What is a blog? Well, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the official definition of a blog is:
“A regular record of your thoughts, opinions, or experiences that you put on the internet for other people to read.”
This definition is probably what springs to mind for most people when they hear the word “blog”, alongside a vision of someone holed up in their room, nattering away about their daily live or niche hobby to strangers on the internet. However, blogging has come a long way since its initial creation in the 1990s. These days, although many do not realise it, blogging is a powerful marketing tool that a business can – and should – use to its advantage.
What are the benefits of blogging for businesses?
Blogging offers many advantages to businesses. In fact, blogging is now one of the three primary media forms used in content marketing strategies, and a term has been coined for it: “business blogging”. This is defined as a marketing tactic to provide a business with increased online visibility. Some of the benefits of blogging include:
1. Driving website traffic
Every time you publish a blog post, another page is added to your site. This provides another opportunity to be indexed in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, meaning more opportunities to be found by users. By making use of search engine optimisation (SEO) and including specific keywords in your content, you can enhance this further and drive traffic to your site from users specifically searching for topics relevant to your business.
2. Converting traffic into leads
Each blog post provides a platform to turn a reader into a customer. The easiest way to achieve this is to add a call to action at the end of your blog post, encouraging the reader to do something that will turn them into a lead, be that subscribing to a newsletter, getting in touch with the team or filling out an order form. To learn more about how and why to use a call to action, check out our blog post on CTAs here.
3. Providing long-term results
Once you’ve published a blog post, unless you delete it, it will stay on the internet forever. This means that it will continuously provide opportunities to drive site traffic and convert that traffic into potential leads. While someone may not be searching for the topic of your blog post this week, they may do so in a month’s time, and your piece might be the perfect solution to their problem – so don’t get disheartened if your piece doesn’t open the floodgates of engagement straight away. Another great advantage of a blog post is that it can be “recycled” again and again – another topic we’ve written about here.
4. Establishing authority
By producing blogs that are relevant to your industry, and are informative and helpful to the reader, you build yourself into an authoritative figure in your field. By establishing this clout, readers will trust in your expertise, and are therefore more likely to invest in your products and services.
5. Developing customer relationships
Another great benefit of blogs is that they provide another platform to connect with your audience. By providing a comment section, your readers can voice their opinions on your posts and you can respond directly to their thoughts or queries. This can help strengthen the trust and relationship between your business and customers, and can also indicate what types of content your audience likes the most.
6. Providing sharable content
An extremely powerful benefit of blogs is that they do not just have to exist on the blogging platform – they can be shared across the web, via social media or emails, for example. Many platforms, such as WordPress, allow you to publish your blog posts across all your social media at the click of a button, allowing your posts to be seen by a much broader audience. Not only can you share your posts, but your audience can too, driving further engagement and traffic.
How to use a blog
So, now that you know why you should utilise a blog for your business, you may be wondering how to go about it. There are a number of points to consider when business blogging:
1. Write for your audience
The most important point to remember when creating blog content is to write for your audience. At Engage Web, we work with our clients to establish a target demographic and always write content in an engaging, jargon-free manner, making it accessible to the widest audience possible. Alongside making the content understandable for your readers, a crucial point to consider is ensuring that your content is helpful and informative. Every piece of content should be crafted to provide the reader with something they can take away from the piece.
2. Plan in advance
Planning your blog posts in advance is essential. This ensures you won’t run the risk of sitting at your desk two hours before a blog post is due to be published with no idea what to write about, you won’t be producing rushed content, or duplicate something you’ve already covered. By planning in advance, you can also take advantage of themed days to drive further engagement – we follow a Content Marketing Calendar here at Engage Web.
3. Invest in a good title
A title is, of course, crucial. It’s what will drive clicks through to your post, and without an engaging one, all the work put into your article could be for nothing. We’ve outlined four measures your titles must meet here.
4. Consistent content
For a blog to be effective, you must provide consistent content – be that fortnightly pieces, weekly pieces, or even daily or every other day. Consistency will help to establish you as a professional, authoritative figure and can also help with your website rankings.
5. Use visuals
Providing visuals in your blog posts can help to create a more engaging post, be that an image, video, gif or infographic. A reader’s eye will be drawn to the visuals, catching their attention and encouraging them to click through and read the content. Nearly three quarters (73%) of people admit to skim-reading blog posts, so including visuals can help to convert these people into thorough readers of your posts, or can provide information for them to take away without the need to read all of the text.
6. Analyse and improve
By using analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, you can analyse the performance of your blog content. By identifying which posts drive the most engagement, you can identify which topics or post style is most of interest to your audience, which can then be used to tailor future content to help increase your engagement and customer relationship further.
At Engage Web, we can help you with all aspects of your blog, from setting one up to writing, editing and scheduling your content. If you would like to learn more about how blogging can benefit your business, give us a call today.