Do small businesses need a blog in 2018?
If you are a business launching your website in 2018, you need a blog. No ‘if’s’, ‘and’s’, ‘but’s’ about it, you need to have one.
Why does a small business need a blog?
Ask 100 different business owners, and you will probably get 101 different answers, but they all point back to one thing: marketing. Blogs are the number one way to attract organic traffic, provide shareable content, and brand yourself as an authority in your niche.
While writing a blog can require many resources and be a time-consuming task, especially when you take keyword research into account, outsourcing the work to experienced freelance writers is one way to automate the process while still maintaining a high quality of work. Furthermore, while you are building your business, someone else is helping you build a reliable stream of traffic, one page at a time.
Why every business needs a blog
Still not convinced? Hubspot reports that businesses who blog receive 126% more leads than those who don’t. Check out our infographic for more convincing stats on why every business should start a blog:
While those stats provide a quick snapshot of the “why” you should focus on blogging as the focus of your content marketing strategy, it hardly tells the entire story. Here are some more reasons why you should focus on building up a blog in 2018.
Almost everyone is blogging!
I know the old expression is not always true: “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?” However, in the case of content marketing, it is correct, primarily because if you do not do it, your competitors will, and you can expect to be left in the dust.
Of those surveyed in a 2017 Hubspot article, 53% of B2B marketers said that blogging was a top priority – not just a priority, but the priority. In short, if your competition is focused on building high-quality, keyword-rich articles that are geared to attract organic website traffic in the long run, so should you.
One of the reasons that everyone is participating in blog building is because there’s hardly any area of marketing that it does not touch.
Yes, you can drive paid advertising campaigns to gather leads, point clicks to a website, and advertise a new product, but a well-constructed blog article can do that without the added marketing cost.
It is one of the cheapest and easiest to maintain small-business marketing tactics on the planet!
The fact that most businesses are blogging brings out the question: with so much content online, why should anyone pay attention to you?
While other people are busy pumping out the same old information that has been regurgitated thousands of times over, you should focus on developing resources that people will use. Create content that solves problems. Develop infographics that people can share. Find stats that users will find interesting. Create a blog article that you will want to read, and others will naturally want to read it as well.
Consumers are demanding more and more blog content
Let’s face it: people are not just customers anymore.
25 years ago, you might have been able to get away with simply slapping an advertisement together from a back office somewhere, and people would buy into it, but not anymore.
Now, people want to see you. They want to know you. They want to trust you. The best way they are going to do that? By consuming your content ages before they ever decide to hand you their credit card.
Consumers are savvier than they used to be. Rather than merely Googling the phrase, “buy puppy food,” now they are typing in phrases like, “what is the best puppy food for labradors?” or “how much food does my 12-week old puppy need?”
Most people want to solve their problems before they pay other people to do it if they can (and if they have time).
That is where you come in. Instead of just having a puppy food product line that people can choose, create content that people will be able to engage with. Give them resources that will teach them how and why something is essential before selling to them. Once you acquire a level of trust with people, eventually they will become your customers. Moreover, then those customers will become fans. It is a more profound and far more loyal relationship than in years past.
Google wants to see fresh, original blog content
In the early days, the internet was like the wild west. People would develop websites that spammed keywords all over the page and then drove traffic to it, monetising it by way of affiliate links and digital advertising. Eventually, people stopped going to those pages because they served zero purposes. Google took notice of this behaviour and changed their search engine algorithms accordingly.
These days, Google rewards relevancy – that’s easy to do with a blog.
While most business blogging used to be about tagging resourceful articles with keywords, Google now wants web pages that help people and that read naturally. Their system is continuously updated to crawl web pages and read sites as a human would; the ones that are easy to read and provide relevant information get sent straight to the top.
One of the best ways to improve your ranking with search engines like Google is to have an ever-updating stream of content. Nothing sinks a search ranking faster than a website that looks stale and hasn’t been updated in a few years.
If you do not care, neither will your potential customers.
Furthermore, trending or viral blog content tend to receive higher rankings, in general, and in turn, can provide an excellent search result boost for the entire website. When elections or sporting events take place, people are naturally searching for information on those subjects. Google wants to give it to them, so if your site can latch onto those events, it can help drive traffic as well.
Paid advertising hates businesses that blog!
I have no idea how big your marketing budget is, but the average for most small businesses in the UK in 2013 was about £3,000 per year. That is a substantial increase from 2011 when the average was closer to £1,500. Current day digital advertising spend has almost certainly gone up since then.
In truth, it does not matter how big your ad spend is if you do not use it wisely. A company can burn through several years of marketing budget in one 30-second time advertising slot on the World Cup and see very little return, or it can max out a £500-a-month on targeted advertising and reap a 300% return in next to no time. It is all about how effectively you spend your marketing budget.
Paid advertising is seen by many to be the golden goose of marketing. Pump some money into a few social media campaigns, and the sales will start piling in. While that may be true, it can also be a black hole of sunken costs with very little to show from it. Paid advertising is great, but only when it pays back a good return.
All of this is why business blogging is one of the best things you can do for marketing. In addition to creating shareable content that will drive more leads, a steady stream of content will produce long-standing SEO juice that will pay dividends for years to come.
The cost is minimal. A paid digital advertising campaign can cost you upwards of £50-a-day, whereas a well-written article can cost less than £150, or less than a week’s worth of ad spend. Moreover, rather than it only lasting for 3-6 days, that article will continue to generate traffic to your website for years afterwards.
This is more than just wishful thinking.
A recent analysis by Lyfe Marketing showed that social media marketing is much cheaper than direct mail, television, and other forms of traditional marketing: about 20x cheaper to be exact.
While those numbers are impressive, paid digital advertising is substantially more expensive when compared to the overall costs of developing a blog and its return on investment. It is almost unfair when everything is taken into consideration.
Your customers will find it
The strength of any company is in their email list: the more names, the more potential customers that you can sell to. While this is not an article that stresses the importance of having a sizeable list, the fact remains that your reach is far more significant with email than with social media or any other channel. Instead of relying on an algorithm to determine who sees your posts and who does not, an email simply shows up in their inbox right in front of your customer’s eyes.
While it would be nice to have everyone in the world in your email list, it is both unattainable and foolish to attempt to do so. What companies should be after is a comprehensive list that has only the names of interested and engaged customers on it, instead of thousands of people who have never opened an email.
What’s the best way to do that?
Providing relevant content that has attracted people to your page in the first place. Relevant and useful blog articles that solve problems and tackle real issues are some of the best ways to gain a loyal following and build your list at the same time since the people that have engaged with your content will most likely end up engaging with your products.
Furthermore, workflow automation sequences will help segment your list into appropriate categories and bring information right to their fingertips that would require hundreds of people to do so otherwise.
For instance, if prospect ‘A’ has joined your email list through a specific blog article, while prospect ‘B’ follows you through a different article, automated email sequences can direct them through a series of emails that will continue to bring the content they want right to their email inbox. Then, after a period of ‘lead nurturing’, a product is placed before them that they are primed to receive. Voila – an instant customer.
Is it always that easy? In most cases, no. However, that does not mean that blogging cannot provide a valuable asset to your business. With the price of digital advertising skyrocketing with every passing day, the value of quality content that will continue to attract people to your page years down the road cannot be measured.
Building those pages now can mean thousands or millions of pounds worth of revenue down the road, so lay the foundation now for your future success.