Maintaining a business blog has become the norm for businesses across many industries. Whether you run an all-natural beauty shop, a small business accounting firm, or even an industrial supply depot, chances are your competitors have a blog that they regularly update.
That leads many business owners and marketing managers to ask, is it essential to have a business blog? The short answer: yes, you bet it is. Business blogs provide many benefits to your organization that really can’t be passed up if you want to stay ahead of the pack.
We’ll walk you through the reasons why having a business blog is essential to any marketing strategy, as well as offer a few tips on what you can do to make sure your business blog provides the returns you expect from any marketing investment.
Building your reputation & informing your customers
One reason why many businesses choose to develop blog content for their website is to build their reputation as a knowledge resource for your particular industry. Let’s say you run a tax preparation service, and you want to establish yourself as a strong contender among the many options out there. It’s smart to start writing blog content that informs readers on issues related to taxes. This way, they come to trust your business as a reliable source of information.
- The Community Tax blog is an excellent example of this in practice. They write articles informing their readers on just about any tax topic you can think of, from filing taxes for investment earnings to getting out of tax debt.
Building a relationship with customers by providing them with free, useful, and genuinely informative content can do a lot to improve the trust factor. And, as more and more commerce goes online, trust between a vendor and a customer is becoming even more critical than it already was.
Developing trust is great for your brand recognition and public relations, but it also has immediate implications further down the sales funnel. We’ll cover that in more detail in the last section, but first, we need to take a detour through search engine optimization, or SEO.
Maxing out SEO
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is one of the most important aspects of eCommerce in today’s online ecosystem. With tons of competitors vying for the limited attention of many impatient consumers, it’s challenging to stand out from the pack. That’s where SEO becomes critical.
When was the last time you clicked onto the second page of a Google search? What about the third? Chances are you probably don’t even remember—and maybe you never have. That illustrates the need for search engine optimization. If your small business is lost behind a sea of search results, it’s unlikely that customers will feel comfortable working with you.
Blog content can help improve your SEO profile. Let’s say you run a boutique makeup brand that delivers customized makeup straight to your doorstep. Great! The only problem is that there are already tons of makeup brands already competing for pretty much every google search you can think of.
How can blogs help? Instead of trying to rank high for simple searches for “makeup,” try writing articles that answer people’s questions. For instance, let’s say a common search is “how to apply eyeshadow.” A smart SEO tactic would be to write blog content explaining the best ways that you can apply eyeshadow for different looks.
- Check out L’Oreal’s blog on eyeshadow for a great first-page example.
Google rewards content creators that prioritize informative, user-friendly, well-formatted content in their blogs. That makes starting a blog even easier: all you have to do is write genuine content on topics that your organization demonstrates expertise in.
Of course, there’s a bit more that goes into serious SEO than that, but it’s a great place to start. For a more in-depth look at how content marketing can make use of cutting-edge SEO strategies, check out our article on Content Marketing Guidelines for SEO Experts and our list of free SEO tools that you can get started with today.
Channeling readers to your products and services
SEO brings users onto your page, but once they’re there, you need to reel them in to complete the sale. That’s where blog content can help. Remember earlier, when we explained how informative content could build trust between you and your users? Users who trust your content are more likely to follow through with a purchase—especially eCommerce purchases.
Once they’re on the page, they’ve already demonstrated some interest in your products or services. All you have to do is show them how your business can help make their life better, easier, or more exciting by using the products you offer.
What does that look like? Depending on your brand and your industry, the exact way you pitch your company in your blog posts can vary. A simple, subtle way to casually offer your services or products to users reading your blog is by including links to your products placed helpfully throughout the content.
For instance, if you sell car tires, you might write an article on the best car tires for snowy weather. In that article, it would be natural and helpful to link a few of the tires you sell made for snowy or icy roads.
- Pro tip: Try not to get too sales-y in your blog content. The occasional call to action (“Get started with one of our sales professionals today!”) can be a great way to lead users further down the pipeline, but too many pitches and too much self-praise can start to make your company look like a scam.
Business blogs have become an essential part of eCommerce. As informed, curious consumers continue to dominate the online retail space, companies that can meet their demand for interesting, high-quality information will continue to outperform those that do not. Getting started on your business blog is the best way to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and continue to thrive in the eCommerce space.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California, and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading current industry trends, and traveling.