Business blogging: Is your company publishing one regularly – or not yet?
According to InsideView:
33% of B2B companies use blogs.
If your business is one of the 33% of that is publishing business blogs, then you can give your team a pat on the back. You are ahead of those who are not.
To you, the 67% that do not have business blogging as part of your marketing communication tool, you are missing a lot! See the benefits (below) that come with blogging that those that do are already reaping.
I was one of the 67%.
It took me a year or so to include business blogging in our content marketing kit.
I am going to start this article about why it took me that long.
Business Blogging: Personal Journey
No one will read it. No one will share it. So I thought.
There are many topics about social media marketing already, why add to the content glut. Right!?
However, guess what?! I had an “Aha! moment”…)
If I (you can insert your business name here) do not produce business blogs, where will my potential customers get the information they are searching for in social media and Google? From companies that publish blog articles. THAT includes MY (your)competitors that post blogs.
Of course, I can’t control which blog people visit, but I can control the contents that I publish so people would read it, or much less share it. There’s a tip THERE.
Having said that, my immediate business blogging goal, and it continues to be the primary goal, is to publish informative content.
I write and publish blog articles that I won’t’ be embarrassed to send to somebody.
Here’s a fact: when I published my first article, I was struggling to put together 250-300 words. I was VERY nervous and sweating when I hit “publish.”
But as we all know, writing always begins with just ONE word. 🙂
Remember one of my concerns at the beginning of this section? See my top 10 most shared social media marketing articles here according to the social media community.
(Warning: Dial down the volume.)
What our company blog is NOT:
- It is not 100% perfect. I did not start out as an expert blogger (and I am still not); nor am I a technical genius. Admittedly, I tend to get trapped in making sure that EVERYTHING is shiny. THAT includes images, formatting, fonts, font colors, size, and many details. Also, my two grammar checkers aren’t perfect either, and neither am I. I still translate what I say from my language to English in the back of my head.
- I do not write weekly, but I write content regularly. I am not as prolific as a writer as many I know. Once a month is all I can do. I often joke around the house that I read English novels because all my English words went to my blog. Hence since I write once a month only, I go for depth instead of breadth. You can write as often as you like. You can write short or long content. There is NO hard and fast rule to blogging. To me, it all depends on your business goals and your available resources.
Just start writing now.
Business Blogging Benefits You’re Missing
These are what companies that regularly publish blogs are reaping, and what you aren’t (reaping) if you are not producing blog articles.
Inbound traffic to YOUR website, NOT your competitors
Company Blogging Benefit 1
Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links, according to Hubspot.
Using HomeZada, as an example, they understand that social media marketing is a powerful business marketing tool if harnessed well to nurture their clients and to get the word out there about their product which is a digital home management software.
One of their goals for hiring us is to use social media to drive traffic to their site.
And so, we did. Here’s a case study on inbound marketing for the first year when my company took over management of their social media profiles.
Then for the second year, our social media efforts contributed 48% web traffic to one of their web properties – and the rest is a combination of other channels. If we combine all their web properties, social media referral traffic is third to paid search and organic search. Please don’t tell me that social media does not work. (Note: explicit goals, remember?).
Our social media marketing success can be attributed to their producing hundreds of useful and helpful business blog contents for their potential customers.
Now, wait a minute, don’t go running and start publishing your business blog yet.
Check the quick business blogging checklist below to help organize what you will be doing.
Whatever content you produce, make sure the content is helpful and relevant to your audience. THAT is important.
Give it your best. Research the topic. Experience is good, but it is also good to do some research to back it up. Include data, if you can find some.
Inbound marketing traffic grows over time. Be relentlessly consistent – in publishing and sharing it.
Business blogs can establish you as an expert in your niche
Company Blogging Benefit 2
A 2015 survey conducted by affilinet states that:
Bloggers ranked third as the most trusted source of information, behind friends and family…
How’s that without tooting your horn about how great of an expert you are?
While Hubspot says:
Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
If you could do just ONE thing online to market your business, let it be business blogging.
A relevant business blog is the heart of everything you do to prove your company as THE expert.
Your product may not be sexy so what could you possibly blog about? See this article by Kirsten Austen, a shipping solution expert at DCSC, Inc on multi-carrier shipping software tips. It is an example of a helpful and relevant blog on a not sexy product that tackles what distribution and manufacturing businesses need.
By the way, it is worth noting that it takes time for others to recognize your ability especially when you rely on inbound marketing (read: blogging). But like seeds, you’ll reap the fruits in due course.
Your business blog is a doorway to your “sales pages.
Company Blogging Benefit 3
81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs. (Source: BlogHer)
Each time you publish a blog you are underscoring that open door for potential leads to knowing your company more.
It helps develop trust, and eventually help you grow sales.
Once they are on your site, guide them around! *Hint* Link freely to contextual articles or pages.
Your company blog muscles up your social media profiles.
Company Blogging Benefit 4
Treat your social media profiles as publishing tools.
That’s where you share your helpful and relevant articles.
Remember I mentioned above that that’s how we helped HomeZada?
The more often you share helpful content, the stronger your brand becomes in social media.
If all you are posting on social media are your home, product or sales pages, then you are missing the “make-it-relevant-to-your-audience” part.
People do not use social media to buy from businesses.
See this report from Global Web Index? Do you see where “buying” is in this chart? It is at the bottom. It is not a priority for people.
Helpful info via @globalwebindex on why people use social.
Your company blog pages can impact your social selling efforts A LOT. If your posts are all about how great your product is, then you are doing content marketing wrong.
I’d venture to say this: social media is useless if you do not publish a blog. You are just wasting your time [on social].
P.S. I decline offering social media services to companies who do not publish blogs.
Blogging is a tool that could impact your brand’s online visibility.
