The Blog

A culmination of words that usually make a lot of sense.

Why Every Business Needs a Blog

by Matt Cheuvront on December 07, 2010

Can we come up with a new word? I feel like the word “blog” gets a bad rep. To the masses, “blog” creates a mental image of an online diary, scribbling your secret crushes on to Xanga or LiveJournal – but, if you’re reading this, you know as well as I that “blog” can and does mean much more.

Overcoming that stereotype is one of the biggest obstacles we have when talking about adding a blog into a client’s online marketing mix. What should we write about? How often should we do it? Will anyone care about what we have to say? All valid questions.

Here are a few ways every business and organization can benefit from blogging.

SEO

Content Marketing, at it’s core, is about developing content that drives people (potential clients, donors and/or consumers) to your website. Without a blog, you’re looking at a website that remains relatively static – possibly changing every-so-often, but rarely. With a blog, you have the ability to post regular and consistent new content – and Google likes this (a lot).

Search engines love seeing relevant, new, popular content when ‘crawling’ your website. The more search-based traffic, the better. Why? Because, organic traffic is the best their is – people will find YOU – meaning you can spend less time marketing and more time writing compelling content.

Increased Site Traffic

What does compelling content lead to? More conversation, more links, more repeat visits. Adding a blog to the mix is without a doubt the best way to encourage repeat visits – it gives your audience a reason to come back again and again. It gives your consumers something to look forward to.

Consistency is key when it comes to blogging – and when developing your blog-posting schedule, it’s important to consider what you can realistically commit to, and then stick to it. Why? Because like it or not, when you start posting, you’re going to create an expectation – we all like regularity – knowing that every Tuesday and Thursday we can count on a new post from you.

Folks don’t come to our website every day to see if we’ve added a new client to the portfolio. They come often because we post regularly and share our ‘wisdom’ on branding and marketing. Post consistently; post good stuff, and you’ll without a doubt see a huge spike in traffic.

Builds Relationships

The real beauty of creating an interactive space for conversation on your website (and that’s exactly what a blog does) is the forging of relationships that takes place. This is the real value of blogging – aside from the more “tangible” benefits, you’re building a rapport with your online community. More and more, we’re seeing consumers, especially Gen Y folks, connecting with brands who take time to connect with them. Transparency, even a little, into the personality of your business or organization can and does go a long, long way.

This is especially important for smaller businesses and organizations looking to “compete” with the corporate big-wigs of the world. As a small business, one thing you can and always will be able to offer is a ‘human’ relationship with your consumers and through online conversations to be had via blogging and social media, you have the opportunity to do just that – and in such, creating a loyal brand evangelists.

Cheap Marketing

Still not convinced? If nothing else, starting a blog is very, very inexpensive – so you have little to lose. Your time is valuable, of course, and building a successful blog is going to take time, but from a monetary perspective, there’s very little to no risk in firing up a blog. Why are so many turning to blogging and social media as their primary marketing tool? Because of the low barrier to entry and low/free price point.

Ready to start blogging?

It seems like common sense to start a blog now, or get a lot more active in blogging than you have been, right? I know, I know, it’s not that easy. You’re still worried about not having enough time, or maybe you’re not even sure what to write about. Allow me to leave you with few words of comfort to take away.

  • You don’t have to limit what you write about. If you’re a coffee shop, you don’t have to only write about coffee – if you’re a marketing firm, you don’t have to only focus on the latest marketing trends. You’re a representative of your brand, but underneath it all, you’re still a human – and as a human – you no doubt have a lot of different interests and opinions on a wide array of topics. Show some of that through your blog. Does that mean you should write about cute puppies on your law firms website? Maybe not, but don’t be afraid to show a little YOU in your blogging.
  • Be realistic. Don’t tell yourself, and don’t let anyone else tell you how much you should write or how often. As with every other form of marketing you’re already doing or considering – think about what you realistically can commit to. If that means you’ll post every day, that’s great. If it means you can only post a couple times a month, that’s fine to. Don’t walk away from this thinking you have to do it all – nothing leads to burn out faster than biting off more than you can chew and being overly-ambitious.
  • Give it time. There’s no immediate ROI for blogging. I can’t sit here and tell you that by blogging two times per week you’re going to increase revenue by 100k. I’ve highlighted the primary benefits above, and they are just that, very beneficial to your business or organization. But it’s going to take time – just know that your time invested will pay off in the long run, if you stick with it and stay consistent.

What blogging benefits would you add? What challenges have presented themselves? Should every business have a blog?


4 Responses

  1. Mike Zeller says:

    Matt, thanks for sharing and challenging us to write more.

    Benefits:
    -Opportunity to contribute and enrich the lives of others.
    -Potential to develop as a writer, thinker, communicator.
    -Potential to generate new business or help other businesses succeed by blogging about them.

    Every business have a blog? Only if the person wants to write about it…if someone is lackluster, they’re produce lackluster work. Work not worth reading.

    • “Work is not worth reading” – great point, Mike. The biggest hesitation we run into clients when we talk about starting to blog is that they 1) don’t have time and 2) don’t know what to write about. Both very valid and if it’s not in the cards, I completely understand their are more essential business functions that need to be taken care of.

      With that being said – we encourage our clients to think about the content that is being generated for them. One of our clients has a helpline people can call – those questions, those comments, each one is a potential blog post. Use the conversations you have on a day to day basis and translate that into something that is relatable and helpful to a wider audience. The less content you have to pull out of thin air, the easier it is for you to write efficiently and be effective with your time management.

      Cheers!

  2. Lance Haun says:

    Really?

    I know of many businesses that don’t need websites, much less a blog. My favorite coffee shop in Portland is a hole in the wall with no website. It’s small, it’s jam packed and they don’t advertise online. They aren’t looking to grow beyond where they are at (many businesses are content with their level of customers). What advantage do they get from spending hours a week on a blog?

    I also think you underestimate how much time is worth or how hard it is for many people to sit down and write a piece. To an entrepreneur or small business person, a few hours a week spent with family or researching something that actually will have an impact on their business is time better spent.

    I get exposed to a lot of this when people ask if they should use social media for recruiting. The real questions are if your target candidates are online AND can you find them? When I worked for a place that hired primarily blue collar workers, we didn’t use the internet at all. We used alternatives to reach them.

    Does using a blog make sense for many businesses? Sure. I suppose. Maybe. But all? Not even close.

    • Can every single business benefit from having a blog/news section of their website? Absolutely. Should every business who has a website integrate something like this into their marketing mix? In my belief, yes. If a business or organization has any desire at all to grow their business via the web, a blog, a place to publish new content consistently in an effort to drive customers to their website, is an essential tool.

      For a business that has absolutely no desire to grow their business in any way? I’ve yet to run into working with a client who has been in that situation. I have a favorite coffee shop here in Nashville as well who does essentially nothing on the web – no social media, no blog, no website – yet the shop is always packed. It’s a testamant to the business who has clearly done an excellent job, serves their customers well, and is growing their business via word of mouth.

      But I can’t see a situation where a website and a blog would have any negative impact. Yes, the coffee shop may be doing well without either, but they can potentially reach an entirely new audience of loyal and outstanding customers who may not have knew about them if it weren’t for a website. They can use a blog to let the community know about an upcoming songwriter event or a poetry night, they can use social media to deliver deals to their loyal followers.

      In the grand scheme of things, marketing is never an absolute need. That’s why marketing is usually the first thing to get cut from any budget – because a company CAN survive, even do well, without it. But when feasible, effective marketing, in this case consistently posting new content on your website via a blog, is extremely effective.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lance.

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