Successful small business entrepreneurs who get tons of visibility, business and engagement online – how the heck do they do it?
Sure, they must hustle just as much as you do, attending the same network events. But there is a difference.
They’re closing bigger deals, generating more leads through their website and seemingly having more business than anyone else.
So, what is the differentiating factor between you and them?
They are probably working day-in day-out on their start-up blog to build an online presence, engaging directly with the audience for effective branding.
Being a small business entrepreneur, or a solopreneur, you must have heard of the importance of creating relevant content for your website. But maybe you haven’t, as yet, taken the first crucial step.
One of the most effective and implemented content marketing tools at your small business-disposal is, undoubtedly, an online blog. Hence, if you’re not blogging, you are simply leaving behind good money on the table.
Here are some important stats to highlight the point made above even more substantial for you:
As an entrepreneur, you need to consider how you’re connecting with your clientele. You may not have the budget of a mega-corporation, therefore, you will have to use other means to build a relationship with the audience.
One of the brilliant and cheapest ways to do so is via blogging. After all, it has been known to generate quality leads for a start-up business.
If you’re a savvy entrepreneur, you probably won’t make the mistake of overlooking the potential rewards blogging can provide. Thus, here are 32 reasons why businesses, especially SMB’s, should focus on building a blog and boosting their online presence.
Shows off your company’s personality
A blog can effectively showcase your brand’s personality. You could feature detailed biographies of the owners and employees coupled with in-depth pictorial representations. This way you won’t only get to flaunt your amazing writing skills but also the culture of the company that probably does not come across easily on a website.
Take the Mashable blog, for instance. You blog can be as formal or informal as you want it to be, but as long as it’s matching the company’s culture and personality, it is relevant to the brand.
Let’s you establish authority
Your blog is your private space where you can show that you know what you’re doing, establishing yourself as an industry expert.
Write instructions, articles, showcase examples, tips and tricks like Brandwatch, so that your customers understand what to make or do with your products. You can also feature your company’s top selling items and discuss the current state of your industry.
All of these ideas can help you communicate effectively with your customers in distinctive ways than you can via other mediums.
Your business gets more exposure
A brand that is full of relevant and helpful content verily increases your chances of meeting sales prospects, future employees and possible business leads. Many people may also find your blog content on LinkedIn or through a search on Google. You can ultimately put your brand in front of scores of new people – users you may have not met otherwise – by creating blog posts that are engaging and worth sharing.
Attain more leads
Recent research has shown that businesses that blog receive 55 per cent more traffic on their website. So, by starting a blog, with relevant content, even you can generate 4 times as many leads.
Helps you provide better customer service
Nowadays, one-sided communication with companies can be a turn-off for customers. A blog, efficiently, creates a two-way conversation, encouraging customers to interact with you and provide substantial feedback. It also gives you another venue where you can respond to their comments.
For example, Gild, a recruitment software company, provides its viewers a blog featuring interesting and relevant content for its core customers.
Having many articles on your blog allows you to effectively understand what your viewers really want. You can find out which pages people are visiting, from the back end of your site, giving yourself an idea of where their actual interest lies. When you figure out the type of content that performs best, you would know exactly the kind of ideas to post.
You can also use the blog to request feedback from your customers. Given that you have an engaged follower’s list, it is quite likely that they will be willing to answer the questions you have.
Quality content – SEO
There is no point in having a killer website if nobody can find it. One of the key facts for getting more traffic to your blog is by making sure that people find your site easily when they use the search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is hard to ignore if you want to have a viable online presence.
Google’s algorithms will rank your site higher, whenever you produce useful content. With time, not only will your site make its way to the front page of search results, but when viewers read high quality content, they are more likely to share and link back to it. Attaining high quality backlinks from high authority websites and blogs will tremendously benefit your SEO efforts.
Allows you to engage customers in dialogue
If start-ups use a solid blogging engine, readers have the option of commenting on each post they make. The commenters amongst the big lot can be possible sales leads, or they may just challenge or support your views. Comments beget comments, either way, and your company will soon be at the centre of a business-relevant dialogue with partners and consumers.