Company Blogging Benefit 5
The more you blog, the more visible your business becomes.
The more helpful blog you publish; the more people share it with THEIR followers.
Search engine rewards companies that publish fresh content regularly
Company Blogging Benefit 6
According to Content Plus,
Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages.
Who doesn’t want THAT?! Hello, SEO.
Fresh content, like your blog, signals search engines that you have a web presence that is active. Regularly publishing a new blog is an invitation for bots to crawl and index it.
What about the “Products” and “About Us” pages? Those are essential contents, but OLD in the internet age.
Do you like stale bread? I don’t. The search engine spiders look for fresh bread contents.
Imagine the web as a (digital) library and the search engines as its librarians and your business blog as the book. The more content you add to the library, and for the same topic, the more resources the librarians have available to offer to those seeking information that you cover.
Business Blogging is an inexpensive marketing and communication tool.
Company Blogging Benefit 7
Blogging is an inexpensive way to increase your business’ portfolio.
It is an excellent marketing communication tool.
You can use it to:
- Promote your business
- Answer questions that your typical target audience ask
- Engage with your current and potential customers
- Offer tips and advice
- Nurture your brand community
What to do: Your Company Blogging Checklist
If the above convinced you that your team better get on to producing marketing blogs, here are a few things that you need to do now with your staff before publishing your business blog.
There is NO right and wrong answer to this, but these are worth considering.
- Who is going to be on the by-line? Is it your company leaders? (Founders, Owners, Presidents and Vice Presidents). Just don’t make the by-line say, Ghost Writer.
Will your marketing and sales team be involved?
Is the article going to be written by someone internally or are you going to outsource this? Your business blog is public. It represents your company. No matter who you decide to be your blog authors, the author/s should be able to set aside personal opinions and personal goals. Authors should focus on your company’s aims and objectives. If your corporate blogger can’t differentiate his/her opinion and goals from your business, my advice is to find someone else.
Will your content be about company news, product tips, and surveys? What are different content formats you going to include in your business blogs? Do an inventory of what you already have:
- PDF of Company/product brochures
Regardless of what you decide to produce, any helpful content is always always always beneficial to your audience.
You see, valuable contents that you create are contents that keep on giving.Helpful contents that you produce are contents that keep on giving. #contentmarketingClick To Tweet
Bonus Tip: Include here, when planning your business blogging topics, the results of your keywords research.
Your business keywords are potential topics that your customers are looking for.
Using the keywords that you already researched on is speaking the language of your audience. Your audience rarely uses the technical jargon so you can leave that elsewhere. It is not about optimizing for search engine’s sake. It is speaking your audience’s language.
Are there topics that are OK to write about?
What topics are off-limits?
Any proprietary information they should not release or discuss?
I used to publish contents for a company that’s publicly traded. Truth be told, although I was given the full rein in online marketing, it was stressful.
Why? I didn’t have the heart for the product. I didn’t know if conversations I was participating in were OK with them. They did not have guidelines. No one had the time to create one. I was just told to go for it.
- Tone of Voice
Keep the tone casual.
It’s a blog.
It is not a technical paper.
Does your company have a personality? You can show that in your business blog.
However, even though it is conversational, one thing that authors should be made aware of is that it represents your company. You cannot just say anything you wanted to say. Hence, take note of tip #8 below.
- Content Calendar
This is essential, and even, more essential if you have several people involved in blogging for your company. It keeps everyone organized and focused.
Content calendar – can show topics and authors. Do you have one?
You don’t have to make this complicated. You can use Outlook, Google calendar or Excel spreadsheet as your content calendar.
- Expected Results
What are your expected outcomes?
- Higher visibility?
- Improved customer service and satisfaction?
- More leads?
- New Product Ideation?
How are you going to track results? What tools would you use?
How are you going to measure your expected results?
What is your success metric?
What will make EVERYONE happy?
- Social media shares
- Monthly visits
- New visitors
- Event registration
- Ticket sales
- Email sign-ups
- …and whatever is the key metric for you
All your content marketing metrics, or however you call it, should point to WHY your company is doing business blogging, in the first place.
- Rules and Limitations
This is essential to protect your business’s image. It is like future-proofing your business.
Include here things that are obvious to YOU as rules and limitations.
..because they may be obvious to you, but not to the rest.
You trust your online representatives, right? Well, that’s what some of the companies who had people represent them online did; only for them to resort to damage control later.
Make sure you check with your lawyer before you finalize this part.
Building Company Blog from Scratch
Decide on a name that is easy to remember.
On that note, check if the business name you selected is trademarked before you claim it as your business domain name. The domain name may not be owned by someone, but it might be trademarked by someone else.
It happened to me when I first launch my business website.
Another bonus tip for blogs:
Good URL: blog.socialsuccessmarketing.com
Also, a good URL: socialsuccessmarketing.com/blog
Bad URL: socialsucessmarketing.otherwebsite.com – this means it is hosted by another company. And it’s that company that is getting ALL the traffic and SEO benefits, not you.
If you are doing this as merely as a hobby, the bad URL structure is fine. But if you are doing this as a business then go for one with a good URL structure.
- Content Management System
Pick the content management system (CMS) that you think would be right when your company jumps into business blogging. The truth is there is no perfect CMS for companies. Speak with your team. Ask an expert.
Don’t decide based on the bells and whistles it offers. Determine what you need it for, what you want to do. Then see if the tool you are considering can handle those.
Many companies have implemented business blogging successfully. However, there are those that have done it without measurable benefits. Why? Because they have not set their WHY for blogging.
Alternatively, there are those who have hurt the corporate reputation. Why? Because they failed to include rules and limitations on what their online representatives should do.
If you love your business, include a well-planned business blogging strategy in your marketing communications kit.