Blogs have been around since the late 90s in essentially a similar format to those available now. There may be more images involved but the main content has always been written content, communicating the thoughts and opinion of the writer –or blogger, and sharing information.
Blogs have the power to change the way we think. Some of the most popular blogs, such as FourHourWorkweek.com by Tim Ferriss or TechCrunch.com by Michael Arrington have impacted thousands of people around the globe and in doing so made their owners into multimillionaires.
A common theme running through most of the successful blogs is that personal desire to want to help others. To share what worked and what didn’t. To encourage others to do things differently or think differently about their business or situation and take action. So if that hasn’t made you want to get into blogging, here are ten reasons why it is right for your business.
1. It creates a regular connection to your audience
How often do you communicate with your audience, your community or your customers? Many small businesses do this very rarely –if at all. Blogging is a great opportunity to regularly get in front of your customers. Ok, you can’t guarantee that they will read every post, but without a blog you are denying yourself a unique opportunity to connect with them and share your knowledge and expertise in a way they may thank you for, by using more of your services or recommending you to others.
2. It shows you have something to say
If you say nothing, the implication is that you have nothing to say. That might not be a bad thing as there’s no point making things up. You have to have something to say that will benefit your audience, otherwise you are best off saying nothing.
The reality, however, is that everyone has something to say. There is always information and expertise that you have that your audience needs. You don’t even need to be the top expert in the world at your subject. You just need to know a little more than your audience.
In another post we’ll look at how you can generate ideas to blog about.
3. You can portray a sense of authority in your subject
When people know you regularly have something to say on a specific topic, you will find them coming to you as an expert in that topic.
I have been asked to give talks partly on the strength of my blog –it looks as if I know what I’m talking about in the area of the web, design, branding and social media. As mentioned earlier, people want to know your process to see if they can emulate it. Becoming an authority will only happen if you are expressing your opinions and expertise regularly to your audience.
4. You will be easier to find
If you write your content in a way that works well with SEO, with your regular content out there you have far more chance of being picked up by search engines. However this does not mean you pack it full of keywords. It has to be written for humans.
5. You will have regular new content to promote
This no doubt sounds obvious. New content gives you the opportunity to spread the word via social media, or via newsletters (see next point).
You don’t just have to link to the post. You can create a graphic that goes alongside it that people are more likely to share.
6. It generates content for your newsletters
We bang on about the importance of email newsletters regularly in this blog. For good reason. Newsletters can provide an extremely good return on investment. But you need regular, high-quality content to make them worthwhile.
One popular model –which we use ourselves at RMLalchan, is to post part of a blog in the newsletter as a teaser for the user to click through to the blog site for more information. This is often integrated as the lead article. Some bloggers post the whole blog in their newsletter. I’m not keen on this myself and I think a blog and a newsletter serve different purposes and will often have different audiences.
7. It can help you analyse the needs of your audience
When coming up with topics to blog about, a first port of call should naturally be your customers. What questions do you regularly get asked? What are the support issues you have to deal with?
Some of my blog posts have come directly from the questions that people ask me on a regular basis. Here are a few of the blog posts as they relate to the questions I’m asked.
|Which content management system should I use?||Your guide to top content management systems|
|What do I need to set up an ecommerce site?||Key tips to get you selling online|
|What's the benefit of podcasting and how would I set one up?||How to extend your brand through podcasting|
|How much does a website cost?||How much does a website cost?|
Doing this helps you see just where the pain points of your customers are, to enable you to scratch just where they’re itching!
8. It makes you active not passive
Similar to point 2, regularly writing blog posts gives a sense that your business is moving forwards. How many times have you looked at a company’s website to see the last blog post dates back to 2011? What does it makes you think of the company? It certainly doesn’t give the impression they are churning out content.
People often prefer to work with companies who are busy, as there is a reason why they’re busy and others aren’t. They’re usually very good and in demand.
9. You can build a new audience
I’ve mentioned your audience a lot in this post and meeting their needs, but with your blog you have the opportunity to extend your audience.
It’s important to note now that people don’t ‘subscribe’ to blogs as much as they used to. The reason? Social media of course. With regular promotion via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or your channels of choice, more people will get to know about your blog.
10. It’s a low cost way to promote yourself
Writing good content takes time. It’s not just about getting words on a screen. It’s about writing that connects with your audience.
Even if you are not a good writer yourself, it doesn’t cost much to draft out the key points of an article, coming from your own expertise, and then let a member of your team who is a content producer write the blog post for you. You can also outsource the final draft to an experienced copywriter –depending on your budget, they may interview you and write the article in full themselves.
Either way, it doesn’t have to cost the earth and the benefits can far outweigh the cost.
Bringing it home
So there you have it. Ten reasons to get blogging. If you have additional reasons, let me know on Twitter or in the comments field below.