One question that we;re regularly asked by prospects and new clients is 'Do we really need a blog?'. They worry about the commitment needed to regularly produce good content. If you really can't manage to post something regularly, maybe you're better without. It doesn't give the best impression of your company if the last blog post was dated six months ago, as it will appear that you either have nothing to talk about, you can’t manage your time or, worst of all, you closed down the business.
However, if you're serious about using the Internet as a tool to generate a stream of new business leads, the answer is most definitely YES.
A blog allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field and show that you really do know your onions. It provides a channel for sharing your opinion and lets others interact through discussion. It helps build trust and shows that you're reliable because it takes commitment to post consistently. Perhaps most importantly, it allows you to help others and show that you understand frustrations that can arise from obstacles and dead ends. By providing freely available expert advice, you can build a rapport with visitors and further engage existing customers, all while helping them to overcome very real problems that their business may encounter.
Your posts can take any form you wish, such as hints and tips, company news, CSR activity, staff interviews, industry insight, and even pieces that are simply intended to bring smiles to faces. The best results come from using a combination of approaches that work in-line with your brand and company philosophy. If you’re a coffee shop, you may want to steer clear from sharing guides on self-assessment tax, whereas a law firm may come across as a little too flippant when sharing a video of a cat wearing a shark costume whilst riding a robot vacuum cleaner. This is why a content strategy works wonders; it doesn’t have to be super strict and can simply be a guide to the kind of content to be shared over a long period, including key developments and events.
A blog will also help your website to appear more regularly in Google Search. The way people search has evolved, as has the way Google delivers results, so if you're able to answer the questions that are commonly asked about your sector, it can be a great way of improving your rankings. Due to blog posts being perfect material for posting on social media, not to mention having a very “share-worthy” nature, there’s an excellent opportunity to regularly access a wide audience. Social media posts can also be promoted on Facebook and Twitter and targeted to your ideal market, allowing a far greater reach and the ability to extend their longevity for as long as desired. Advertising does of course require expenditure, but personally we think it has a good return on investment as it offers the double effect of building your following whilst sharing your content. On top of this, you can pin posts to the top of your Facebook and Twitter pages, making a piece of content very easy to find. Posts can be unpinned and replaced with others as often as you wish, so it’s nice and flexible and only takes a few seconds to set up.
Something we really must stress is that, as with all other marketing materials, your blog should provide a call to action. Whether it’s inviting them to follow on Twitter or download a white paper, it keeps the reader’s attention after they’ve finished the article. Rather than leaving your site, the visitor will continue to engage with your brand by signing up to your newsletter, reading other webpages, following you on social media, downloading a resource or getting in touch for a free quote. This will also increase the average time spent on your website, which can benefit your search rankings further.
Would you like to know more about how to drive traffic and generate leads with your website? Why not download or free guide.