Written by Jessica Thiefels
Yes, you have a lot on your plate. Yes, you have client work to get done. Yes, you also need a digital presence in our online world.
Despite our increasingly scroll-heavy world, a business blog is still an important part of establishing expertise, articulating a personal brand and supporting business goals. A blog allows you to drive more potential customers to your site while boosting your rankings in search—which is why it can’t be ignored. While the returns of content marketing through blog articles may not be as immediate as simply giving Google your dollars for paid advertising in terms of ROI, putting in the work to create articles for your target audience will yield results for years to come.
If you’re still contemplating whether you want to put time into a blog, check out all the reasons why it’s still a smart business move.
1. A Business Blog is like a Continual SEO Boost for your Brand
When was the last time you made a decision to hire someone or buy someone without doing a bit of online discovery? If you want to be found online, showing up in the first few search results for a particular term is imperative. You need to focus on SEO (search engine optimization is the process of ensuring your website shows up in search when potential customers search for terms related to your business)—plain and simple. Blogging allows you to target a wide variety of related keywords, the terms and phrases consumers enter into search, so you can drive more people to your site.
While many business owners think SEO is a technical task, and it can be, there’s a lot you can do with content, even if you have minimal knowledge. Simply publishing fresh, high-quality content regularly helps with your SEO. If you can also get the other aspects of your SEO right, like internal linking, image optimization and keyword use, you’ll be amazed at how your organic traffic increases.
When I started publishing at least four times each month, optimizing all my posts for search, I saw exponential growth in organic traffic, which you can see in the graph below. The flat line represents organic traffic when I stopped publishing at this pace for 1 to 2 months.
The great news is, the more organic traffic you get, the more people are coming to your site without you having to spend time on social media, or other marketing mediums. Ultimately, you’re creating more opportunities to convert for years to come by putting in the work now.
2. Use Your Business Blog to Build Your Email List
You could have 10,000 followers on Instagram (all hail the swipe up), but what if the platform changes algorithms or features and all of a sudden you can’t reach them? One of the many reasons blog posts are valuable is that they get people to your site so you can build a subscriber base. As the email marketing experts at ConvertKit (used by PR Couture) explain:
“When you build an audience on another platform, you don’t actually own them. Facebook could change their news feed algorithm so that your content isn’t shown as often (that happened recently to fan pages) or your chosen platform could die out. Where would you be now if you had built your following on MySpace?”
While you can capture subscribers without a blog, it’s easier to say, “Want more great content like this? Subscribe to the blog newsletter!” As opposed to, “Sign up for my email list and I’ll send you promotional emails!” While it’s not always that black and white, blog posts allow you to connect with your audience and get them into an email list where you can provide value and sell.
Check out the subscribe opportunity offered by PR Couture, which you may have seen before landing on this post. Serving your audience and building the trust that drives the sale starts with providing value (and capturing valuable intel on just who is signing up so that you can provide them with the most valuable contact and service offerings).
3. A blog means you’ll never run out of content to repurpose for social media and email marketing
If you’ve ever felt the pressure to just post something on your social feeds, you’ll love this trick. Blog posts – new or old – can be shared on every social media outlet and more importantly, with your email list. After all, your subscribers and followers have already shown an interest in your brand by giving you their email address, or clicking that follow button, so don’t neglect them by posting or emailing sporadically.
Instead, nurture these relationships by maintaining your blog and sending a monthly content newsletter, where you share all your new blog posts. Instead of sending emails only when you have a sale or offer a new service, give them something of value, while also staying top of mind.
4. Build Trust Before Asking for the Business
No one likes a friend who’s always asking for something and never giving anything in return. The same can be said for businesses. How much do you hate when you see the same ad 3, 4, or 5 times in your Facebook newsfeed? Probably a lot. Why do you hate it? Because the company or brand has no interest in providing something of value. You’re just a target for an ad that’s being served to people who fit a certain criteria.
Your blog content is the opposite of that kind of impersonal marketing. With your blog, you’re to creating interesting and useful information that invites potential clients to get to know you and your approach, —instead of sending them directly to your services or product pages. This style of marketing, called organic content marketing, allows you to build the “know, like, trust” factor. This principle says that people do business with brands they know, like and trust. You can likely attest to this in your own life as well—there are brands you always buy from because you know and like them, and trust their product or services.
When you help someone solve a problem or answer a question before asking them to buy something, you show that you care about helping, not just selling. Bonus if you can actually give them the answer they were looking for and not just provide interesting content. That makes you memorable. The more you build that “know, like, trust factor,” the more likely you are to build relationships that lead to sales.
People do business with brands they know, like and trust.
5. Increase website sales and client bookings with your blog (yes seriously)
Did you know that educational content (blog posts) makes consumers 131 percent more likely to buy immediately after reading the content? What’s more, a week later, those polled were still 48 percent more likely to buy from the brand with the educational content. Finally, when respondents were shown a lineup of four brands from which to purchase, 83.6 percent chose the one with the great educational content.
Your blog posts have an impact, even if you don’t see an immediate conversion. You work so hard on branding on social media without realizing that your blog is a critical piece of your branding as well. Pretty images and witty tweets can only take you so far. High-value, educational blog posts may be what you need to start driving leads and truly building your business.
Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.