Do you need a blog for your business? Can a blog help you build a client base? Is the natural organic growth of a blog too slow to be of benefit for most new businesses? These are intriguing questions to which I have very definite opinions.
Let me give you a little background first. I was talking recently with a potential client who is interested in finding ways to increase revenue opportunities in her business. The business is a pet-related business focusing on wellness care. They currently have a static website but the site does not get a lot of traffic. There is no blog or social media presence.
I spoke at length with the business owner about the benefits of a blog and social media presence in building a client base and establishing loyalty and trust with that base at the same time. The owner’s primary worry is that the organic growth of a blog and/or social media presence would be too slow to benefit the business. Let’s take a look at whether this is true.
It is true that a blog will grow slowly over time. However, there are many factors that affect how fast that growth will occur.
- The frequency of publication will be a big factor in how fast your blog grows. Blogs that have frequent posts will generally gain an audience and grow faster than a blog that is updated rarely. Adding content too infrequently may actually hinder growth. People will forget about the blog in that case.
- Blogs that are able to offer reliable information that is valuable and useful are the most successful blogs. The best bloggers find out what their audience needs (or wants) and then find a way to deliver that information. Think about what types of problems you can solve for your audience. The focus should be on your audience’s needs, not on your needs or your business’ needs. If you’re providing solutions for your readers, they’ll come back over and over. They’ll also promote you to their friends and relatives via social media and word of mouth. You’ll see your blog’s traffic growing accordingly.
- Blogs need to be marketed to be successful. An aggressive marketing campaign will result in more rapid growth. That’s where social media comes in. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like are perfect for sharing and promoting your content. Don’t forget about social sharing or bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit or Digg either. And don’t forget to reciprocate on these platforms. If you promote a friend or colleague, it’s much more likely that person will help you spread your message as well. What goes around comes around, as they say.
There are also other benefits for your business in having a blog.
- If your blog is updated frequently, these updates keep Google and other search engines interested in your website and keep the bots coming back to index your new fresh content. This will likely result in higher search engine rankings and more traffic to your site.
- Providing valuable information in your blog posts will give other bloggers and webmasters a reason to link to your website. Relevant links are good for search engine optimization.
- Using your social media profiles effectively will help position you as a expert in your field, another benefit! Plus, linking to your blog and/or website in all of your social media profiles will bring more traffic to your blog/website as well.
- Most importantly, the traffic coming to your blog/website will be targeted. Your visitors will be people who need your products or services or who will be likely to need them in the future. A small number of targeted visitors is more valuable to your business than a large non-targeted audience. Blogging gives you an excellent opportunity to carefully craft your message to fit your business needs and audience. In saying “fitting your business needs”, I don’t mean hard-selling your audience. That’s something you should never do with your blog or social media outreach. What I do mean is providing information that your targeted audience will find useful.
- Blogging also gives you the opportunity to stay in contact with your business leads in a natural and helpful way. Your audience will appreciate all the good advice and information you’ve provided. When they are ready to take advantage of your products or services, they will remember you and will likely seek you out instead of your competition. Be sure to offer at least an email subscription option. Many bloggers give their readers a choice between keeping in touch via a RSS feed or email.
In my opinion, ignoring the benefits that a blog can provide for your business is short-sighted. Yes, your blog’s growth may be slow. However, you can control the growth rate to some extent and the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.
What about you? Do you blog for your business? Have you seen benefits?