Is Business Blogging Dead?
Updated: Jan 22
If you own a business and you don’t have a #blog, I’m guessing you don’t see the value in it. I get it. You are on a tight schedule and a tight budget. You need to know that every minute and dollar spent is going to produce results. Will adding blogging to your marketing strategy be more of a cost burden than a brand boost? Isn’t blogging going the way of Blockbuster and AOL anyway? Isn’t marketing trending towards podcasts, videos, and social media posts?
Before I even begin this post, let me acknowledge the obvious irony of my blogging about blogs. I’m about to try to convince you that blogging is not, in fact, dead. And I’m so confident I’m right, I’ll be using the very medium I’m betting people are still using.
So, read on, blogging skeptics.
Who reads blogs these days?
Personal blogging - you know, the kind everyone did in the early 2000s to journal about their family vacations or weird hobbies - has been largely replaced by social media. Business blogging, on the other hand, is still going strong, and if you’re not jumping in, you’re missing out. Hubspot’s State of Marketing Report for 2020 found that 60% of people interact with blog posts at least once a week. According to Marketpath, 84% of consumers buy products based on the information received through blog posts. And 56% of buyers use blog posts to research B2B purchasing decisions.
Think about it. When you are in the market for a vacation destination, a razor, or a new pair of shoes, and you type your search into Google, you will very likely stumble across a company’s blog offering information related to your search. You may not spend more than a couple minutes on the site, but there it was, waiting for you to search for it. So, the answer to the question of who reads blogs these days is…you.
How can blogging help my business?
Blogging is still one of the most effective tools for not only getting customers into your sales funnel, but helping them make purchasing decisions, and become loyal brand evangelists. How does a regular blog magically do all these things? Let me count the ways.
1. Higher SEO rankings. You can rank higher in Google searches through your blog in two ways. Number one is obviously through optimizing keywords in each blog post, particularly in the headings. A good plug-in (like Yoast in WordPress or SEO Pro Chrome Extension) can help you find and use those keywords and phrases to your advantage.
Secondly, you will get more hits when your blog posts delve deep into the products or services you offer. With our decreased attention spans, you might think shorter is better, but not so when it comes to SEO effectiveness. Hubspot identified the ideal post length for SEO to be between 2100-2400 words. (Although 1500 words is still good.) When you explore as many topics around your product as you can possibly imagine, and offer unique, valuable information, you will attract just the right customers to your website who are searching for a specific benefit.
2. Brand Personality and Community. Do you want to position your brand as trusted experts? Hip trendsetters? Playful purveyors of delight? Do it through your blog’s tone of voice and choice of topics. Do you want to build a community for and with your customers? Share your story through your blog, and encourage them to share as well. The best blogs are ones that showcase not just a company’s USP, but also its values, purpose, and personality.
3. Conversion Opportunities. Every blog post should include a CTA, whether that is signing up for an email newsletter, clicking through to other pages on your site, sharing your post on social media, or simply adding a comment to continue the conversation. Every blog post should also be promoted on all your social media channels to draw readers to your blog site. All of these are organic touchpoints with customers that will significantly increase your leads over time.
4. Authority and Trust. Blogging helps position you as a thought leader in your industry. When you blog regularly and knowledgeably about your product or service, customers will build trust in your expertise to solve their problems. Be aware that customers are savvy and can see through attempts at being “expert” without actual expertise. Make sure you know your stuff before you start writing about it. And encourage dialogue about your posts through the comment section or on social media to further develop confidence.
5. Longer Lasting Results for Less. A downside to blogging that some will point out is that it takes a while to see results. It’s true, blogging is a long-term marketing strategy, but think of it this way. The leads from a short-term ad campaign are gone as soon as the campaign is over. The leads from blogs can continue flowing in as long as the post is active. And which is cheaper? Blogs or ad campaigns?
Do I have enough to write about?
I bet if you took the time to brainstorm with your team, you could come up with blog post topics for at least a year. But if you need help, here is a blog post (yes, I’m promoting another blog here) that lists 80 ideas. If you’re just getting started, tell your story in your first few posts. Gather a couple customer testimonials, or write profiles on some of your employees. Highlight community partnerships and charitable giving. Add photos, infographics, videos, and charts to your posts to make them more engaging. (These help with SEO rankings as well.)
Yes, ideas for blog posts abound on the interwebs, but let me offer two warnings about your content. First, be aware that your blog needs to be an accurate reflection of you. If you hire an outside content marketer to manage your blog, be sure they not only use your style and tone of voice, but also know your product and the competition well enough to write knowledgeably about it. Blogging just to blog will not produce the results you are hoping for. Customers are looking for content that is rich and valuable.
Second, remember your audience. Your target is your ideal customer, not your executive team or your mom. As much as you will want to toot your own horn in your posts, customers will tune you out if you are not solving their problems. Sprinkle enough of your story and your values into each post so your customer knows who you are, but spend the bulk of each post focused on how your product meets their needs.
Who has time for this?
I know what you’re thinking. To do it right, blogging and promoting your blog will require time and effort. I hope the preceding arguments have convinced you that it is absolutely worth it to spend your marketing dollars and time maintaining a company blog. If you can’t afford to hire outside help, though, here are some time-saving tips for creating regular quality content for your blog.
1. Determine your post frequency. There is no formula for how often you should post, except that it should be at regular intervals. Start with monthly if that’s all you can do, but make sure you are promoting your blog at least weekly on social media. A good way to do this is to break your blog into topic sections and use quotes from a section each week on your social media channels with a graphic and, of course, a link to the blog post.
2. Vary your blog post types. Every post doesn’t have to be weighty and academic. Throw in some light topics, top-10 listicles, or inspirational stories to lighten the mood and take the time pressure off. I love this idea of using the food groups to illustrate your content marketing mix. Be sure you are targeting customers at every point in their buying journey through your topics as well.
3. Share the love. You need a single blog manager to be on top of posting, editing, and replying to comments, but that person doesn’t need to write every post. Using the unique voices of your employees will keep your blog fresh and interesting. Your employees may need a little prodding in the form of incentives and may respond better to an offer to interview them rather than to write an entire post. But, with some creative hyping, they will be on board and excited to contribute. Guest posts from outside the company are also a great idea. And if you swap with your guest poster, you can cross-pollinate readership!
4. Create a content calendar. Once you have determined how often and what types of posts you want to create, and who will write them, it’s time to create a content calendar. Be as specific as possible with color-coded categories for the targeted stage of the buyer’s journey, “food group” (blog type), who will write it, when it will post, and when/how it will be promoted. You may even want to add an analytics tab for how well the post performed. There’s no magic formula for how far out you should schedule your content. The key is to stick to it. Make your calendar manageable enough for you to be successful.
5. Re-purpose! Once you have a year or so under your belt, go back to old posts and repurpose them for new posts or social media content. Make sure they are up to date with industry trends and current product info, but there’s no reason why you need to reinvent the wheel when you put all that effort into creating quality content in the first place.
Still a blogging skeptic? Here’s another mind-blowing stat from Marketwatch: “Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than those that don’t!” See? Mind-blowing.
If you’ve thrown out blogging because you’re convinced it doesn’t work anymore, get back at it. Update old blogs. Write new ones. If you need help starting a blog, Intone can help! Schedule a call or send me an email. email@example.com