Of course, a blog is not going to become your next major sales driving activity all on its own, but when used correctly, it can be a huge, hardworking and profitable pillar of your content marketing strategy.
While the cost of adding a blog to your site and then maintaining it is relatively small, the boost it can provide to your organic presence via link building and social media likes, clicks and shares is substantial.
So, when the ROI police come knocking, which in any astute business they no doubt will, the basic cost vs the below set of benefits should go a long way to convincing even the staunchest sceptic of the value of creating, maintaining and building a business blog, whatever the industry.
Positive impacts on organic search efforts
One of the most trying parts of any SEO effort is the constant need to add new, good quality and keyword rich content to your site on a regular basis. There’s only so much additional content you can add to your existing static pages (such as product pages, the home page or about page) without having a detrimental effect on the user experience. Keeping a blog with a wide variety of categories not only allows you to add new pages easily, it also gives you the freedom to adapt your new content to reflect keyword trends for your industry as they change. Blogs are wonderfully flexible pieces of content and as long as you keep brand tone of voice in mind throughout, you’re free to change your subject matter at will.
To make the most of this flexibility and really ramp up your organic search efforts, create a keyword list (and keep it updated) then work your chosen keywords into blog titles and content. Don’t neglect meta descriptions, tags and H1 titles when it comes time to add your new posts to the blog itself. Many content management systems and blog plugins come equipped with SEO management criteria, but it’s useless if you don’t utilize it every time you upload. Check you are specifying a focus keyword, a page title, a meta description, meta keywords and tags for each post.
Perfect social media content
Facebook says its 1.65 billion monthly active users spend an average of fifty minutes a day on the site. Instagram users rack up 4.2 billion likes per day. 42% of Twitter users log in once per day and 23% more than once per day.
With this frequency of log-ins and appetite for social content, one of the most challenging parts of day-to-day social media activity for many brands is finding enough interesting and unique content to post on a regular basis to stay visible and relevant to your audience. Maintaining an up to date blog plays superbly into this space. Adding new blog posts can serve as excellent social media content and will drive users directly from the social media platform to your website. Posts can be repurposed for social media and re-shared over time across a range of platforms – you’re not just restricted to sharing the blog post link either. Create an image slideshow and link back, share a quote from the blog or a snippet of video to pique fan’s interest. The time you spend creating new blog articles can therefore help to reduce the load of creating new social media posts.
TV chef Jamie Oliver is a great example of this - he's created a recipe style post and then used the images to create a GIF for Facebook. The social media post then links back to the original content.
Show yourself as an industry authority
In a world in which consumers are ever wary of brand integrity and find it difficult to trust new brands, particularly online, a blog can help. Showing the world that you are a key player and an industry authority they can trust is an important part of your brand identity and should be a focus of your content marketing strategy.
Investing time creating content which addresses current industry issues or trends is a great way to demonstrate that you are in sync with not only the industry, but your audience as well. Through the regular creation of blog posts like this, you can gain the trust of your audience and increase their confidence in your brand.
Keep yourself in tune with your industry
An indirect benefit of maintaining a business blog is that it forces you to stay in touch with your industry and your audience more than you may have done otherwise. Thinking of new content, particularly when doing so on a daily or weekly basis, can be a challenge at first but you’ll soon find that once you’re plugged in to the right news sources and even other bloggers, you’ll be more in tune with what’s happening in your industry than you likely have ever been. Keeping your finger on the pulse also gives you new opportunities to react quickly to news, events and changing trends – posts which can then be indexed and drive consumers hungry for information straight into your blog.
Creating extra landing pages for niche areas of the business
Your static content pages might not give you much room to really showcase the niche aspects of your brand but, you have free rein to do just that on your blog. While you likely won’t be able to share every possible application for your product or service on a product page, creating a blog post which showcases a particular niche can add diversity to your content and relevance for your audience.
If you sell lightbulbs for example, your product page might focus on the energy consumption, type of base and color of light emitted. Your blog could be much more specific with posts on unusual uses of lighting in the restaurant trade, indoor farming using LEDs or how infrared lightbulbs can be fitted in stables to keep horses comfortable. As a business you might not sell a lot of lightbulbs to ranches or trainers but, a blog on that niche use for your product could result in some very targeted and specific traffic.