Seven years ago a friend of mine, a traffic manager (his job is to funnel Internet traffic to websites) told me I needed a blog for my small business. I didn’t really believe him, but tried my best to comply. My thought was, “Just one more thing I don’t have time for, added to my To Do List. But I guess I can use it to promote new products and services.” For a couple years I updated the blog, but it never got me anywhere. Eventually I gave up.
Since then I’ve learned a great deal about marketing businesses over the Internet. I am a guest contributor to a number of blogs, have two of my own, write blogs for a number of customers (most of them in the real estate space) and am the editor of another.
What’s made the difference between then and now? Knowledge and experience have taught me to use a broader perspective. Truth is, back then I had no respect for blogging. I thought it was something only aspired to by teenagers who didn’t want a real job. Because of this bias my initial idea, to use the blog as a glorified “showroom,” was too narrow. Blogging does eventually help sell product, but that can’t be the focus of a post. Blogging works because:
1. Blogs generate content. Content is key not just in search engine ranking, but also in social media engagement. Much better to create your own rather than share that of your competitors.
2. Writing guest blogs on widely read sites can increase your social media presence exponentially. Think about it: if you guest write a piece for another blog, it’s tweeted to their followers. If it’s an established blog, you can have your piece in front of tens of thousands of new eyeballs. Don’t underestimate the importance of Twitter. Blogging and Twitter are the new way to do P.R. Just look at the news today. How did Hillary Clinton announce that she is running for President of the United States? She tweeted it. Which leads to . . .
3. Blogs are MUCH cheaper than press releases: blogging is free, whilst press releases start at $500 and rise steeply after that.
4. Blogging allows you to share your expertise with others. Being an expert in your field magnetizes new customers.
5. A great blog article gets shared many times- they can even get picked up by a news agency or go viral.
6. Blogs are an excellent way to increase your site’s search engine ranking. With a little practice, the plug-in Yoast make it easy for people that aren’t social media experts to optimize their content for search engines.
7. Blogs are an excellent way to network. Want to meet people in your industry, or get noticed by key influencers? Comment on their blogs, or write a guest piece for their site. If you have a blog, invite them to write for your site. Social media is a numbers game and everyone wants new followers.
8. They are a wonderful way of communicating with your existing customers. Communication builds customer loyalty, especially in today’s world that is increasingly run by computers and hired guns based in Mumbai.
9. Blogging stimulates creative thinking. Creative thinking can lead to new products, markets and more.
10. Blogging helps you learn. Generating high quality content requires research. When you read new research, you learn. The more you know, the more you can stay ahead of your competitors.
11. Re-posting a good blog is one of the best ways to generate clicks and likes on paid Facebook ads. I’ve had $100 ads generate hundreds of thousands of hits. That’s some of the cheapest advertising you can buy.
What are the reasons not to blog? I can only think of two: (1) you simply don’t have the time and (2) you don’t feel confident in your writing abilities. Both of these have an easy solution: hire someone to do it for you! Many people ghostwrite blogs for others at a reasonable price point, myself included. For more information about this, contact me to arrange a free consultation. Or just comment on this post!
*Research conducted by Hubspot, 2014