business Blog?
1. Creates Exposure for your Business
A company blog that adds value to other businesses will be linked to by other blogs and websites and tweeted about and shared on Facebook and LinkedIn. This has the inevitable result of putting your brand in front of more people
2. Increases Traffic and Subscribers
Visits to the blog will inevitably increase traffic and a well integrated blog that links to the company website and other corporate online properties will drive page views and hits as exposure increases. Increased traffic also increases email and RSS subscriber acquisition.
3. Improves Search Rankings
Google and other search engines are increasing the value and the priority of blogs and social media assets such as Facebook and Twitter in their search results. This change to Google’s search algorithms alone makes blogging essential.
4. Results In New Business Partnerships
The increased visibility of your business online and its positioning as a thought leader and expert in your industry and niche attracts other businesses that want to partner with you.
5. Generates Qualified Leads
High quantities of leads looks good but what you really want are leads that are qualified and of high quality. A blog positions your company and attracts the right type of leads as it develops and publishes content for the market you want to attract.
6. Reduces Overall Marketing Expenses
As shown in the Hubspot survey, blogs can reduce costs per lead by 62% over traditional marketing
7. Improves Sales
The synergy of higher traffic and increased lead quality inevitably produces an increase in sales. I certainly have noticed this over the last 2 years with sales doubling and average sales value increasing.
Blogs don’t sleep and the benefit of the web is that your blog can be educating your customers while you sleep. Add some YouTube video tutorials to your blog and you have an online classroom. One of the major costs of business is educating clients prior to the sale so an online property that educates one to many without you being there is the perfect tool.
9. On-line Research Tool
As you start writing and publishing your blog potential clients will tell you what they like and don’t like via their comments and feedback. Comments will display to you what is resonating and will allow you to adjust your companies product and services direction that is guided by real time customer feedback
10. Creates and Hones Expertise
This benefit is quite often overlooked but the art of writing and developing content for your blog creates expertise from research and the thinking that naturally happens as a consequence. Sharpening the edge oif your expertise inevitably opens up opportunities that you were maybe blind to before
One important element that should not be missing on any business blog is that you need a call to action either to subscribe, attend a seminar, make an inquiry or offering a free trial of your services.
The business blog might not be as attractive as the latest fads and shiny toys but it is certainly a marketing platform you should not ignore.
Image by keso