A blog is an online journal that serves as a platform for a person’s thoughts.
Many personal blogs focus on a specific topic, while others resemble an online diary, offering the daily musings of the author.
For businesses, however, a blog usually serves a specific purpose and can be an important tool to engage prospects and customers by delivering information relevant to their needs.
Through blogging, businesses can deliver targeted content to their audiences, provide advice and serve as an expert authority on a subject. It is an effective inbound marketing tool that promotes visibility online and helps boost business growth.
Think of it this way. Imagine being able to talk to a large number of individuals in need of the products or services that you provide … without having to leave your keyboard. A blog allows you to have the ear of not only one customer, but multiple customers all at once.
If your business isn’t using this marketing tool yet, it’s time to join the 31 million people who call themselves bloggers in the United States in 2020. Here’s why, and what you need to know to get started.
Getting Your Blog Found
It is important to keep in mind that how you write a blog significantly influences whether your blog is found, since you’ll be competing for the attention of potential customers with other blogs that have similar goals.
A great blog tells a good story. You have a lot of material to work with, so it is likely you have an interesting problem you were able to solve … a problem someone else likely has as well.
Customers are looking for solutions and if you provide and address those solutions in a blog, they are more likely to find you.
The content you create should also keep customers coming back for more. It should be compelling enough to convince potential customers that the story you share is too good for them not to share with their network.
Consistency is another important factor in the success of your business blog. While one post may only generate a handful of visits, repeatedly posting blogs is more likely to produce positive results.
In fact, according to HubSpot:
- 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time (HubSpot, 2016)
- Compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic.
Formatting directly impacts how well your blog performs in cyberspace. Simple changes can make a world of a difference in performance.
- Use sub headings to identify important sections.
- Never use more than four to five sentences in a paragraph.
- Include images to help break up the text and add value.
- Use bullet points when possible. They are more visually appealing and can help readers locate quick pieces of valuable information.
- Bold the text of important points you want readers to pay attention to.
- Include internal hyperlinks to other posts you have published and to the sources you have used when creating content. This will help establish you as a credible source of information.
Don’t forget to include a Call to Action (CTA). A CTA draws attention to another resource provided by you to help readers solve their problems. This resource can be another piece of content you have produced as part of your marketing plan, such as white papers, eBooks or a different blog post. Or, it can be to contact you or request pricing.
Remember, your goal is for potential customers to read through your blog and come back for more. Nearly 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts, according to Hubspot. These simple tips help to ensure readers walk away with valuable information and rely on your services to help solve their problem.
Keywords used in your blog play an important role in how search engines find your blog.
When you optimize your posts using the keywords or keyword phrases, you are increasing the visibility of your website to individuals who are entering those same keywords in search engines in an effort to find your product or service.
When an individual types a phrase or set of words in Google’s search field, Google will scan millions of sites looking for the best ones that meet your search criteria. Google will reward user-friendly sites that use relevant keywords and phrases with a higher ranking.
How do you know which keywords are important? The content of your blogs should come down to a handful of topics. In simple terms, these should be your keywords for your blog article because these are the words an individual is most likely to use when searching for a product or service you offer.
However, choosing the right keywords often involves some investigation on your part (or through using keyword software such as SEMrush or Moz) to determine what will help rank your website higher. This will be based on the keywords that actually have monthly searches.
Important note: Do not overuse your keywords. Search engines will think you are keyword stuffing and you will likely lose hope of your blog appearing on the first page of a search engine’s results.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, enhances content and makes it more attractive to a search engine. Optimizing the keywords on your blogs and other content, as outlined above, is an important component of SEO.
SEO is an important practice because you not only want to increase the number of people who come to your website, but the quality of those visits.
By making sure you have optimized your blogs, you make it easy for search engines to scan your blogs to better understand what they are about. That way the search engines can deliver the most relevant results for the people who are looking for the information you are writing about.
