January is a great month to start new habits, especially habits that can grow your business. According to HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company, nearly 40 percent of U.S. businesses have a blog for marketing purposes. If you’re not among them, it’s time to think about joining the ranks of business bloggers. Not only will it provide a vehicle for sharing engaging stories about your business, products and services, a well-maintained blog can also improve your search engine ranking and ultimately lead to more customers in the form of inbound leads. Consider the following steps to get started:
1. Identify your business blog goal and purpose.
While your ultimate goal will be to promote your business, you need to do so subtly. The best blogs are not overtly promotional but instead provide readers (customers and potential customers) with articles and tips they will find helpful. The purpose of your blog should be to present your company as the best source of information in your industry. This purpose will drive your content creation strategy.
2. Choose your blogging platform
There are many platform options available for building and publishing your business blog—from free programs to fee for service platforms. WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Svbtle and HubSpot frequently appear on lists of the best. To maximize your results, experts recommend choosing one that you can install on your domain and integrate with your website.
3. Commit to blogging regularly.
You should fill your blog with relevant content, updating it with new posts regularly. Once you’ve brainstormed a list of suitable topics, create an editorial calendar that includes who on your team will write each blog post, the date the content is due, and the date you intend to publish it.
In Marketing Benchmark’s study, HubSpot found that companies that blog 15 or more times each month got five times more traffic to their website than those that don’t blog at all. Companies that increased their blog frequency from three to five times a month to six to eight times a month almost doubled their leads.
4. Create a plan for generating blog traffic.
Your blog will be of little use if your customers and potential customers don’t know about it or cannot find it. Great ways to generate blog traffic include:
- Search engine optimized blog posts.
- Promotion on your company’s social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+).
- Weekly email blasts to your database with excerpts from recent posts.
- Eye-catching links to the blog from your company’s home page.
- Including links to your blog in your staffs’ email signatures.
According to Social Media Today, an independent online community for professionals in public relations, marketing and advertising, small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads than those without. Why is this so? The answer may lie in the popularity of blogs with U.S. consumers. In fact, surveys have found that 81 percent of them trust the advice and information they find on blogs. Sixty-one percent have purchased a product or service based on a blog post. Starting your business blog will require a time investment; however, the new customers you gain will be well worth the effort.