Blogging has come a long way from the old online (largely) personal journals they were in the internet’s early days. Today, everyone and their dog has a blog and online publishing is not only mainstream, but a very lucrative way to earn a living. Chief among the most prolific bloggers aren’t just personalities anymore (although many still are), but corporations and companies, too. Organizations, regardless of their size, have seen the potential for blogs to better get their message across, and give both existing and potential customers the opportunity to get to know the brand better and discover its expertise in the industry it operates in.
Blog management and its importance
Countless business blogs are launched everyday — by large corporations, medium-scale enterprises, and small businesses alike in a bid to stay ahead of the competition and put themselves at the forefront of new business opportunities and customers. Even a small business blog can help a business reach its target market / audience, arouse its interest, drum up publicity for the brand but more importantly empower customers to make more informed decisions.
Good blogs with relatable, easy to understand and interesting content often receive repeat visits and social shares, thus further cementing its credibility and by extension, the reputation of the brand it represents. That kind of positive feedback often in turn results in a boost in business for the company, especially if their real-life service or product lives up to that positive reputation. Many customers and followers also become volunteer brand ambassadors and loyalists of sorts, which also works positively for the brand.
This is a testament to the importance and relevance of business blogging.
In the old days all companies needed was a solid service or product, but in the Internet age, customers seek out information before coming to a decision. They no longer trust the traditional hard-sell marketing. In part, business blogging is a response to the greater power consumers wield today and is responsible for lifting the veil between brand and customer, bringing them closer.
On the one hand, business blogging helps brands say more about themselves and help explain what they’re all about. On the other, customers learn more and will likely be more satisfied consumers knowing they made an informed decision. This closer relationship also helps customers express what they want and need, in turn allowing brands to better provide what consumers are looking for. It’s a symbiotic relationship that benefits all parties involved.
Here’s a look at a couple of specific ways a blog and good blog management helps your business out:
1. More website traffic
Blogging helps business drive more traffic towards their websites. Along with social media and SEO, blogging is considered one of the primary traffic boosters a website can have. A new blog post means another indexed page on your website, which search engines factor into ranking and thus make you more visible in organic search results. Search engine algorithms are designed, among other things, to take notice of active websites, and posting new blog posts definitely sends that message to their web crawlers. It gives you more content to share on social media and with cross-posting, you also have new content to share periodically.
All that virtual foot traffic can also thus be translated into leads your business can utilize. Many blogs usually employ a call to action in their blog posts to encourage readers to signup with their email lists and create new leads. In exchange for information, visitors are offered free trials, free services and products, free data sets — anything they might find useful to have.
2. Makes your business reputation more legit
Not that your business isn’t legitimate in the first place, but blogging helps establish your brand as an authority on the industry you operate in. Blog posts (at least quality ones) will help convince customers that you know what you’re talking about and that you know your business inside and out. Blog posts that answer common or even uncommon tech questions can be very helpful to readers, especially in highly technical industries where quality information is often shrouded in confusing jargon.
Blog posts also make valuable resources your sales teams can draw from when conducting business with clients, enabling them to better answer questions and / or address issues. This in turn results in a more positive experience for the customer.
A good example of blogging done right is Gillette’s blog. While not updated often, the content includes everything from how to’s for shaving, to 101 on shaving cream, foams, and so on. All helpful, actionable tidbits of information their customers can put to use. Another great example is AirBnb’s blog strategy which uses the company’s own proprietary research reports on the industry. Such content promotes the brand’s products in a subtle way that will more likely attract customers instead of driving them away like a hard-sell approach would.
The short of it is that business blogging helps establish greater legitimacy and brand authority. Over time customers become regular readers of their preferred brand’s blog and refer to it whenever they need information about services or products you provide (sometimes even when they aren’t thinking of your particular brand).
3. Provides a more “personal” experience for customers
We’ve touched on this particular benefit in previous sections, but it deserves a deeper dive. Consider that a large segment of customers (75% of them), according to a study, expect the brands they interact with to contribute to their well-being and quality of life. That’s a pretty tall order. Not only do a company’s products or services matter — but consumers will also respond to it’s stand on major political, environmental and societal issues. Other studies support this, showing that 63% of customers want to be associated with brands that also reflect their own beliefs.
