What Will A Company Blog Do For Your Business?
It is clear from my conversations with marketing managers and business owners that there’s some confusion about what a business blog is actually for. This is no surprise because a company blog is really a multi-functional tool that can work on many levels. The trick is to identify how it can specifically help you achieve your business objectives, and hone your content to this end.
Here’s how I like to explain what a business blog can do for an organisation:
The Company Blog – A Content Marketing Swiss Army Knife!
The clue is in the heading, business blogs can be part of your content marketing strategy helping you market your services or product.
How does it work? A company blog can be used effectively to raise awareness of your business or brand by providing content for prospects at the beginning of the sales / marketing funnel – attracting visitors to your website and starting the conversion process. This can be done by first exploring what your target customer needs, what help or support they are searching for, what challenges they face, what their desires are, and creating content that addresses this and positions your business as a trusted source.
- Social Media
Blogs are essentially a social media tool, and while they exist on their own platform they can also be used to develop and enhance an organisations’ other social media channels.
How does it work? Links to your blog content can be effective ways of driving traffic from social media to your website where you then have an opportunity to convert readers into leads. The alternative would be to attempt to drive social media followers using calls to action such as ‘find out more about our services here’ or ‘click here to buy this product’. While a certain amount of sales content may be appropriate at times on your social media channels, the promise of an interesting blog post that explores a subject that your target customer wants to know more about is a much better hook than ‘visit our website here’.
PR and marketing have become increasingly blurred, particularly in the digital marketing field. Where once marketing was all about the product, and PR was about the customer relationship, now the two have converged in many areas. No more so than on the company blog. Here we are able to nurture prospects, build customer relationships and engage existing customers time and time again.
How does it work? Blogs are personable; they’re about talking to your customers in a way that demonstrates you understand them, their needs and aspirations. Blogs are not about going in for the kill with a sale in the second sentence, instead they’re about consistently giving customers what they want and building the relationship so that readers come back for more.
Business blogs are an effective sales tool too and can operate further down the sales / marketing funnel. However, it’s not about ‘buy my product’, blogs are more subtle than that.
How does it work? Many business blogs focus on the top of the sales funnel, providing information for prospects beginning their research. For example, this blog post is exactly that, aimed at an audience who are new entrants into content marketing or haven’t really addressed their blog strategy. A blog post that works further down the sales funnel for my business might be something like ‘Do you need a ghost blogger’, aimed at prospects who understand the value of a company blog and find it a challenge to put into practice. Other titles that work well further down the sales funnel are those that address the obstacles to a sale, or compare and contrast the options your prospects may have. I recently wrote a blog post for an IT client on ‘onshore or offshore’, targeted at prospects who know they need their services but now need to decide whether the cheaper offshore option is better than contracting a more expensive onshore provider. Much of this content can then be used by sales people to help answer those questions they get asked all the time.
Finally, one of the key things people think a company blog will do is improve their SEO. Yes and no…! Yes, regular blog content can help your SEO over time but it’s a slow burn, don’t expect to publish a couple of blogs and appear on the first page of SERPs! However, it’s not just about loading your blog posts with keywords, there’s a lot more to SEO than that.
How does it work? Online users need to use keywords to search for content; therefore if you provide plenty of content (and the easiest way to do this is through a company blog) using those keywords your content stands a chance of appearing in SERPs. That said the algorithm is more sophisticated than that. Google (king of all algorithms) looks for fresh, regular content but also factors such as bounce rate and the amount of time someone spends on your page also influence page rank. So too are the number and quality of backlinks to your page, and a host of other factors that are all designed to deliver relevant search results to online users. For more on this check out this post on Google’s 200 Ranking Factors – there’s another backlink for Brian Dean!
Blogging can support your SEO activities in the same way that it supports marketing, PR, social media and sales, understanding how it can do this will help you to make your blog more successful for your business.
Many blog posts will combine all the above activities in one go, but you will also need to write content specifically to support a particular function in your business: for example a post that will help your sales team guide prospects over an obstacle like price, or a post designed to build loyalty with existing customers so they continue to buy from you. This is why content marketing is something all employees should be involved in; whether that’s asking for contributions from different departments, or at least ghost writing content that supports all the various activities your sales, PR and marketing teams are involved in.
If you have a question about any of the above please leave a comment below, or alternatively contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org