In an increasingly competitive marketplace, more and more brands are waking up to the benefits of content marketing.
A cost-effective tool in the content marketing armoury, it’s no wonder that, according to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, blogs rank in the top three channels to watch in coming years (along with social media and SEO).
The same report found that: “While blogs require roughly 9% of marketers’ total full-time staff dedications, they also demand just 7% of marketers’ total budget outlay.” Impressive stuff when you consider that “43% of marketers generated a customer via their blog with less than 10% of total time allocation.”
The Benefits of A Blog
A cost-effective marketing and communications tool blogs can:
- Help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Providing a drip-feed of fresh content. Find out more about why content is so powerful here.
- Help support your social media efforts. Giving you something of value to share with your followers.
- Provide an opportunity to generate lovely back-links to your website (and Google loves a back-link).
- Play a key role in your interaction with customers, employees, the media and other stakeholders.
- Help you to differentiate your business, product or service.
- Help to position you as an expert. Demonstrating your knowledge and experience on the issues that matter to your industry.
- Create an additional avenue to distribute and promote your company’s press releases.
- Help increase visitor numbers to your website. Increased visitors = increased sales opportunities.
- Lead to increased brand awareness. Providing a current and informal channel to shout about what you stand for.
There’s no denying that blogs present the perfect opportunity to help businesses and other organisations make the most of their marketing investment. And maximise ROI. Blogs give you a voice. And when used in conjunction with other marketing channels that voice can be heard.
However, a word of caution before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). It’s true that blogs are a cost-effective marketing tool, but that doesn’t mean that no effort is required. As with everything in life the more you put in, the more you are likely to get out.
How to write an effective business blog
- Make it personal and add real personality to your business, products and services. This doesn’t mean that you should employ ‘textspeak’, or forget all about spelling and grammar, but you should be honest and passionate when writing your blog. Keep it professional, but find your voice and lead with your personality. This, in turn, will build better trust with your readers.
- Choose the right topic. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? However, when writing a blog you not only have to know your subject but also inspire your readers. If you’re not passionate about the subject at hand how can you expect anyone else to be? This doesn’t mean you have to be controversial for controversy sake. Business blogs should help you to draw traffic, support your organisation and sell your product or service. Picking a fight just for the sake of it won’t help with these objectives.
- Write for the reader and encourage conversation. Think about ‘hot topics’ and what matters to them. The best blogs create discussion and debate. Of course, this does mean that you are allowing disagreement and negative comments, but you can place all comments for review to ensure that you can censor anything too damaging.
- Offer your reader benefits and give them something for nothing. That could be original research, top tips, quantitative analysis or summaries, reviews and timesavers. The more you give away the more likely they are to revisit your site and use you as an authoritative source.
- Use plain English. Write with a specific person in mind and think about how you would talk to them directly. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Instead, give them the information they want in a straightforward and intelligent fashion.
- Keep it updated. To reap the benefits of a blog requires not only the ability to create engaging, informative content, but also the time to do so on a regular basis. Although you don’t need to blog every day your content does need to be updated regularly to keep it fresh.
Blog writing can be a difficult but rewarding task. By creating original, regular content from your viewpoint based on your expertise you can start to develop real customer currency by getting your messages in front of the right people.