Small-businesses often ask us, “Do we need a blog?”
It’s a good question—but it immediately tells us that there’s some confusion about the purpose of a blog and what it can do. Before you can determine if you “need” one, you need to understand what the benefits of blogging for business are.
In truth, we can’t tell our clients whether they need a blog or not. That’s for them to decide, based on their unique goals and marketing strategy. However, we can explain how a blog might help them achieve those goals and what value it can bring to their business.
If you’re unsure whether you need one, here are 10 ways a blog can benefit your business.
1) It’s great for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) should not be the sole purpose of a blog, but it is certainly one of the greatest benefits.
Adding a stream of high-quality content to your website is one of the best ways to rank higher in Google search results. And by ranking higher, more prospective customers will visit your website, translating into more sales, more leads, more in-store traffic – whatever your unique goals are.
It’s no secret that Google prizes high-quality content over websites with static, poorly written pages. By having a blog, you send a signal to Google, “Hey! This is valuable information that’s relevant to people’s searches, and it’s original, too.”
Keep in mind that blog posts should be engaging and useful to visitors. Yes, they should be lightly optimized with your targeted keyword phrases. But more importantly, they should provide value to the user.
- Aim for 1,500 words or more per blog post
- Spruce it up with images, audio, video and other unique content formats
- Only focus on 1 to 2 core keyword phrases per post
- Add meta data, like title tags and meta descriptions, optimized with your keywords
2) Your expertise will position you as an authority
Another great benefit of blogging for your business is positioning yourself as an authority.
People like to see that you know something about the industry in which you serve. Maybe they don’t come to your website looking for that information. But when they see it, it builds trust. It makes them more likely to buy from you, because they perceive you as an expert.
Admittedly, this particular benefit may be useful for certain industries more than others. But we’d argue it benefits almost any kind of business.
“Come on,” you might object. “We run a laundromat. Do we need a blog for real?” Well, why not? If you posted useful tips on how to remove stains or save money at the laundromat, customers would absolutely appreciate it.
What about a coffee shop? Same answer. You may not assume you need a blog, but what if you used it to help your customers understand your menu better? How about a guide to various caffeinated beverages? Lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, mochaccinos – not everybody knows the differences, so why not help them out? And you never know: somebody reading about all those delicious drinks might be compelled to visit your shop that day. So it can boost your sales, too.
- Don’t oversell yourself. Simply provide the kinds of valuable information that your customers are looking for.
- Stick to topics that pertain to your business. People may become suspicious if your “home improvement blog” also has posts about buying used cars. Keep it focused.
- Avoid fluff. Make every word count.
3) It builds credibility
This one is very similar to the previous benefit. But disregarding what your blog content actually says, simply having a blog can make your business look more credible.
Website visitors appreciate seeing a well-designed website that’s chockful of information. It’s essentially no different than how printed brochures were once the gold standard for reinforcing a company’s credibility. Those glossy, colorful packets with all their info just looked impressive, right? The same goes for a blog.
Will visitors lose trust in your business if you don’t have a blog? Not necessarily. But if they’re comparing you to a competitor, and only one of you has a blog, which business do you think will appear more credible?
- Never copy blog posts from another website, although you can use other blogs for ideas. Having duplicate content looks bad to customers as well as Google, who will penalize your site in search rankings. Plus, it’s just plain wrong.
- Make it easy to find your blog by including a link to your blog on the homepage, if not in the primary navigation
4) Frequent posts make your business look active
An active blog is a sign of an active business.
Let’s face it – the web is filled with terrible, old websites that haven’t been updated in years. And many of them are for defunct businesses that closed long ago, while their websites live on in Internet Purgatory.
When you post to a blog on a regular basis, it tells your visitors, “Look, we’re open for business!” Even better, it shows that you’re actively providing useful information to prospective customers.
Again, this doesn’t mean a blog is required for you to look active. But if a potential customer is choosing between two similar businesses, and only one of the websites has a blog, then the customer may feel more comfortable contacting the business that appears more active.
- Aim for at least 1 blog post per month
- Weekly (or more frequent) blog posts are ideal, if time and budget allow
- If you’re posting frequently, make sure posts are timestamped, so visitors can see how recent they are. Conversely, if you don’t post often, consider removing the timestamps.
5) Blogs can support your sales efforts
Too many small businesses think of their blogs as being detached from their other sales and marketing strategies. But the reality is, it can support those efforts.
We recently worked with a swimming pool installer that was making smart use of their blog to guide customers through their sales lifecycle.
When a prospective customer inquired about their pool options, they were guided by a sales representative who directed them to additional information, beyond the usual sales script and brochure. They received emails with links to recent blog posts on topics like “Benefits of a swimming pool” and “What to consider when installing a pool.”
In some cases, the sales reps even handed out printouts of these posts, so that in-store visitors could take them home (rather than needing to go to the website, enter a long URL and tediously find the post on their own).
