5 Reasons You Should Start a Blog in 2017

11 Aug 2016
Alan Martin

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Not sure if writing a blog is a waste of time?

Want to know what blogging can do for your business?

In this article I’ll explain 5 of the top reasons why I think you should invest your time writing, publishing and promoting regular blog articles.

If you haven’t heard Marcus Sheridan’s story, about how he saved his struggling pool company from bankruptcy, that alone should convince you of the wisdom of blogging, but in case you still need more convincing, here are what I consider to be the most important benefits that blogging can bring to your business.

But first before I get into all of that, how does blogging fit in with social media?

What does blogging have to do with social media?

This could be an entire blog topic on it’s own but briefly, Social media status updates usually comprise small snippets of content, which over time, if done correctly, help to build a ‘know’, ‘like’ and ‘trust’ relationship with your community. The very nature of these small broadcasts however, and the fact that your audience will not see every update that you share, means that it can be difficult to build deeper relationships based solely on the content that you are sharing via social media.

If however you consistently share links to blog posts that you have written, this sends traffic to your blog/website, where people can not only get to know you and what you stand for on a much deeper level, but they also get exposed to your business and may end up subscribing to your email list or making a purchase from you, based on what they see when they visit your site.

Having a blog gives your content a home, an environment which you can control, and using a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model you can use your various social media channels to send traffic back to your blog.

5 Reasons You Should Blog

1. Search Engine Optimisation

I am by no means a search engine expert, but I do have a basic understanding of how it works, which I will explain here in relation to publishing regular blog content.

It is probably safe to say that if you have a presence online, you should think of Google as the Over-Lord of Marketing (or should it be Darth Vader, I am not so sure). So much of our new business, could hinge on how Google ranks us, because if we are not ranking highly in a search for our area of expertise, then we effectively don’t exist online. I know this is over-simplifying things a bit but it is true!

Yes, if people know the name of your company and they put that in as a search query, your website should appear near the top, however unless people know the name of your company, they will be searching for what you do or for answers to their questions. In any case, if you are not optimising your site for search, you will be nowhere (unless you are paying for Google ads of course, but I’m talking about organic search here) and you are definitely leaving money on the table.

So what has this got to do with blogging? Well, one of the things that Google (and other search engines) look at when deciding where to rank your site, is how often new content is added to your site. Publishing regular blog content tells Google that your site often has new content, so that gives you extra Brownie Points when it comes to ranking your site, but not only that, the keywords that you use on your website make a difference too, especially when they appear as part of a natural conversation, rather than keyword stuffing on a page.

For this reason Google loves the rich content that’s created via a written blog post. Chris Brogan recently remarked “I blog for Google and I write newsletters for people”, meaning that even if no-one reads your blog, it is still worthwhile doing it for the search engine benefits that it will give you. In fact, according to TechClient, businesses with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages on their website than those that don’t.

Also when you publish good quality content on your website, people tend to stick around for longer, consuming your content. Time on Site is one of the factors that Google looks at to decide the relative importance of your website, so having a healthy volume of blog articles to keep your visitors interested will also help your SEO.

2. Clarify your thinking

The very act of publishing your thoughts and opinions online via a blog post forces you to clarify your thinking, carry out the necessary research etc to back up your point of view and analyse your thoughts in a critical way.

The process itself can be extremely valuable in helping you clarify your thinking around certain subjects. At TCMA back in June, Kevin Anderson of The Story Edge talked about the power of story telling, as he shared the emotional story of how writing down his thoughts and feelings helped him cope with his battle against depression. You can read more about Kevin’s talk here!

Kevin wasn’t really talking about blogging in his presentation, in fact I think he said he wrote his thoughts down on paper. But nevertheless the same thought patterns apply when you commit to writing a blog post.

3. Enhance your sales process

Another way you can use blog content is to back up your sales process. When Marcus Sheridan was at River Pools he would routinely send out an e-book about fiberglass swimming pools to people who had requested a sales visit, and ask potential customers to read it prior to his visit.

This not only positioned him as an expert in his field but also minimised the amount of time it took to close a sale, because prospects were better informed before he met them. This also cut down the time he spent speaking to people who were unlikely to become customers, because what they really wanted was a concrete pool or some other type of pool that River Pools didn’t supply, not a fiberglass pool.

Imagine if you sent your prospects links to content on your blog, prior to meeting them or working with them. Can you see how that could improve your sales process?

Not only that, when you encounter someone asking about a particular problem that you solve, you can send them a link to a blog post that answers that particular question in a non salesy way.

According to Hubspot, B2B marketers that blog receive 67% more leads than those that do not.

4. Become an authority in your industry

A blog is a great way to establish your authority within your industry and differentiate you from your competitors. If you want to build trust and credibility with your potential customers, a blog is a great way of doing it.

For example, If you needed the services of an accountant and you didn’t have the benefit of a recommendation from a friend or colleague, you could do a quick Google search to find the accountancy firms in your area, but what if there were a few to choose from?

Would you be more likely to phone the company that has a basic website or would you be more likely to trust the accountant that has an extensive blog collection on all matters, finance related?

With consumers doing more and more research online before they ever get in touch with you, having content easily available to help them make a decision will help you win more business.

5. Establish two-way communications

Most people will visit your website and then disappear into the ether without ever letting you know they were even there (except for another visitor being recorded in your analytics package). We’d all like to think that when someone visits our site they just pick up the phone to us, credit card in hand, but of course it doesn’t work like that.

In fact I heard a statistic somewhere that 93% of your web visitors will leave without a trace. Well having a blog is a great way to encourage visitors to engage with your content while they are on your site, by leaving comments on your blog. This not only helps strengthen the relationship with your website visitors but it also helps you identify potential advocates for your business and introduce you to ideas or points of view that you had not thought of.

Conclusion

I was tempted to write a few more reasons why you should consider writing a blog, but I really wanted to get over that blogging is not ‘dead’ and explain why you should consider it as part of your wider digital strategy. It’s search engine friendly and helps give your business a personality, which differentiates you from your competitors. After all, who wants to do business with yet another ‘vanilla’ company.

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