If you haven’t heard the phrase content marketing, you may be living under a rock. Content marketing is a must in today’s business world. But what exactly is content marketing, what are the benefits of content marketing, and how do you generate original content?
So what exactly is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” A great way to distribute this content to your customers and prospects is to start a blog.
Here are 12 other reasons why your company needs a blog. And besides reasons for having one, these are great advantages over your competition.
1. Gain new and different customers
Every business has customers, but as a business owner you know the key to success is to continue to gain new and different customers. Starting a blog is a great way to reach new audiences. Create blog posts and promote these via social media and your website. This way, you can gain new customers without a “pushy” sales pitch. Customers will get to know what your company does and what benefits you can provide for them, not the other way around.
Today’s customers have several choices for selecting a product or service. They are also savvy and armed with tons of reviews and user comments. A blog is a platform for explaining what you do, what you offer, and how you can help solve a person or business’s problem.
2. Create a PR machine
Public Relations or PR is foreign to a lot of business owners. But unlike advertising, PR gives you promotion you don’t have to pay for. Plus, it offers a different kind of credibility versus a crafted advertising message. Even if you are a small company, you can capitalize on these opportunities without the aid of a PR agency. How? A blog.
A blog is a vehicle for getting your name out there. Not only will you touch current customers, but new ones as well. And in this new stream of customers, there will be free PR opportunities.
For example, you write a blog about a new product and post this via social media. A news outlet could pick up on this and ask you to be featured in an article. Another example would be a post about an industry topic your company is well versed in. You post this on your website, and a company calls you to be a guest speaker for an upcoming conference.
3. Cultivate company ideas
If you have never created a blog, you first want to sit down with the managers in your company and go over what you can write about. What to include? New product launches, business initiatives, and any topics you feel you are an expert on. Then you will want to create an editorial calendar and figure out how often to post. Plus, going through this entire process will give you perspective on how your company marketing is functioning even if you are not physically doing the writing yourself.
Why? As a business owner or even a manager, you are not always involved in the small details of your company. Blogging will allow you to look at your business from different angles and decide if processes should be shifted around to function better. For example, imagine you create this editorial calendar and find out you have a customer group you do not cater to. By writing articles to this group of customers, you keep your current customer base happy and gain more customers by writing for their very different needs.
4. Give voice to the company
Customers today want to feel connected to companies they associate with. This means they want to know how the company started, why they started, and what they stand for. Instead of doing business with a “thing,” they are doing business with a “friend.” You also want to set a tone for your company that will resonate with customers across all sectors. Blogging can help you accomplish this goal.Instead of doing business with a “thing” you are doing business with a “friend.” Click To Tweet
For example, say you are a local coffee shop who caters to freelancers and small business owners. You first want to tell your story to this audience. Writing your blog, you choose a very casual approach and write about your charitable donations as well as your great atmosphere for getting some work done via one of your shops. Once you get your voice down and your thoughts via your blog, you can use this same approach for the rest of your marketing and train your sales staff too. This creates a seamless tone your customers will come to expect when communicating with you.
5. Differentiate from your competition
The bottom line when it comes to blogging is not many companies are actually doing it. And the ones that are do not do it regularly. You want to stand out from the competition and position yourself as an industry leader. Blogging is a great way to do this if you are up against companies with massive marketing budgets that are viewed as industry leaders.
Blogging really does not require too much time or money. You can compete against large industry leaders easily. Plan your blog topics at the beginning of the year, choose your schedule, and make sure you are consistently sending out new content via your website and social media. It is really that simple. If you don’t have a writer on staff, look for a freelancer on a website for remote talent. Try creating a job request on Hubstaff and searching through their database for possible candidates.
6. Fuel SEO strategy
No matter what industry you are in, more and more customers look online before making a purchase. In order for your business to stay relevant, you need to communicate effectively via the Internet. This is where search engine optimization comes in. Even if you do not have a dedicated SEO person on staff, you can use a keyword generator yourself to find out what phrases are best to scatter throughout your blog. Not sure which keyword generator is best? Here is a list of some great ones from Neil Patel. Plus, they are all free!