Blogs are a great tool for the customer lifecycle, helping to inform your prospective customers and guide them to the next stage of the sales funnel.
- Use the blog to support sales of large-ticket items or extended lifecycles
- Blogs can also be used to highlight sales and discounts, allowing you to “sell” the discounts with more space than a traditional ad
6) Bios can showcase your team
We tell this to our clients all the time. Your blog doesn’t have to be all business!
Have some fun with it. Let your employees tell their stories. Blogs are a great way to showcase bios of your staff. What are their hobbies? What do they do in their free time? How did they join your team, and why? How much experience do they have? What do they bring to the table?
In our experience, blog posts with staff bios get the most hits out of all posts, among repeat website visitors. People who visit your site often (usually existing customers) love to learn more about the people behind the scenes.
Showcasing your employees shows you care about them, as well as your customers, and that’s always good for business. Also, the bios are plain old fun to read! (And remember, the more time visitors stay on a page, the better it looks to Google, who will then consider the page more “valuable,” helping your site rank higher in search results.)
- Consider posting a bio once a month, as it fits in your content schedule
- If you’re short on writers, let your staff write their own bios
- Don’t forget photos!
7) It gives your business a personality
Good website copywriting can definitely give your business a voice on its own. But generally there’s a limit to how many writing styles and formats you can add to your primary product/service pages.
A blog enables you to experiment with many different formats, styles and voices, as frequently as you like, giving your business a unique personality.
Why is that important?
People don’t generally form a connection with a business unless they feel an emotion about it. And while it’s true that a great product and a great service can leave a lasting impression with customers, you need to work your marketing mojo a bit more if you want customers to truly feel something about your company.
A blog creates the space to do exactly that. By making the posts personable, fun and approachable, you’ll create customers for life.
- Consider writing your blog in a conversational tone
- If you want to create a consistent brand voice, come up with 3 or more pillars that should make up that personality. For example: Fun, Youthful, Smart; or Professional, Knowledgeable, Dependable.
- Let different staff members add posts, and include a mini-bio at the end of each
8) Blogs build relationships
We’ve mentioned how a blog can guide a customer along the lifecycle and also create a “customer for life.” This underscores a key underrated benefit of blogging for business: building a relationship with existing customers.
Too often, small businesses think of blogs purely in terms of the SEO benefits: attracting visitors to the website with the hope of a sale, lead, etc.
But a blog can truly shine when it’s geared not just toward prospective customers, but also toward existing ones. After all, your existing customers are the ones who fuel your business. So, why not give them the content they crave?
A simple way to provide useful content to existing customers is to provide tips on using the products or services they’ve purchased from you.
If you sold them a vacuum, let them know how to use it, how to maintain it and how to prolong its life. If you painted someone’s living room, give them tips for cleaning scuff marks or repairing scratches.
As the old “80-20 rule” goes, 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. Write your blog posts in a way that keeps that 20% coming back, again and again.
- Remind customers to check out your blog for timely updates and tips
- Make the content useful and relevant to their needs
9) Posts are perfect for your email newsletter
Need a way to remind existing customers about your blog? Link to it from your email newsletter.
Need some content for your email newsletter? Include summaries of your latest blog posts.
Blogs and email marketing go hand in hand. If you’re diligently staying in touch with your customers by email (and you absolutely should be), your blog is a great place to send them for fresh, original content.
Keep in mind that most customers don’t think to revisit your blog on their own. Unless your blog is truly special, people will forget it’s there unless you remind them. Use your newsletter to let them know every time there’s a new post.
- Try “teasing” subscribers with snippets of your posts, rather than including the entire post in the email
- On the blog (and elsewhere on your site), include a link to subscribe to your newsletter
10) It’s social.
Social media, that is.
Before Facebook and Twitter, blogs were the primary means for individuals and businesses to express themselves online. And the best blogs had active commenting systems and other tools that gave rise to the trend of user-generated content.
It almost feels weird now to think of blogs as being a form of social media. But that’s exactly how business owners need to treat them. Every time you publish a new post, you should spread the word on all your social media channels (as well as your email newsletter, as we mentioned above).
Social media managers know the frustration of searching for new content to publish. Your blog is the perfect resource. Plus, since the content is original, Facebook’s algorithms will view it as more valuable, leading to more views in your follower’s feeds. Better yet, when people click, Google will use those social signals as a sign that your blog post is picking up traction, which can rank your blog higher in search results, too.
- Let your followers know about new blog posts
- Don’t be afraid to post about older posts too
- Make your blog posts easily shareable on social media platforms
Need better blog content?
Let our experts write your blog for you! Since 2006, Copy Army has written high-quality blog posts for businesses across the U.S., in numerous industries. Simply send us a few details about your business, and we’ll get back to you right away with additional information.