“Blog or die.” It’s that simple.

In preparing to write this particular blog, I researched what other content marketing gurus have written about the importance of blogging. A quick Google search turns up dozens of reasons why your business needs to blog: SEO perks, thought leadership, content marketing being “trendy,” trust-building, social sharing, and a ton of other reasons.

The one problem with these overly-thorough “top 10” lists about the importance of blogging is that they’re written from a marketer’s perspective and NOT by a small business owner. If I throw a bunch of marketing jargon at you (SEO, conversion rate, publishing schedule, repurposing content for multiple platforms) without explaining myself, that knowledge is lost on most non-industry professionals. That doesn’t mean you need to brush up on your marketing lingo – you don’t. That’d be like an electrical engineer telling me, a marketing professional, that I should know what ESR stands for (Electrical Series Resistance, FYI). It’s your job to run your business and it’s ours to help you earn more revenue from doing what you do best.

Let me break it down in “normal guy” terms. Your business needs to BLOG because:

  1. What else are you doing to sell or market your business?

    Are you spending money on yellow page ads? Radio commercials? Brochures? Networking events? Facebook (and by spending money on Facebook, I mean spending oodles of TIME on Facebook). What do you hope to gain from your investment? Most businesses want to do one of two things:

    1. Generate a sales call
    2. Drive traffic to their website

    Chances are these prospects aren’t just going to get a pamphlet and call you up to buy something. They may call to ask questions or setup a consultation, but unless you’re selling some kind of commodity, they’ll do their research before committing to buy.

    According to a 2012 survey, 89% of consumers research a company or product online before making a purchase decision. Not only does that mean you need to have a website to establish credibility in the first place (see our blog on how to improve your company’s website), but it also helps if you have content on there that isn’t just sales fluff. Having non-biased, informative blog content on your site helps build trust with your visitors because it shows that you know your stuff. If you skip the blog and instead just create a static “online brochure” type website (think: About Us, Contact, Services/Products Listing, Testimonials), prospects will be more inclined to seek out an unbiased knowledge resource and view your sales-slanted content as exactly that.

    89% of consumers research a company online before buying

    If you’re actively marketing to your prospects, you need to blog in order to establish greater trust.

  2. You have a better chance of getting found on Google

    This is the marketing jargon part of the explanation. Getting found on Google generally means we’re talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Without going into a technical explanation of what that is, let me share these examples:

  • Before I began writing this blog, I searched Google for “Why you need a blog for your business.” I scanned through a few articles in the search results to help me organize my thoughts and grab some statistics. I found these articles/businesses on Google because they are providing CONTENT OF VALUE. See screenshot below.
  • Due to Chicago’s recent frigid temps, I was in the mood to buy some new cozy candles for my home. I normally buy Yankee Candles since I trust their quality, but instead I did a Google search for “best scented candles” and found this blog post. I still wound up buying Yankee, but the blog informed me that there are other brands out there worth trying.

The point of these examples? People go online and type questions into Google, browse a few articles and formulate their own decisions. You won’t find new customers by having a website that only talks about how “Widget X has 23% more load capacity than Widget W.” But if you have a BLOG that honestly compares all top Widget Vendors out there (i.e.: you and your competition), someone searching Google for “top Widget manufacturers high capacity” might find your blog post, read it, recognize your company as an unbiased expert and buy from you.

Why your business needs to blog, Google example

  1. Blogging is free

    Aside from the time investment and skills needed to get started, anyone can sit down and write about what they know. There are even a bunch of free online blogging platforms that you can use to publish your own content (see WordPress.com and Google’s Blogger). Integrating a blog into your existing website is a bigger step and might require a web developer, but if you’re in the process of building your site or still communicate with your site’s developer, ask ’em to add a blog link to your site’s navigation. Once the setup is done, blogging is super simple to do. It’s just like typing in a Word Doc. Hit “Publish” and your knowledge and expertise are now available to a global community.

    Compare blogging to most traditional advertising (ex: a billboard in Chicago for one month costs around $4,500 as of 2012) and you will see a greater return on your investment.
  2. Blogging helps you with your other marketing efforts

    Perhaps you’re having trouble finding useful content to share on your Facebook page, or maybe you’ve always wanted to write that eBook that you can use as a marketing tool to gather new leads, or you might just want to reach more prospects on other online platforms. Blogging makes all of these things easier. Write a blog – share it on social media. Write a bunch of blogs – repurpose and massage that content into an eBook. Write a blog – shoot a supporting YouTube video (+10 for SEO!). Write a blog – turn that topic into a speaking engagement. It all starts with organizing your thoughts in a way that positions you as an expert in your field and reinforces the fact that your business needs to blog.

    Excellent infographic on repurposing your blog's content from VerticalMeasures.com

    Excellent infographic that illustrators how you can repurpose your blog’s content, courtesy of VerticalMeasures.com

     

Blogging is good for you! Tell us: are you blogging yet? Have you thought about blogging but felt overwhelmed? Leave a comment below.

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