I get it: between post office runs, supplier emails and daily Instagram posting, blogging for business often slips down the priority list. It can be difficult to see how blogging can impact your bottom line, particularly in comparison with other activities that are that much closer to revenue generation.
But a business blog is so crucial for supporting those other activities, giving them life and maximising their effectiveness. It helps you build your brand, it’s a place to sell, and it builds crucial trust with your customers.
A blog is not a quick fix marketing tactic, and maybe that’s why so many creative business owners are reticent to devote time to it: with so much to do and so much vying for your time, it’s easier to focus on the quick wins that shout the loudest. But if you want sustained traffic and enquiries, a channel that continues to work for you months after you hit publish, and to build a pipeline of activity that you control, then a blog is what you need. Blogging for your business is for the long term, sustained wins, not just the quick opportunities.
As you may be able to tell, I am a huge believer in the power of blogging for business, and blogs formed the cornerstone of the marketing activities and plan at all my former jobs – and obviously, without this very blog I would never have been able to start my own business.
But if you’re not quite as convinced as me, here I’ve gone throught he main reasons why a blog needs to be a priority in your business – a blogging for business manifesto, if you will 😉.
It demonstrates expertise
Demonstrating your expertise is crucial to building trust with your potential customers.
Expertise can be a difficult one to define when you’re a creative selling to a consumer audience. It feels much easier when you provide a service – for me, I can write helpful articles about marketing and productivity, job done. What if you make knitwear or have a homewares shop?
Expertise only means to know what you’re talking about, so that a potential customer can think ‘yes, I trust that they have crafted this collection expertly and it’s going to be a good quality.’ While evidence of your expertise should thread through everything you do, from your behind the scenes photos to your product descriptions, a blog is the perfect hub for collating all your expert content.
If you’re not sure what to write I have a couple of posts that go into this in more detail – whether talking about your stories in a soulful way or balancing personal and professional online. However, the best way to plan your expert content is to think about what problems your target audience has, and then solve them. So maybe they need recipes for a dinner party, maybe they’re looking for decorating tips, maybe they want to learn more about your craft. However your knowledge can serve your customer, write about it.
It builds your brand identity
The growth of the creative community, particularly on Instagram, as well as the increasing democratisation of the internet (you no longer need to know how to code to sell online) is making it easier than ever for people to set up businesses with an Instagram feed and a PayPal account. Blogging for business is one of the easiest ways you can separate your brand identity from all the others popping up online.
As well as demonstrating your expertise, a blog can be your brand hub, the place from which your brand stories emanate and where your aesthetic is rooted. It’s a place where, unrestricted by algorithms and aspect ratios, you can show off your creativity and really get deep about your brand stories and what you stand for.
The blog is the place where you convert your brand’s fans into activists. It’s where you can educate people about the importance of your product, tell your story with time and space, reveal behind the scenes shots and talk about the origin of your brand. It’s where people can get to know you, buy into you and therefore be more likely to buy from you.
It shows consistency
When I find a new brand online, one of the first pages I navigate to is the blog, for all the reasons listed above. I scan the titles to get a feel for the brand and their expertise, and then I look at the dates the posts were published. And then, quite a lot of the time, I get a shock – the last post may have been published 8 months ago, there might have been 6 posts in March and none until June, or, even worse, blog posts from 2015 still making it onto the front page.
It may seem logical to think that this shows to a consumer that you’ve been so busy with fulfilling orders that you just haven’t had time to blog (which may well be the truth). But, unfortunately, it doesn’t come across like that. It looks like the blog has been neglected, that you haven’t committed to it, that it’s something not cared about and done in a half-arsed way. And if you’re like that with your blog, maybe you’re like it with your products…
Showing up consistently on your blog is the same as showing up consistently for your business. It demonstrates your commitment, which in turn demonstrates your trustworthiness. Consistency creates an air of professionalism; if the customer can trust you to consistently show up with quality, expert content, then they can trust you to send them quality products.
It helps your SEO
In this way, blogging for business acts as an acquisition accelerator by helping your target customer find you in their internet searches. Search is becoming increasingly sophisticated and we now use and depend on search engines more than we like to admit. Think about how you use search: you’re not just looking for specific brands or products anymore; you’re looking for ‘how do I use x’, ‘what should I do with y’, ‘how can I improve z’.
Your target audience is searching for answers that you and your products can provide, and the blog is the best place to put them. Make a list of keywords and phrases you would love your site to appear for on Google (and the more niche you can be, the better). Then, think about what your audience might be searching for around those words and phrases. It could be ‘how to care for a woollen rug’, ‘what to look for when choosing a sofa’, ‘how to create a gallery wall’. And there you have your list of blog posts to create.
Note that a blog is best for catching ‘long tail searches’ – these long, question-style queries. For shorter searches, like ‘buy red shoes’, your product descriptions are far better placed to provide the searcher what they need.
It’s an owned channel
Most importantly, you own your blog. Unlike the social media networks which can change at a moment’s notice (or get hacked and cause you to lose your whole following), you control your blog – it’s success is 100% down to you. You don’t have to work within someone else’s parameters or style sheet, you don’t have to include content that’s in a certain format. You can do what’s best for you and your business.
Not only does it give you freedom, but it gives you all the benefits. If you amass a 100k following on Instagram, those followers still belong to Instagram, you own nothing. If you get 100k page views, you own that relationship, you control how it works out with your content, you can include opt-ins on your pages to convert them to your email list, another owned channel.
Focusing attention on owned channels is not only good for your business, it’s crucial for your self-esteem and sanity too. If you’re prone to obsess over unfollowers and likes, transferring your focus to an owned channel you control is far better.
Are you currently blogging for business? If not, what’s holding you back?
Ps: not got time for a blog? You can hire a freelance writer (including me!) to blog for you, or invite guest posts from influencers and your customers.
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