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Once you identify these keywords, craft blog topics around these phrases. Then when your customers or potential customers go to search a topic online, your blog article will pop up in these online searches.
Just a word of caution: use keywords sparingly in blogs to avoid being penalized for keyword stuffing. Also, focus on long tail keywords, which are phrases versus a single word. In a blog, you want a great balance of keywords and organic writing.
7. Lead to other marketing efforts
When you start a blog, this communication can easily be transitioned into other marketing efforts. You can post blogs via your website and place links on other social media platforms. But you can also broaden blog topics to become whitepapers or shorten them to become eblasts. Other marketing platforms may include sales material, brochures, and even internal communications. Basically, blog writing will give you tons of topics and content at your fingertips to be used across your overall marketing efforts.
8. Gain instant customer feedback
Blogs are a great vehicle to receive instant company feedback. Once you build up a good community to share blog posts either via your website, social media or both, you will start receiving feedback in the comments section. At the end of your blog posts, always ask directly for feedback and invite readers to comment about what they read. That way, you will have an open and honest dialogue between you and your customers.
Let’s take a new product launch. For example, you write about your product, and then at the end of your post, you invite your customers and other readers to comment about your new offering. You will get some instant feedback about how people are responding. If it is positive, great, and if it is negative, great as well. Negative feedback may make you think about tweaking your product, or your audience may bring up points you never considered. The comment section can act as an intimate and less intimidating focus group.
Another great reason to read customer comments is you may get an idea for another blog topic. Sometimes year after year it is hard to create new and exciting blog topics. Utilizing customer feedback is not only a great tactic, but you know your readers will be engaged.
9. Become a leader in industry trendsCustomers want to align themselves with companies who are “in the know.” Click To Tweet
A lot of times companies focus on their own business. In theory this makes sense, but you may miss where your industry is heading. No matter what industry you are in, there are always trends and evolutions. You want to follow other industry blogs and news to see what has changed. Then, when you find these changes, blog about them. This will show your audience that you are an industry leader and also up on the latest changes. Customers want to align themselves with companies who are “in the know.”
10. Build email database
It’s hard to make a first time sale to a new customer. Blogging is a great way to convert customers who are on the edge of becoming buyers. The more you generate topics of interest to your customers, the more they will want to hear more from you. Once they want to hear from you more often, you can ask for their email address at the end of your blog. Chances are, they will give you their information if your information is valuable to them. This builds up your customer database, which then can be used for other marketing efforts like email coupons, eblasts, and events. These are all chances to capitalize on making more sales.
11. Keep current customers coming back
Companies focus on getting new customers, but often forget ones who have purchased or done business with them in the past. You want these people to be repeat buyers when they are ready either to use your services again or steer them to another product or service that might interest them. Blogging is a great way to do this. Focus some of your blogs on past customers. Showcase why they should do business with you again and make sure to reference with links several sections of your webpage so they remember you next time they are in a purchase situation.
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12. Partner with other companies
Look at your industry and see if there are either leaders or market influencers. Once you identify these individuals, link to statements or information in your blogs. You can either take this one step further and email these companies with a link to the blog you wrote letting them know you included them. Or simply add in these links in the hopes they will find you or appreciate you for the inclusion. Another great idea is to create a blog where you interview other companies you could potentially partner with. You give them a voice in a section of your blog, and then you can get them to promote your blog on their social media with little resistance since this is also blog material they can use. Really, it is a win win for both of you. Plus, it creates great allies in the business world.
Why not start your blog today?
Now that we have talked about some of the reasons to have a blog, it’s time to create one. If you are still not convinced or wondering if you will have the time, remember you can always hire a freelancer who can help craft this for you.
Do you currently have a company blog? If so, how often do you blog, and what topics do you find generate the most traffic? We’ve listed 12 reasons to blog, but are there any reasons we did not list that you find important? Please comment below and let us know your thoughts.