Does Your Business Need a Blog?
The year is 1994. Justin Hall sits in his college dorm room at Swarthmore College, probably eating Doritos or SpaghettiOs. He begins sharing (and oversharing) his innermost thoughts on his website, Links.net, which he coins Links From the Underground. Today Hall is known as “the founding father of personal blogging.” And blogging has come a long way since then. It’s not just for opinionated college freshmen, mommy bloggers, and fashionistas. Many businesses are also starting blogs to attract potential customers and drive traffic to their websites. Let’s dive right into some of the myths we commonly hear about blogging, starting with:
Myth #1: Blogging isn’t for business.
Here’s a hypothetical example. Bob is a plumber. Between repairing pipes, plumbing new construction homes, and all the other random tasks plumbers tackle, Bob isn’t thinking about blogging. Besides, he thinks, who would want to read a blog about plumbing? A lot of people, Bob. Potential Client A might be on Google right now exploring the pros and cons of tankless toilets. Potential Client B might be looking for tips on saving money on their water bill. What Potential Clients A and B have in common is that they are searching for information. And Bob has an opportunity to position himself as a plumbing expert when his blog posts about tankless toilets and money-saving plumbing tips show up on Google. Blogging is for business. In fact, it should be an essential part of your business.
Myth #2: People will just find your blog.
This one is partially true—by optimizing your blog posts with the right keywords, you’ll increase your chances of appearing on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). It’s one way you can easily draw traffic to your website. But think of it this way: If you were trying to sell your car, you wouldn’t simply print a flyer and tack it to the bulletin board at the town grocery store. You’d verbally tell your friends to help you spread the word, post a listing on a website like Autotrader, and if you’re social media-savvy, create a post with a link to your Autotrader listing for more visibility. Blogging works the same way. It’s good to have a blog on your website. It’s better to tell your clients to check out your blog. It’s best to use multiple channels to promote and amplify your blog, including email, social media, newsletters, word of mouth, business cards, etc.
Myth #3: You have to be a writer to blog.
So you don’t consider yourself the next Hemingway. That’s okay! You do have at least one thing that’s unique: expertise in your industry. And you don’t have to be a prolific writer to pass along your knowledge. Simply answering the questions you’re most commonly asked is a great place to start. Many business owners have found success providing clarity around the topics that often trip up their potential customers. Providing clarity then opens the door to conversations about their products and services. Let’s go back to Bob for a second. Bob publishes a blog post about tankless toilets, which also happen to help consumers save money on their water bills. Potential Customer A has been considering a tankless toilet for a while now, but they don’t feel comfortable installing it on their own. After doing a quick Google search for ‘tankless toilet installation,’ Potential Customer A finds Bob’s blog post. After reading the post, they reach out to Bob to find out how much the installation would cost. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by creating a list of questions you get asked most frequently. Or if you’re having trouble thinking of questions, head over to Google for some insight on what users are searching for. Answerthepublic.com is a good resource for discovering what people are asking about online.
Myth #4: I don’t have time to blog.
Publishing a blog post every week isn’t a requirement. If you’re able to drop new content on the blog once a week, great! The search engines love fresh content. But you won’t break any sacred blogging rules if you only publish a blog every few weeks or even once a month. To make things easy for yourself, we recommend planning out your blog content in advance using a content calendar. A content calendar includes information like your blog post topic, who’s writing the post, what question(s) it will help answer, and when it will be published—all in one easy-to-reference document. It can be especially helpful if you’re not the only person producing content for your blog. It’s also a great tool for holding your content producers accountable for delivering posts on time. You can find multiple free content calendar tools online to get you started. What are some other things you’ve heard about blogging (fact or fiction)? Are you interested in starting a blog? Improving your existing blog? Reach out and let us know! We’d love to talk strategy or provide some additional staff-power to help you generate content.