Small Business Blogs 101
Business blogging is simply writing informative or entertaining articles. The goal of a business blog is to engage current clients with interaction and value-adds AND to generate new traffic or secure new leads. These dual goals often muddy the waters of strategy, but both are attainable with the same body of content IF you have a good strategy.
Why Should My Small Company Blog?
Blogging is more than just a stream-of-consciousness download of industry ideas, tips and tricks, curated lists or other information. Using a blog to boost your website’s SEO requires strategic structure and the right content. There are many types of blogs:
Business bloggers are created to highlight a particular business. This can be a small or large business in any industry. For large companies, their company blog is written by a professional who is utilizing every trick in the book to generate leads, traffic and SEO ranking through the posted content.
Sales and Marketing Blogs
Sales or marketing bloggers use blog content on company websites to drive traffic and generate leads. These blogs are heavily optimized for SEO and full of professional-grade content meant to convert leads. You will notice rampant CTAs (Call To Actions) and invitations to opt-in to some feature, product or list.
Personal blogs are ostensibly the first kind of blog ever made. These are diaries, full of personal content that is public but probably full of private thoughts or information. These blogs are typically unstructured, random and very journal-like. It is only when someone cultivates enough skill that they can morph a personal blog into a money-making, professional blog.
Professional bloggers make their living from posting regular content that attracts a large number of subscribers. They aren’t selling anything except their content in exchange for your email address. This allows them to grow a large subscription list that they can monetize in various ways. Professional blogging also attempts to generate enough traffic to make money through paid ads or advertising directly on their site.
Small Company Blogs
Creating a blog for your small company sounds like a great idea. Arguably, you are posting content, which in most contexts is helpful for SEO and traffic. There are many additional reasons a small to midsize company will blog, including:
- To inform customers
- To get new customers
- To establish yourself as an industry leader
- To entertain
- To reinforce brand identity
While these are all worthy goals, they are secondary to a primary goal for blogging on your company’s website, which should always be to advance your mission. Let me unpack that. If your company mission is to sell a roof repair service, your customers are probably not seeking out a blog that tells them how to DIY. First, they won’t have the tools. Second, that kind of activity is definitely something any rational person would hire someone else to do. Third, you don’t even want them diving into the process, you just want them to hire you.
So, when it comes down to it, the point of a good business blog is NOT:
- To entertain
- To educate
- To inform
- To build your brand
The bottom line point of a business blog is to grow your business through advancing your mission. Whatever good or service you are promoting, your blog should consistently drive people to a process that will end in a purchase. Without driving transactions, the time and effort you spend on this content is wasted. Traffic isn’t good enough. You want real dollars or a real investment that you can measure and that furthers your mission.
When You Don’t Need a Business Blog
There are many ways to do a business blog. Most people have a simple wordpress blog that is part of their website navigation and that they sporadically populate with new content. This represents the reality that most small businesses can’t maintain a blog. They lack the bandwidth, manpower and, frankly, motivation. Because blog strategy is haphazard at best – and more likely absent – there is no measurable ROI. Priorities often push this kind of content to the backburner.
You don’t need a blog for your small to midsize business if:
- You have no website to host it on
- You have no web presence
- You do NO digital marketing of any kind
- You have no plans to grow your business through digital marketing
The problem is, even mom and pop, brick and mortar shops are being driven to the internet to get new customers. This may not be fair, but it is accurate. Increasingly, consumers exist in digital spaces. We are past the days of tupperware parties: people gather online in virtual communities to connect and spend their money. Online shopping is a reality and it is not going away anytime soon. If you want to compete, you probably have to invest in your brand’s digital presence.
Statistics About Blogs and Marketing
Cultural trends are self-evident. Even if you yourself are one of the very few people who don’t engage much with the internet, your customers do. Being present and visible on the internet may be the only way your business can survive.
Blogging is universally accepted as a way to market your products and services. Here’s some proof from reputable sources:
- 28% of adults are “almost always” online (Pew Research, July 2019)
- 77% of U.S. adults go online daily (Pew Research, July 2019)
- 91% of BTB markeeters use content marketing (Content Marketing Institute, 2018)
- 43% of B2B marketers say blogging is their most important type of content (Hubspot, 2018)
And, proof that blogs work for both generating and converting leads:
- One in ten blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time (Hubspot, 2016)
The blogs you post increase your search into the future, not just for the day or days immediately after they are posted. Organic search is the most valuable kind of search, so any factor that positively impacts that is worth investing in.
Mistakes Business Blogs Make
If you are committed to driving traffic and converting leads, you probably need a blog. There are a few rookie mistakes that you can avoid right off the bat. These include things like:
Using industry-specific language and terms: most blogs should provide entry-level information. If you are a carpet cleaning company, you are not marketing to carpet cleaning professionals. You shouldn’t post complicated ideas or the science behind carpet cleaning. You should post things like “how to get cat pee out of my carpet,” because that is what people may search for.
Ignoring keywords: just because you are writing about the basic ideas in your industry doesn’t mean your blog will work. You need to do at least a little research on trending keywords and phrases. You can use Moz or another free service to help you understand the right phrases people will be searching for. This would include things like: business blogs versus business blog; business blog sites, business blog topics, business blogs 2019, business blogs 2018, business blog ideas, business blog examples, business blog post, business blog sites, business blog post example, etc.
Rambling: there is a fine line between writing for SEO (like the tedious list I just wrote above) and achieving readability. There are a few measures of effectiveness for blog content (and a few metrics search engines look out for). These include things like plagiarism (duplicate content) and readability (you want about an 8th grade level for a blog). There are free online tools you can run your content through to see if you are scoring well.
Hire a Writer For Your Blog
Hire a Writer specializes in helping small to midsize companies with digital content. Because you don’t have the resources for a dedicated staff person, hiring a blog writer may be a great option. This could translate into just a few hours a month that gives you all of the rich content you need to have your blog working for your business. Feel free to contact us if this is an idea you want to discuss.