Posts don’t (always) need to be political or have social relevance, but blogging does give brands the opportunity to show customers a more personal side — such as publishing outreach or charity efforts, highlighting social programs (like the way Starbucks is touching base with military veterans), and so on. Posts of this nature resonate with customers, and give brands a human face instead of the traditional faceless corporate entity companies used to have.
Managing a successful business blogging initiative
One of the keys to a successful blogging presence online is to post consistent and regular content. Many organizations have discovered that while this looks “easy” on paper, actually accomplishing it can be a real challenge.
1. Find good content creators and writers
A lot of people think that writing is easy, but it takes a skilled writer to have the discipline to churn out quality content day in and day out. Same with content creators. These people will be a major part of developing the content for your blog, so find people who do quality work and can follow deadlines. Look at previous published work and even draw up a quick writing test to see if they have what it takes to be part of your blogging team. It’s also essential to find people who are a good fit with your company culture and people who understand and are as passionate about the business as you are.
2. Have clear intent for content
We mentioned earlier that blogs add to a brand’s business legitimacy and helps establish it as an expert in the field. This means that every piece of content you put out should have clear briefings and intent. This in turn will guide writers and help keep them on track. Consumers and readers are very adept at catching vague and empty content, so be sure to develop clear outlines of the topics you want to discuss. Creating high quality content requires proper, systematic research to make sure you aren’t just pulling out ideas from thin air. Draw from the organization’s collective experience, as well as from other resources you come across.
3. Consult stakeholders
When drawing up a blogging production schedule and strategy, it’s important to consult all the stakeholders involved, especially sales people who will most likely be the biggest internal users of the information you put out. They will also have better insights on what customers want to see, so always make it a point to listen to their views. Incorporating their input also means that your content will have a direct effect on the company’s sales, production and bottom line — a great measure of how successful your blogging initiative is.
4. Have good visuals
Part of the appeal of good blogs are the healthy mix of written content and good design. The actual interface and overall look of the blog is just as important as the images you utilize. Text heavy blogs are generally not a good idea (although that really depends on your target market and audience), as it can be monotonous to look at and hard on the eyes. Good images help accentuate the message you want to put across (the more proprietary, the better, although stock images can always do in a pinch), and help put breaks in the text that give readers’ eyes some time to rest and readjust.
5. Use the right tools for the job
Having the right tools for the job is essential to getting things done and publishing regularly. Be sure to be equipped with the right templates, framework, cheat sheets and tools to help you create and manage the content for the blog. Tools like and idea pipeline help consolidate different thoughts and perspectives from the team and related stakeholders, giving you a wealth of relevant material you can organize and work with. Social media distribution kits like a Twitter Distribution tool helps you not only publish content on Twitter more efficiently, but also boost your tweet’s visibility potentially driving significant amounts of traffic towards your blog and website. SEO worksheets help you create highly optimized content that a search engine crawlers’ pick up like clockwork, making you a prime option in results for users’ queries.
6. Understand your customers and target market
Customers today want to engage with their chosen brands more, and want them to reflect their personal ethos and style. Content works best when it is hyper-personalized, with a laser like focus on your target market. Clearer, more concise content speaks to audiences more and results in more visitors, increased engagement, and ultimately gain new customers. You can build and create customers personas that serve as guideposts to creating relevant content. It’s also important to keep abreast of current marketing and customer trends, so you’re always in the loop as to what customers want and expect from you.
There are real challenges to creating regular content and blog management, but done properly, business blogging can forward real, tangible results. That being said, blogging shouldn’t be seen as easy. It comes with a big learning curve and no doubt there will be unexpected hurdles. But, by having the right resources at your disposal, such as the ones provided by Contentools will give you an edge in a very competitive operating environment. They not only help organize your blog management tasks, but also pave the way for better collaboration among all the team-members, resulting in high quality content that’s sure to pique readers’ and customers’ interest and have them regularly coming back for more.