If you’re a small business owner, whether you run a brick-and-mortar store or you sell exclusively to other businesses online, you may be wondering whether or not you should add a blog to your website. Perhaps you’ve seen other businesses start and stop their blog and it left you concerned about the effectiveness of blogging. Or, maybe you are that small business owner who tried blogging and then ran out of ideas for blog posts or became frustrated by how much time it takes you to write them.
If you’re wondering whether you should start or continue blogging for your small business, asking these 5 drill-down questions can help you decide.
- Why do I want to blog for my business?
- How can blogging benefit me?
- Do my potential customers read blog posts?
- How much will blogging cost me?
- Should I buy blog posts or write them myself?
Why Do I Want to Blog for My Business?
For a business blog to provide real value, such as boosted SEO and a way of connecting with your potential customers, it must be written and published intentionally as part of a well-thought-out content marketing strategy. Knowing why you want to blog and what you want to achieve is the critical first step, as well as a guidepost for whether you should continue.
With blogging, one-size does not fit all. For some, having a blog is about making connections with their customers. For others, it’s about improving their search engine optimization (SEO) and ranking higher on the search engine results page (SERP). Knowing your reasons for blogging can help you decide everything from whether to blog at all to the volume and pace of blog posts to the topics you write about.
How Can Blogging Benefit My Small Business?
Blog posts are one of the most used tools in the attraction phase of content marketing. When done right, blogging for your business can drive traffic to your website and, ultimately, improve your sales. Let’s take a quick look at a handful of the many ways blogging can help you accomplish your sales goals. In general, blogging:
- Boosts SEO/Website Traffic – Google’s algorithm may be complicated and largely kept a secret, but the premise is simple. The more relevant content you provide for Google, the better your chances of appearing higher in the search results, which leads to more website traffic, brand visibility, and sales. Blogging helps your website perform better in search engine results for several reasons, but one of the most important is that it keeps your content looking fresh.
- Improves Credibility – People only buy from businesses they trust. Your small business blog can provide a place where potential customers can get a sense of how knowledgeable you are, what your values are and how you operate.
- Helps You Connect with Potential and Existing Customers – You can learn a lot about your customers by directly engaging with them through your blog. But, it’s not all about research. Making meaningful connections with your audience is more important than ever for both making initial sales and keeping your customers happy.
- Provides Shareable Content for Social Media – Blog posts can feed your social media pages with regular, shareable content that helps you stay in front of your audience.
Need hard evidence that blogging works? Here are a few of the statistics you should know.
- Businesses with blogs get about 55% more website visitors
- B2B companies that blog receive 67% more leads
- Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI
- 70% of consumers learn about a company via articles rather than ads
What will YOUR business gain from blogging? Until you develop a blogging strategy and start blogging, it’s hard to put a solid dollar figure on the return your unique business will achieve with blogging. Before you start your blog, talk to other business owners with blogs that have the most similar audience to your own. They’ll have the best insight into what works and what doesn’t.
Do My Potential Customers Read Blog Posts?
Generally, the answer to this question is yes. Most people (77% of internet users) read or at least scan blog posts that interest them. And don’t forget, blog posts do a great job of getting people to your website when they’re searching for a solution to a problem. The main reason there are so many businesses blogging today is that blogging can help you increase your site traffic. They are particularly suited for the first stage of the buyer’s journey – attraction.
What you really want to glean from asking this question is whether your investment should be in a blog or in some other form of content, such as case studies or video production. You want to invest in the marketing tactics that bring you the most value.
That’s why it is so vital to know your audience. Are they a group of consumers that loves reading blog posts and interacting with others like themselves or are they decision-makers working for another business who might find you through a blog post, but then immediately jump to reading case studies? Your audience and the type of buyer’s journey they tend to take can play a big role in the volume of blog posts you produce and the length of your content. These factors, in turn, contribute to how much blogging will cost you, in time and/or money, and how much of a return you’ll see on your investment.
How Much Will Blogging Cost Me?
If you plan on being a do-it-yourself business blogger, you should account for how much time it’ll take you to brainstorm ideas, research and write the blog posts, publish the posts and reply to any comments. The average blog post takes 3.5 hours to write, and generally, the more time spent working on a blog post the better the results.
If you plan to outsource blogging to a professional copywriter, it’ll likely cost you between $150 and $800 per blog post, depending on the word count, scope of the research involved and whether you or the writer is generating the topic. When you outsource blog posts, you’ll still be responsible for publishing and replying to comments.
Should I Buy Blog Posts or Write Them Myself?
Hiring a professional writer to create your blog posts can give you the extra edge you need to achieve your blogging goals. For instance, if your list of topics is too short to support consistent blogging, a content writer can help you develop the ideas as well as write the content. A professional content writer should also be on top of the latest best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) and will know how to use writing techniques that engage your audience.
Ultimately, if you want your small business website to have a blog, but you’re not a writer and creating content takes you too long to be a good investment, you should consider hiring a writer to produce your blog posts.
Taking the Plunge into Blogging for Your Small Business
Blogging to support your small business might seem daunting, but achieving your sales goals with the help of a well-written blog is within reach. Remember, when you know why you want to blog and what you hope to accomplish, you can create a blogging plan that’s designed to get the results you want. If you’re convinced that blogging is the right move for your business and you want help creating a strategic blogging plan or would like a content marketing professional to write the content, get a quote or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can help you sort out your blogging ideas, create an editorial calendar and write blog posts to help you reach and engage your customers.