In my business niche, blogging is a given. Nobody in the business of marketing goes out there with a few pages of a website and a business card and expects to rake in customers.
So I’m always surprised when I peek outside my own little bubble to find out how few other businesses are actually blogging. Within the past month alone I’ve spoken with landscapers, retailers, contractors and other service providers who not only don’t blog for business but don’t think it’s worth it.
It’s not always about time or money, either. Plenty of times it’s simply about a lack of perceived value.
So for the doubters among us, I’ve compiled this short list of reasons that blogging is not only valuable but necessary if you want your business to succeed.
Before you decide blogging is not for you/your niche/your customers, take a gander through these questions and tell me if any of them apply to you.
Do You Want To Be Found In Google?
If there’s one thing I hear universally from customers it’s this: “I want people to find me in Google”.
Even people who have never heard the acronym SEO and don’t know a keyword from a keyhole still know enough to recognize that getting their websites found on Google is important.
Whether you’ve got the fundamentals of SEO down or you’re still kind of confused about what a search box is, I bet you understand that the easier it is for your potential customers to find you on Google, the likelier you are to generate leads.
Then next question is then: “How do I get found?”
There’s a long answer, which involves things like keywords and quality of content and social signals and other bits.
And there’s a short answer: blogging.
Blogging is the antidote to your Google blues.
How does that work? Simple: your blog provides the content that Google wants to see in its search results. Google is all about content – more specifically “quality content” – and your blog is a content-generating machine.
Each blog post is another opportunity to show up in Google search and drive traffic to your website. More importantly it’s an opportunity to drive qualified traffic, meaning people who are actively searching for your product or service and have found you.
Each blog post is an opportunity to focus on a specific topic (and the keywords that your customers are searching for).
And each blog post tells Google that you are a little more credible and authoritative.
Your website may be wonderful but it’s finite. You have a limited set of pages to say a limited number of things and chances are your site stays exactly the same for a long time.
But your blog gives you endless opportunity to branch out into any topic that is relevant to your business, to let Google know that you’re actively producing content and to put another hook out there that Google can latch onto and deliver to your potential customers in their search results.
If all that positive reinforcement doesn’t convince you then I’ll put it another way: if you don’t blog as part of your business marketing plan, you’re going to have a slim chance of competing in search results.
Are You Interested In Social Marketing?
Social marketing is a great way to connect with customers and prospects. It can help you build relationships and authority, provide service, generate leads and even make sales.
And part of social marketing is sharing things with your audience by way of tweets, pins, status updates and posts.
So what are you going to say?
You could wrack your brain… or you could mine your blog.
Once you’ve put the effort into crafting a blog post you can double up on your efforts by repurposing that blog post for your social marketing.
There’s the obvious – like sharing the link to your blog on your networks. And then there’s the not-as-obvious – pulling out key quotes, repurposing photos, generating corollary questions or even mini-surveys.
For example, I can take this very post and pull out a quote like this:
If you don’t blog as part of your business marketing plan, you’re going to have a slim chance of competing in search results.
And post it across all my social networks as a bit of advice or a comment-stimulator.
I can conduct a survey like this:
Name one reason why you don’t blog for business.
I can pin my photo, share my link.
Create once, share many times.
Do you know what that does?
Saves me a ton of time and brain power. And for you, if you’re outsourcing some or all of your marketing, it can save you money, too.
In reverse? Social marketing will require more of your time, effort and money. And with less original and personal content to share you have a lot less chance of building the kind of relationships that matter on social media.
Do You Want A Lead To Turn To You Or To Your Competition?
Let me turn that question around. If you were searching for a service and you looked it up on Google and you found two companies that looked like viable options, and one had a blog that answered your questions and reassured you that the company was competent and legitimate – and one didn’t – who would you be more likely to contact and hire?
Your ability to write what your customers want to read may be the single thing standing between you and a competitor.
A blog gives you every opportunity to cover the topics your customers are interested in, to address the questions they often ask, to affirm and soothe their fears, to remind them of why they want your product or service in the first place.
Many posts on this site were born from customer questions or concerns – how do I set up a Facebook page? What should I post on Twitter? How much will this cost? Why should I blog?
I bet even without a blog you spend plenty of time talking with your prospects, answering the same questions over and over, having the same conversations about pricing, how you work, what your services are good for or why your product only comes in blue and not in pink.
I bet you do your fair share of convincing, of conveying your value or offering your suggestions.
How cool would it be if the next time someone asked you one of those questions you could point them to a blog post on the topic? What kind of time could you save by prequalifying people, by having a resource where you could direct people instead of repeating yourself for the billionth time?
I don’t suggest that your blog can take the place of a conversation but it can certainly mitigate some of the repetition in your business.
And it can exponentially increase your credibility in the eyes of your customers and prospects – especially if you’re not shy about tackling tough subjects or even complaints.
I bet you know a whole lot about your business. You know how to provide what your customers really need. You know how to do a great job and provide great value. Now imagine using that knowledge and expertise to convince and convert people simply because you were smart enough to write it down.
Want it in a different way? If your competition isn’t blogging and you are, you win. If your competition is blogging and you aren’t… yup, you lose.
And if you both are, well then it’s up to you to make your blog shine a little brighter but at least you’re not left in the dark.
Take Out Keyboard. Start.
I’m not a fan of making things sound quick and easy because so few things are. Blogging successfully will take planning, smart execution and of course good writing skills.
But that shouldn’t scare you away from getting started. You can do that right now and do it – dare I say – pretty quickly and easily if you just sit down with yourself and your brain for a nice uninterrupted block of time. Even if all you can squeeze out of your day is a half hour, do that today and begin by brainstorming all of the questions that your customers ask. All of their complaints. All of their doubts, concerns, fears. All of the things they are confused about, all of the things they don’t know or understand about your business and industry.
Don’t qualify or judge those things, just spit them out as fast as you can. Save often.
Later you can deal with the good ideas and the bad ideas but start by reassuring yourself that you have a ton to say on any number of topics that pertain to your business.
Believe it or not, this first and easiest step is often, paradoxically, the hardest one. So many people convince themselves they don’t know what to say or how to write so getting started becomes the biggest obstacle.
But once you realize what a wealth of knowledge and information you’ve got stored in your brain, the rest is logistics.
Now, go make that list. And if you’re ready to get going you can give our editorial calendar a whirl by downloading it here along with the rest of our free marketing resources.
The fate of your business hinges on it.