You probably have a business website but do you also have a blog? A website is essential for providing customers with essential information such as who you are, what you do, and how to find you. A blog, however, also serves many vital purposes. Blogging gives you an edge in several ways. Here are the five biggest reasons to make a blog part of your small business inbound marketing strategy:
A blog lets you establish yourself as an expert in your industry. This helps you differentiate yourself from competitors who only have a basic business website. No matter what type of business you have, you can think of blog posts on topics relevant to your customers. For example, if you own a restaurant, write articles on food trends, recipes, or nutrition. If you're in a pet-related industry, write about pet care or dog training.
You don't always need to write long articles. Curating content from other sources is also fine as long as you give the proper credit. Link to relevant news stories or videos or other websites (preferably non-competitors) and add a few words of your own.
The more content you have on your website, the easier it is for the search engines to find you. Blogging is one of your best SEO tools, especially when you create posts with targeted keywords in mind. Think of topics that interest your customers and do some basic keyword research using the Google Keyword Planner or another tool.
Keep in mind, as you look for ways to improve SEO with blogging, that you should still be writing primarily for customers and not search engines. Google now rewards websites that produce natural-sounding, relevant content. Use your keywords sparingly and avoid outdated practices such as keyword stuffing (which simply means overusing keywords).
A blog isn't only about the content you publish. Ideally, it's also a tool for interacting with customers and prospects. You can use your blog to ask questions and invite comments. Ask people about the biggest problems they face in areas related to your products or services. If you're in a leisure or hospitality related field, you can alter this to people's preferences and complaints. It's helpful to end blog posts with provocative questions such as "What do you think about this?" or "Please share your own experiences."
If you provide informative content to your readers, they're likely to share your blog posts on social media. This is a way to potentially get viral traffic and attract new customers. As your content gets shared, it helps your SEO and attracts more followers to your own social media pages. Viral traffic is powerful because your readers do all the work and it doesn't cost you anything.
If you want people to share your posts, remember to cover timely topics that are relevant to your audience. Keep up with the latest news and trends in your industry. Some places to look include Google News, Twitter hashtags, and Amazon bestsellers. These provide clues on what people are talking about. Compelling images also make your posts more shareable.
No matter what other digital marketing strategies you're employing, a blog supports them. For example, one of the best ways to engage with your audience is with an email newsletter. A blog attracts visitors who are good candidates for your newsletter. Make sure there's an opt-in form on your website. You might use the popular technique of using an exit popup so visitors have an opportunity to sign up for your list. You can also encourage your blog visitors to like you on Facebook, sign up for your webinar or podcast, visit your product page, or take any other action you want.
If you don't have a blog for your business, now is a good time to start one. If, like many people, you already have a blog but only add content occasionally, commit to a more consistent posting schedule. A content-rich blog is one of the best tools for growing your business and engaging with your customers.
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