When blogs got their start in the 90’s, they were nothing more than online diaries where people would recount and reflect on their daily experiences. While many still post to such personal blogs today, blogging has taken on more of a professional identity. It is now an effective online marketing channel by which businesses can attract and educate consumers. How far this current use is from the original! A business blog takes some work, but it does a lot of work for your business in return. Read on to learn six ways a blog works to help small businesses like yours get found online, attract and retain customers, and earn a trustworthy reputation
6 Ways to Put Your Blog to Work for Your Business
Among many others, proper business blogging accomplishes six important things.
1. Boosts Rankings in Search
Regularly producing industry-related content can improve your business’s rankings and, therefore, its online visibility. This is especially true if you write mainly informative posts rather than promotional ones. Informational posts often naturally include a good mix of keywords and if you further optimize your posts for search engines, you can rank high in search results.
Additionally, your rankings can receive a boost when search engine bots note that site visitors consistently stay on and engage with your pages. How can you get visitors to do this? Educate them using your business blog! Include links in your blog posts to other relevant blog posts or even website pages. Make it easy for them to browse or discover related content, such as by having a category menu.
2. Educates Consumers (AKA Your Potential Customers)
Aside from keeping visitors on your website longer and lowering bounce rate, providing informative blog posts has some additional benefits.
First, you will gain the trust and respect of your audience. If each post teaches them something new, interesting, or practical, they will look to you as an authority in your industry. As a result, when they’re in need of the products or services you offer, your business will be top of mind. Instead of heading to your competitors, you’ll most likely be their first choice because rapport has been established.
In other words, you will have laid the basis for casual blog visitors to become loyal readers and for those readers to become loyal customers.
3. Establishes You as a Thought Leader
As previously mentioned, a quality business blog can help build your identity as an authority in your industry. Of course, you want to be viewed as an expert in your field. Yet, there’s another opportunity available to you. You could become a thought leader in your industry, which would boost your credibility even more and, in plain terms, contribute greatly to the growth of your business.
How do you claim this title of “thought leader”? Your posts should be more than just informative. They must also be fresh, approaching the same old subjects from new angles or adding something new to the conversation.
For example, do you have predictions about where your industry is headed or what trends are on the horizon? If so, you could discuss supporting evidence and how things might change should your predictions come to pass. This is the stuff of thought leaders! They’re always a step ahead of the rest.
4. Provides Thorough Explanations of Products and Services
While primarily providing general industry info, your blog can also be used as a vehicle to explain what you offer. More importantly, it can provide added context in terms of why you offer what you do and how it benefits your customers and clients.
Your blog posts should not replace your products and services pages. Use them to go into depth about certain aspects of your products, to promote updates and additions, and even to link their features and benefits with your overall company mission. These posts add color to your offerings, help to reinforce your brand voice and values, and keep your products top of mind for new and existing readers.
5. Offers 24/7 Support to Customers
As a small business, you may not have a 24/7 customer service line working around the clock, but you still need to make sure you’re removing any barriers that stand in the way of your customers getting the support they need. You don’t want them to be left hanging simply because there’s no customer service rep available at the time or for any other reason.
One way to prevent this is to include support-oriented posts in your blog, with how-to’s, instructions, tutorials, and even troubleshooting tips. This way you can continue being a reliable and trusted information source even after hours. Not only will this impress your customers but it will also lighten the load for your support teams, allowing them to focus on the most serious issues.
6. Opens the Way For Regular Communication
Relationship-building requires regular interaction…but not just one-sided engagement. You can’t be content to leave engagement to your audience without engaging in return. That’s a surefire way to push away the very people you’re trying to attract!
In addition to making yourself accessible by other means, you can establish regular communication by posting consistently on your blog. Regardless of the tone of your brand, it’s always good to be conversational and to use calls to action that encourage engagement. This is one way to build solid relationships with those in your target audience.
Is Your Business Blog Working For You?
Is your business blog doing most or all of the above? If not, don’t continue to miss out. Review best practices, examine your blog through the eyes of your target market, and make the needed adjustments so that you can enjoy the benefits of proper business blogging!