A blog is a way of communicating with an audience. They first started out as a place where you shared your thoughts, a place where each entry would start off with “Dear Diary.” However, blogs underwent a transformational journey and have come a long way from being just an online journal. Slowly, personal stories were being captured by the companies and marketers soon discovered the advantages of having a blog for business. The contents of blogs vary from educational, informative, pictorial and entertainment depending on the audience.
These are a few of the reasons you should be investing in a blog for your business.
1. Helps establish authority
We all want to be seen as thought leaders in our industry, be it innovators or trendsetters. A business blog helps us build that reputation. By regularly creating and publishing for our target audience, we get to be that authoritative position in their eyes. If our audience likes the information, it can become a strong direct communication channel between our audience and us.
2. Raise company visibility online
Everybody and everything is online. If we don’t have a presence online, in any form, our business will start to suffer. We all research almost everything before we buy it. So, rather than other people talking about our products, why don’t we do it? Turn the latest information, collection or direction of the company in a form of a blog and publish that information. This becomes a great way to engage with and build relations with our audience as well.
When it comes to marketing our blogs, social media platforms, like facebook, also reward us for sharing content and not always selling to the customer. When we advertise a blog post rather than a sales page we get more traction for the post as well. It is usually articles and videos that get shared; nobody shares the information about some business doing a promotional discount.
We can also re-publish the content of that blog post on various platforms to gain more influence over that topic. I re-publish my blog on LinkedIn, and share links of that blog on Facebook and Twitter. I even convert the blog into bite size images for Instagram. This way I am better able to serve my audience rather than keep pushing only the sale of an item or product. When I have to pitch a product of a service to my audience, they are forgiving as well.
Even Google loves regular content, and will reward us with high Google ranks in the searches. The more it notices an article being shared it bumps up the site ranking ensuring our website appear on the much sort after 1st page of Google search results. Think about it, when was the last time you went past page 2 on the Google search page?
3. Grow offline business
In continuation with building online presence, a blog can also help grow your brick and mortar business. There are lots of companies and individuals, who sell products, by simply building their social network of followers, be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you sell physical products, then regularly sharing images, or content related to that product on social media will grow the number of inquires you get, leading to larger sales.
With advertising on Facebook, you can actually target your ad to be location specific. Showcase the things only a person living in the neighbourhood will appreciate and then create a blog and advertise it to people living in the neighbourhood. You can also target people who live, visited or going to visit this location.
Take advantage of Geo-Targeting when running online campaigns which need to convert to offline sales.
4. Make better products
Since a blog is communication channel between our audience and us, we have an ability to avoid making big mistakes. We can ask our audience who are coming to our website about the idea we want to create that will help them, get a response from them to determine if our idea is even worth making. This way we can ensure that we have an audience even before we build the product. This is the power of a blog, and direct communication with our audiences.
It is because of the blog that I was able to turn the direction of this site in my first few months, before I made big mistakes. I am all about productivity and using my time well to execute on the ideas that move the needle forward. However, that is not what my audience wanted. They only appreciate productivity when they can relate to marketing and growing their social media presence. So rather than force them to take on productivity, I decided to serve them by diving deeper with their influence on social media.
Use surveys and data from your audience to get laser focused on how you can serve them better.
This applies to us entrepreneurs who are just starting out or are a little unclear about the direction of we want to head in. Run a few experiments to see if there is market for the product you want to create, rather than create the product and then go looking for a market. I ran a Facebook Ad to the same audience with different words to see which ad received the most clicks. This way I was able to change the direction from productivity to social media and online marketing.
5. Networking and Public Relations
In our world of social media, a blog, or any content that we like is easily shareable, giving us free PR. If every time we make a piece of content that is shared by 100 people each having an following of 100 people, we can reach 10,000 people. That is getting our message not only to 10,000 people but with it getting backed up by a friend’s recommendation.
It is not uncommon for a media company to pick up articles and content which are getting some attention and bring that in front of their massive audience giving us and exponential reach. The key is to be clear and consistent on how our business blog can enhance the life of your reader. Through our blog we can track and measure this progress.
Talking social media, I am not a big believer of building a following only on social media platforms. We should publish content on our website, and use social media as a distribution channel. This way in case the social media platforms chance its algorithms we are not left with no one to reach for our products.
6. Personalise your brand
At our core we are in the people business. There is always a person at the end of line of our products. A business blog has the ability to humanise our company. A blog can be the voice of our company; we get to choose how we want to portray our company. My favourite Simon Sinek quote is “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
A blog has the ability to show the reasons why we do what we do. What drives us, what inspires us, what we are all about. We can only do that when we talk to our tribes. KLM does a great job of showcasing the small things it takes to run a major airline business.
7. Easy and relatively inexpensive.
If we were to pay an agency to get us the publicity to grow our influence on a particular topic we would be paying my more than what it costs to set up and run a blog on our website. A blog be a simple page added to our website. If we don’t even have a website can get a self hosted website on site like Bluehost.com (the one I use to host this site) for as little as Rs. 239/month.
A blog for business is a tool and if we invest time to do it properly can have massive positives for us. There are people like my mentors, Michael Hyatt and Pat Flynn, who have made their blogs their primary source of income. From their blogs they have closed book deals, speaking engagements and created products tailor-made for their audiences.
A blog is a long term asset. It is harder when starting, but once we get the momentum, we will find multiple ways in creating content that can serve our audience.