Humanizes your brand
Through a blog, a company is able to present its helpful, thoughtful side, giving its prospects a sense of the business’ culture, vision and purpose.
Blogging provides an opportunity for customers to view your services from a less antiseptic – more personal and less ‘corporate’ – lens; humanizing your brand on a significant level.
Taco Bell’s Twitter account is extremely active, with content that is witty and to the point. Instead of just providing updates, they banter with the customers, coop up funny comebacks for their haters, and even get a little scandalous by calling out rival brands.
According to Chelsea Riffe, Loyola Digital Advertising, they have humanized fast-food joint to be a comical person, one that people look forward to ‘hearing from each day’.
Better content = better website
Having Google crawl through your blog or website, looking for updated content, as often as possible, is quite beneficial for your business. Websites that get crawled more have more frequently-updated content as well as more authority. And blogging consistently assures that there will be fresh, relevant content on your site every day.
You can communicate your mission
Having a brand-purpose is one of the most essential components of business marketing. Embracing a unique brand perspective means connecting with your audience not only on a professional but emotional level. This is where blogging comes in.
Your personal-product blog is the platform where you can communicate your brand’s purpose conveniently. This is important because strong branding is an important part of encouraging consumer loyalty, going beyond what you sell, helping you stand out from your competition.
If you are a business that sells vegan and meat substitutes, for instance, you can express your company’s mission by posting animal welfare material on your website. This showcases to the viewers that your service is focused on something more than just making money.
Get the audience insight
By using Blog analytics, you can allow track audiences to share, comment and click through popular topics. You can even tell what day of the week your customers like to stop by your blog.
Matthew Barby, the Global Head of Growth & SEO at HubSpot, has found the time to share his insights into all great things he does for his personal blog at HubSpot. From growth to everything SEO, Barby prefers writing long-form and extremely in-depth actionable posts each time.
Helps you sharpen your business focus
There is no doubt that blogging sharpens your business focus. To create an effective blogger’s regime, you must define who you are blogging for and why. After all, a blog with zero purpose or focus attracts no viewers.
You can offer promotional material
As a small business blog owner, you can also offer your viewers occasional promotions. If you already have an engaged list of followers reading your content, they will be able to see what discounts or upgrades you are offering. It is, indeed, a great way to keep your customer base informed.
Let’s you become the source of value
Nobody is going to pay heed to your content unless they get something out of it, right? In order to build influence, you must build value – a key to effective blogging. The founder of Super Baby, Arjun Reddy, gives actionable tips to his visitors, building credibility with his website’s ‘resources’.
The Super Baby users are usually parents looking for interesting yet effective ways to help their children become smarter. “The advice we give in our resources section is designed to provide helpful parenting tips for our readers,” says Reddy.
Each piece of content should be designed to educate, entertain and inform.
For an entrepreneur, networking is extremely important. When you have gained some popularity, upon building an audience, you can expertly attract other entrepreneurs to your business. You can also easily gain more credibility once your readership increases.
This could lead to other possibilities for your business. You might be able to take advantage of the key relationships you develop through the small business blog.
Improves search engine visibility
It is important to remember that people and search engines, both favour fresh and relevant content. Blogging offers various benefits for marketing-SEO.
You can also improve your ranking in search results. For example, if you have a page on your blog that talks about black widgets, as you write about their specificities, you are adding extra content to your site that targets the key word.
A famous blog site, Ecoki, offers its visitors a wide range of tips and ideas on everything related to living a green lifestyle. The grid-based, green template is the real beauty of this blog. This style makes it easy to read and navigate, adding visible headers, such as latest news, popular items and resources.
Thus, at times, calling out to specific areas on your site or blog is the only thing you need to do to get more people engaged with your content.
Grows knowledge base
Blogging helps you stay ‘in the know’ about tech-advancements and trends. You get to exercise the brain muscles and critical thinking skills, through constant evaluation and synthesizing blog information.