There are several factors that make up the algorithm of a search engine and how your website performs. In addition to keyword usage, factors include:
- Social metrics, such as how often your blog is shared
- Mentions of your product or service on other platforms, including social media sites
- Your content’s length, originality and readability (the text’s level of difficulty in comparison to what an audience may expect)
- The quantity and quality of the links within the text
- Your content’s relevance
Optimization, or taking full advantage of the factors above, is key. Remember to make sure your title tags and meta descriptions are on point as well. When you upload an article, the title tag is the HTML element that helps search engines understand what your blog is about. The meta description provides a brief summary of your website.
Backlinking is the process of creating a link from another website back to your website. They are important in SEO because many search engines use backlinks as a factor when ranking sites. This is because when you have a backlink from another high quality website, search engines believe that your content is more trustworthy.
The backlinks used in your content can also have a significant impact on how high you rank in search engine results.
A high-quality backlink will provide credibility to your website. However, backlinking is hard work. Simply commenting on another article and providing a link back to your blog won’t be effective.
In fact, it might cost you in the eyes of Google’s algorithms. You can read about how J.C. Penney discovered this the hard way in our article, Is Backlinking From Blog Comments A Good Or Bad SEO Tactic?
Instead, backlinking should be a more natural method of improving your SEO. This can be achieved by developing relationships with other sites that have influence in your industry. If you bring value to them, they may give you value back by providing a backlink to your site, allowing you to spread your influence.
Social media is a great way to boost your blog traffic. Creating a page for your blog on Facebook, for example, allows individuals to find and read your blog without necessarily having to be “friends” with you on your own personal page.
As mentioned above, the more people who engage with a post about your blog, the more likely it will benefit your overall SEO.
In fact, 66% of marketers surveyed use blogs as part of their social media content, according to HubSpot.
Make sure you regularly share your content on your social media channels, and encourage others to “like” and “share” the content as well. Engage with users by replying to comments and sharing their content as well.
Which social media sites should you use? A lot of that depends on who your target audience is. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat are all leading social media sites, with millions of members worldwide.
While LinkedIn may be more appropriate for industry-related topics, for example, Facebook or Instagram may be a better choice if your blog centers around promoting your small business to your community.
Why You Should Blog
The more you blog, the more opportunities you have to attract customers and boost growth. In fact, more than 75% of internet users say they read blogs regularly.
That is because a blog does the following:
Helps Customers Find You
Without the right marketing tools such as blogging, the chances of a potential customer finding you in the sea of businesses on the web is about the same as finding a needle in a haystack.
Consistent blogging or blog articles increase your web presence significantly. Each post you write gives Google, Bing and other search engines available content to pull up when an individual is looking for a service or product you offer.
However, simply writing will not draw audiences. As mentioned above, you have to be methodical in the keywords you include and your SEO has to be on point.
Spreads Your Influence
Blogging, if done effectively, builds traffic, subscribers, leads and, ultimately, customers. The key is striking a balance between sharing your knowledge and backing it up with statistics that build trust with the reader.
Keep in mind, readers will not care about the greatness of you or your business. What they will care about is that you’re trying to help them solve their problems. By helping prospects solve their problems, you build authority and trust.
Return Impressive Results
Blogging is a crucial component of any successful marketing plan. It is one of the best ways to spread useful information related to the services you offer around the web.
When used as part of an inbound marketing strategy that includes valuable content and promotion using social media, blogging can be very effective at attracting visitors and generating leads.
Look no further than this HubSpot statistic:
Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.
Why It Pays To Get Blogging Help
Although blogging can bring your company a significant ROI, creating and maintaining a blog is not always easy. If you are a business owner, you may be wondering how you will find the time to not only blog, but blog effectively.
Consulting an inbound marketing agency that provides blogging services will help you identify your ideal customers, generate high-quality content and drive traffic to your web page through a comprehensive and tailored marketing plan that prioritizes blogging.
Blogging is not as easy as it looks. Especially for a business owner with limited time and staff, the thought of blogging can be an overwhelming prospect, despite the proven success high-quality blogging has demonstrated.
Inbound marketing agencies specialize in generating high-quality and effective content marketing to ignite lead generation. They also have the tools required to develop a winning inbound strategy that includes blogging.
Check out our article, 5 Reasons To Hire An Inbound Marketing Agency, to learn more about how working with an agency to jump start your blogging efforts may make sense for your company.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!