Why Your Business Needs a Blog
If you went to the movie theatre and everything that was playing had already been out for 6 or 8 months, what would your reaction be? Or what if you were trying to buy new patio furniture for a summer pool party you’re hosting but the store only has Christmas decorations on display?
I’m guessing you’d be annoyed.
And more than likely, you’d also feel that both of these businesses were out of touch, maybe even poorly run. The odds of you returning would probably be slim to none.
Well, that’s exactly what your prospects and customers are thinking when they arrive at your blog and see that your last post was in March… of 2014…
We all know that content is king – but not content that’s dated, irrelevant or cliché.
If you expect your customers to stick around once they notice that your blog is any of these qualities, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. To attract and maintain a loyal audience that keeps coming back for more, you need to develop evergreen content that’s sustainable and lasting.
Here’s why your business needs a blog – an engaging, knowledgeable, customer-centric, optimized blog:
To build personality
Today, it’s not enough for your customers to know what they’re buying. They also want to know who they’re buying from! Maintaining a proper blog offers your business the opportunity to build personality which can peel back the curtain a bit and show visitors to your site what you’re all about.
One of the nicest surprises in today’s marketplace is when a big brand – whom you’d assume would be less social and more impersonal – engages their customers and community by creating content that sparks conversation.
This resonates because it shows humanity and disarms people – wait, you want to hear what I have to say?
It’s sad, but we’re not used to being treated this way! And we sure as hell don’t expect it.
Your blog can really set the tone as to the types of people who purchase your products, who work for you, who you’d like to do business with. It seems like a stretch, but it’s fairly easy to discern all of these things after a glance at your blog. Conversely, if you’re not posting regularly or worse, sharing drivel that serves no purpose or offers no value, you’re hurting yourself in the long run.
Whether it’s offering additional behind-the-scenes looks as to how your business does things or through posts from your employees themselves, customers love feeling like they’re “in the know.” People trust people – and sometimes in business we forget that. It’s not always slick taglines or rich imagery that prompts us to buy. It can be as simple as showing your management team to be down-to-earth, or highlighting the human side of your business.
Building a personality for your brand via your blog is a surefire way to draw customers closer.
To demonstrate thought leadership
There’s something to be said about being the smartest kid in the class.
Sure, there will always be someone out there looking to knock you down a peg – but that’s business – and that’s life!
Your blog’s content can prove that you a) know what you’re talking about, b) demonstrate just how invested in your customers you are and c) help your entire industry take a step forward.
Being seen as intelligent, reliable and knowledgeable is an important part of the buying/decision-making process that all customers go through. With so many competitors out there, what better way to flex your intellectual muscles and prove that you are ahead of the curve.
Maybe you focus on emerging trends that you know are going to have a huge impact on your industry. Or perhaps you write a post on how the technology you’re using is patented and exclusive to your business. Either way, both of these options are pragmatic, and offer your customers insights that you’re knowledgeable and trustworthy.
And really, that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. It’s your job to find ways to capture the attention of your prospects, differentiate yourself from your competition. Creating a discussion or dialogue around an important issue in your industry, or opening people’s eyes to data that you know they need to see is a surefire way to build trust with potential customers.
For me, readers who identify thought leadership in your blog translate it into innovation, inspiration and influence.
To showcase your customers – benefiting from your products
Sharing genuinely positive customer experiences after using your products or services is as effective as DNA at a crime scene. It’s basically irrefutable proof that you know what you’re doing, and it can compel others to want to find that out for themselves.
So why not showcase it?
Of course, there are a million variables that can dictate whether or not you and a potential client are the right fit.
But it’s hard to argue with smiles, glowing reviews and most importantly, tangible results.
While the concept may seem a bit strange at first (“hey, I thought this was my blog!”), it’s extremely powerful to present your prospects with content that highlights relatable, like-minded professionals. The kinds of stories that make someone go “that’s exactly what I need to do,” or “if I used this product/service, that could be me.” Thanks to your existing client list, and if you’ve invested the proper amount of time managing your relationships with them, your blog has the ability to resonate on a whole other level with visitors to your site.
Seeing and hearing somebody tell you exactly how a product or service has impacted their business is infinitely more powerful than the business’ marketing simply saying it will. As human beings, we’re susceptible to the influence of others – and when it’s clear those others are benefiting from what you have to offer, the rest will follow suit.
To take the reins of your search engine rankings
With hundreds of millions of blogs on the Interwebs, you simply can’t ignore the importance of optimization.
Relevancy and usefulness are two cornerstones of solid SEO rankings. To put it more bluntly, if your blog offers content full of ancient history or provides no obvious benefit to search candidates, expect to remain undiscovered or unknown.
Obviously those aren’t the results you’re looking for.
With Google altering their algorithms earlier this spring, it’s more important than ever to be conscious of SEO. While I’m not aware of an exact science to guarantee that you’re among the top search results when prospects are cruising for information on your products or industry, I can tell you that there are some great ways to prime yourself for success.
For instance, ensuring that content is being published consistently and frequently is a strategic must. You’re already a tiny fish in the ocean (even if your business is larger, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re immune from recent algorithm updates!), so why not make waves as often as possible. Developing a content calendar that you stick to as religiously as possible will create good habits and let your audience know that you’re serious about providing useful resources to your community.
Guest blogging also offers business owners mutually beneficial opportunities. Say you know that an influencer or thought leader is extremely knowledgeable about your industry. More often than not, he or she is going to have a larger following who engages, shares and advocates for the influencer. If you invited this person to write a guest blog post for your website, or be featured in one at the very least, it immediately draws eyeballs. You’re guaranteed to have the influencer’s community click over to your blog and check it out. And if you’ve filled it with the kind of content we’ve been discussing, it’s likely that they’ll want to learn more about your brand.
Some website developers have also been quick to mention that in addition to relevancy, your website and blog must be user-friendly. Another key element to Google’s algorithm shift is rooted in making sure that visitors are able to read and consume content easily while they’re on-the-go. Spend the necessary time updating your blog to ensure that it’s straightforward to navigate and offers visitors a productive, enjoyable mobile experience.
Do you agree that a blog is a crucial element in online business strategy? If you could change one thing about your blog, what would it be? Please share your thoughts with me in the Comments section below.