Lowers marketing costs
Inbound marketing costs 62 per cent less than conventional TV or direct-mail outbound marketing. The average cost per lead for the latter is $373, while the former is around $143.
Improves sales skills
Constant blog management means regularly talking about your services, relevant industries and products. By implementing the best methods to explain a concept to your target personas, you learn exactly what to do or say to make a person respond.
Blogging can definitely make you a better salesperson. You know what follow-up questions to anticipate and always have an answer ready for them.
Tips and tricks
Usually, tip-post blogs are the most trafficked ones. People love tips and tricks, especially if you write them, and if they are really useful, customers and prospects are likely to read and share them.
A ‘press release’ is customarily attractive
Upon making an actual press release into a business blog post, your site may get more attention than in its original, generic format. While non-journalist subscribers love to see press releases, journalists loathe them. A ‘press-talk’ in the usual blog is likely to attract distinct customers.
Blogging causes website change
Once blogging causes major changes to your website, the market-spiders crawl through it again to note the changing algorithms. This will definitely get you more links and traffic.
Helps you create free PR
Getting free press can create PR for any company. Often, business bloggers are interviewed by journalists as industry experts.
For example, Brittany Berger, besides being the Head of Content and PR at Mention, writes on Blog Bolder, her personal work blog, to help entrepreneurs grow their business.
Gain competitive advantage
Blogging gives your business a competitive advantage by providing better customer service, a unique voice and personality, credibility, better search rankings and expertise. All these components help you have an edge over your rivals.
Control over reputation
As a company blog owner, you have the ability to respond to criticism and urgent events in a more detailed manner than a Tweet or Facebook post; helping with online reputation management efforts.
You have direct control over the platform when your blog is a part of the company website. At the end of the day, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and similar networking sites still have full control over content and features of your profile.
Helps you build a stronger, better relationship
When you’re not present, your blog can be there to answer questions.
Many consumers are not prepared to buy when they first arrive at your company’s website. They want to learn more about you and your services first. By maintaining a blog, your business can satisfy a prospect’s need for research.
Also, a blog is always exclusive. People interact with your content on their own terms; relieving you from more traditional forms of ‘push’ marketing.
Keeps your focus
More often than not, a blog allows you to focus entirely on your content marketing strategies. Thus, it compels you to create a schedule and then pushes you to stick to it to continuously deliver purposeful, relevant content.
Let’s you stay ahead of the curve
Blogging can help your company stay on top of trends, news and competitors; in other words ‘ahead of the curve’. It helps you to be a leader, not a follower.
A blog is usually a record of experience and quality value that you are bringing to your viewers; giving you a presence in your niche. This gives you instant ‘street cred’ whenever someone finds your content.
The CEO of Sleeping Angels, Lissette Palencia, has used her blog to build a steady stream of loyal clientele, providing valuable information to her website’s visitors. This is very important for your company. Prospects reading your content and gaining value form it establishes credibility in the minds of potential clients. By providing them with significant benefit through your blog, you will motivate them to buy your product.
Builds a better company
While increasing the number of quality leads, you can lower your expenses on the side. By testing new ideas or products and receiving direct feedback from customers, you can keep your sales skills sharp. Ultimately, blogging can help your business find the best ways to grow and improve.
Helps you get inspiration
If anything, be inspired. Blogging is an enthralling experience. You start to see all kinds of ideas around you – be it talking with friends, colleagues, watching movies, reading or just walking down the street.
In a nutshell
As a start-up business, if you are looking to expand your online presence, you need to create high quality content on a regular basis – blogging being one of the best ways to do this.
The reasons mentioned in this article are only a few reasons why an entrepreneur should keep a blog. Just remember that anything that brings value to your customers/audience is something that you should consider adding to your business.
Moosa Hemani stands out for many reasons, but one is simply for his exceptional desire to contribute to the SEO community through his writing and participation in social media. You would be hard pressed to find a highly-visible SEO site that he has not contributed to in way. He is also a truly nice guy, which always impresses me. There’s no ego, but there is confidence. I’d be honoured to have the chance to work with Moosa.